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B.A.L.L.S.: Bathroom etiquette pissed away

Tim Handelman | Interrobang | Opinion | March 15th, 2010

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Bitching about Life in London and Society is a weekly column that attempts to delve into the smaller irritations in our society.

Issue #3: Public bathroom etiquette

I remember once in high school arriving in the morning and heading straight to the washroom, like I did every day, to sneak a look at my long, flowing, feathered hair. Something was different this day though; I accidentally walked into the girls' bathroom. I will never forget what I saw: A gaggle of girls crowded around the mirror with a variety of grooming implements a blur in one hand and cans of hairspray fogging the room in another. I mean there wasn't an inch of mirror available. I stood there for a few seconds absorbing this before it hit me that I was in the girls' can. I turned and walked out to the sound of static electricity. There were like 500 girls in there, and not one of them noticed me! What a contrast to the men's bathroom: men do not openly check their hair in the mirror, we sneak, pre-plan, pretend, blow our nose and set up a moment to glance at ourselves when no one else is looking. You would think with a display of such discretion, the boys' bathroom would be neat, tidy and clean! Lo, the first of many contradictions of the sexes ensue. Men are pigs in public bathrooms, or all bathrooms, or basically in life!

bathroom stallThe following speaks to the male patron of public bathrooms, ‘cause frankly, I can't figure out the female.

The stalls:
We all have our favourite bathrooms; we all have our favourite stalls. What a dejected feeling of disappointment one feels when OUR stall is occupied. Even when the one next to OUR stall is occupied it feels wrong. A territorial rage bubbles at the base of our Cro-Magnon brains.

That aside, we enter our stalls to the daily adventure: what will we see this time? Did someone piss all over the seat again? Didn't flush the toilet? Is toilet paper on, up and over the seat? Someone had a bad meal it seems, blasted but kind of missed the target? Does sitting on a warm seat mean that you just picked up a case of crabs? It is a rare day indeed that you enter the stall and one finds it in order, with a newspaper to read, with no worries about urine stains, stray pubic hairs and crabs. Rare indeed.

Another stall issue, especially here at Fanshawe, is that useless roll of tissue paper that is provided for us. They cram two oversized rolls into this receptacle thing, that forces us to manipulate, tug, pull, and gently extrude a useless amount of re-cycled newspaper that has already been re-cycled, re-used, re-pressed, re-bleached, used again then collected from the small torn off bits from the floor of bathroom stalls?

I had a talk with Dave on this subject. Dave is that tall, thin, toque-donning guy that you see cruising around the halls of Fanshawe pushing a garbage can. Dave is one of the hard working custodial force at Fanshawe. When asked about the issues discussed in this article I was met with a degree of trepidation. Dave cleans over 50 men's washrooms a day. Not a day goes by where he isn't faced with at least one of the situations described here-in. Dave mentioned the following issues:

- birds nests of toilet paper left around the seat of the toilet
- paper, gum and gob in the urinals
- gob in the sinks
- soap all over the counter
- water pooling on the counter

When I asked him why students are leaving the washrooms like this, he replied, “Some, I suppose, are in a hurry. Talking on the cell phone while peeing all over the seats. Some, it seems, do it on purpose as some sort of rebellious statement. Most, I assume, are just not taught any better.”

Dave, on behalf of all the ignorant washroom users all over the world, sorry man. We don't want to even think about what you deal with every day. Hat's off to you, or toque as the case may be.

My Take:
My dog would have no problem peeing all over the toilet seat. I would actually be amused to see that! My dog also pees every two feet in some sort of primal urge to mark his territory. Ok my seat pissing man, are you really trying to claim this stall as yours? In that case, you win, it's yours! I would love to see that stall after a week. Ok I wouldn't.

I don't see any big insight here, I already stated it; men are pigs! What possible reason could one have to pee all over a toilet seat? Or any of the other disgusting points of bathroom use listed above - pure, unmitigated, ignorant, lack of concern! It wasn't like it was a mistake: “Oops” says the guy that just took a leak all over the seat, “that sucks, I better wipe that up.” Instead it is more like, “zzzzzz”, flush, “I wonder what the world owes me today?”

Look, we all pretend we don't go to the bathroom. We pretend that we don't want to look at our hair. We want our privacy and we need to find a way to allow the next guy to enjoy his. Here are a few suggestions:

If there are three urinals and two are being used, use a stall. Don't talk on your cell phone when you are on the can. Don't grunt, groan or force any other noises from your body if possible. If you piss all over the seat, or have the runs, or just sneezed on the wall, here is a novel idea — CLEAN IT UP!

Lets face it, us humans have a varied and sorted history of bathroom hygiene. I mean they used to chuck it out the window in medieval times; well the commoners anyway, the aristocrats would have royal servants called “grooms of the stool,” to clean their chamber pots for them. If one were to dutifully track down the history of going to the bathroom, one would probably always find some guy pissing on the chamber pot.

Today, in this vast society that we have invented for ourselves, maybe we can afford to take a second to think of another, and aim just a little to the left.

Comments? Look for the group B.A.L.L.S. on Facebook.
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