I responded to the call by first polling a few friends. I swear to god, everything I write here is taken from only 7 e-mail responses I got within an hour of putting out the Ladies Room Etiquette APB on Friday morning. These are actual concerns of my actual friends.
Rule #1: Don't talk on your cell phone while you're on the toilet. Says one poll-ee, "who talks on the cell phone in a bathroom? The entire conversation is magnified due to all that porcelain. A runner up was women having conversations with other women across or outside of the stalls. I guess these annoyances mirror Dan's "no talking." We're on the same wavelength there.
Next up: If you're going to hold the door open for the next chick in line, please at least wait until your flush is finished. No one wants to walk into a stall with a still-swirling toilet. Wait just a second. Oh, and flush again if necessary.
Third: One respondent commented, "Please ask your children not to crawl under the stall and look at me while I'm peeing." If good manners isn't a reason enough for you, think about the fact that your kid's hands and knees are covered with enough e-coli to warrant a hazmat suit for the entire family.
Gentlemen, if you're still brave enough to be here, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Although we carry on like prim little girls about how disgusting the men's room is, here's a surprise for you: Women can be Pigs.
There, I said it. I said it and I ain't takin' it back. If you don't believe me, I'll refer you to a girlfriend of mine, a maintenance worker at world-renowned fine-arts theater in this town. There are super-cool aspects to her job like setting up stages and meeting celebrities and royalty. Alas, once she gets that Baby Grand into position, her next job is to clean the restrooms. I now know more about a filthy restroom than I ever thought I would. But I'm also much more edumacated as a result of her response. Read on.
World Cultures Lesson I
Did you know that women from some cultures stand on the seat and squat? Apparently footprints on the toilet seat were a big give away. I researched this further to find that not only is it true, but folks from squatting countries have, as the research says, "more complete elimination" and have virtually nonexistent cases of colon cancer. Think about it. If you're considering it, I have kindly found this sitting-to-squatting conversion product, which, it says, "can be set up in 3 seconds."
Yes, but can it fit in my purse?
Anyway, all you squatters—and you know who you are—clean up after yourselves, for heaven's sake! You wouldn't want to stand on a wet toilet seat; can you imagine how the "sitters" would resist sitting on it?! Be polite. Bring a pocket-pak of clorox wipes.
Another company is this town is currently trying to figure out how to accommodate the toilet habits of some Islamic women, who do not use toilet paper, but instead wash up with a water vessel called a "Lotah." Apparently the maintenance folks at this company were befuddled and frequently trying to figure out the source of wet floors in the ladies room, though no leak in the plumbing could be found. My source told me, "we had to get on the internet and try to find ways to accommodate folks using this custom, without offending their religious beliefs and without spreading infections, etc. etc." If you're captivated here's an interesting article to check out.
Last Rule: Not for the Squeamish
I think I speak for the general population when I say, Ladies, USE THESE THINGS!!:
They're right THERE! You're sitting right next to it! Wrap it, toss it, it's that easy. And then, especially in the work place, take a look around before you exit. There's no excusable reason to leave any stall, public or private, looking like a forensics team should be called in.
Clean all the blood off the floor, and, for the love of GOD, don't leave anything that remotely resembles a slab of liver lying around. Go find a freakin' shovel, I don't care, just do what you got to do!
Of course, Empathetic women that we are, we recognize that accidents do happen. Accidents beyond our control.
One respondent to my poll has allowed to let me tell the tale of her freak accident, which occurred in public restroom at the beach. Or at the hotel pool. I can't remember, I remember only that she was wearing a bathing suit when she joined the long line to the ladies room....a wet bathing suit.
A wet, slippery bathing suit; you know how easy those are to maneuver in the restroom, especially the one-piece ones. Anyhoot, when it was her turn to use the restroom, after wrestling with the wet bathing suit...well, let's just say tampon removal went awry.
Remember the scene in Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts shoots the escargo across the room?
Same for this tampon, though it took an odd hop under the bathroom door and landed at the feet of the next women in line for the next stall.
God, that's funny. It's also one for Emily: I have absolutely ZERO advice on how to handle this etiquette-ly speaking. I'm just happy I finally worked that story into a blog.
I don't want to give a lot away because I want you to read it yourself, but Dan's tips for Urinal Etiquette can be pared down into three: (1) No looking; (2) No talking; and (3) No smiling.
We ended up with only a few more. In summary:
- Do NOT talk on the cell phone while you're on the toilet.
- Finish your flush before holding the door open for the next occupant.
- Mind your toddlers.
- If you're a squatter, clean your footprints off the seat.
- If you use a lotah, bring a mop, or a handy pop-up cone, to caution the next occupant. You don't want to be liable.
- Dispose of hygiene products properly, and shovel up any livers.
- If you accidentally toss your used hygiene products under or over the stall wall...well, I'm leaning towards just locking yourself in until the place closes. At the very least, introduce yourself using a pseudonym....