Friday, August 04, 2006

Potty Talk

Last weekend, hubbie and I were traveling in a nearby city, visiting a zoo. Not sure why we would want to visit a zoo in the middle of the summer heat when the kids were out of school. Well, maybe because zoos are built for children, and we want to be reminded how to act while at a zoo . . . . Incidentally, I did not pick up popcorn off of the ground and eat it, even though a 4-year-old reminded me that I perhaps should do it.

Anyway, the zoo is not the point of the post – the bathroom is. We went into the bathroom, and when I came out, hubbie was shaking his head. One more random thought – hubbie and I will enter bathrooms side-by-side and he always finishes first. Always. I consider myself a pretty fast pee-er (if that is a word), but he always finishes first. I have a suspicion that most men just enter the bathroom, whip out their thingies and pee randomly on the floor. That would explain sneaker squeaking so near men's rooms.

So hubbie is shaking his head, and I wonder why. And he tells me that when he was using the restroom, one guy violated an unwritten rule: he talked to my hubbie while both were using urinals. I always thought this was a rule because guys can't concentrate on two things at once – I actually still believe this is true and tell hubbie. He never thought about the why, but guessed it had to do with touching one's genitalia while carrying on a conversation. Okay, that makes more sense.

This week, I was using the restroom at work – inside my own stall, and all of a sudden, a woman starts talking to me. I hover over my seat instead of sitting on it, so I normally am concentrating on not touching the seat to my tush – and someone I don't know says something to me. The conversation is not important – but I remember the zoo conversation, and I am thinking to myself, "I want this kind of rule for Ladies Rooms as well."

Not that it would be bad to talk to someone you know when you enter the restroom together – you know, you are talking, you enter stalls next to each other and continue the conversation. I have done this and it does not feel weird. But a complete stranger – weird, unless it involves the quest for toilet paper. Who the heck doesn't, when examining the stall, does not look for available toilet paper? I mean, for me, I look for cleanliness first, toilet paper second (you can always borrow from the next stall if needed), signs of poop third (who doesn't flush a toilet?). Okay, TMI.

Back to my unwritten rule for Ladies Rooms: I don't want strange women (women who are strangers, not just strange women) talking to me in a stall – but I am also a bit uncomfortable about anyone starting a conversation with me in a stall if I did not see them go into their stall. More than once, a friend has said something after I entered my stall. Must have recognized me by my shoes.

At the mirror, I will talk to anyone. No big deal. But when I am on the potty – or really hovering over it – please don't talk to me. It's not that I can't multitask; I just don't want to. Perhaps I will associate peeing with talking, and you know, I make enough trips to the potty without having a conversation remind me that my bladder is small and full.


Monica said...

Ewwwww! I don't like to be spoken to in the ladies room---in fact, the less I have to admit that I use one, the better. I actually won't use the restroom with another person in it if I can avoid it--including my own mother. God forbid the person in the next stall hears a tinkle or plop...that'll really punctuate a conversation.

Witness said...

I'm like your husband that way and I hate to say it but I think some of that reaction in men probably stems from mild forms of homophobia.
It doesn't quite feel normal for two straight men to stand around talking to eachother with their penis in their hands.
I just grunt an answer or two until they get the hint.

Tony said...

When I was stationed in Germany my company went to training camps for extended periods. At these camps we stayed in cinderblock barracks, ate out of a mess hall and used a group latrine/shower area. The urinals were no problem. The toilets however, were lined up side by side in little stalls that left just enough room for your elbows. The sides of the stalls came forward to right about where your knee bends. There were no doors.

To add to the dilemma there was another row of stalls right across from you. So, when you sat down, you could lean forward and shake hands with the guy across from you, if you were so inclined. Standing at the end of the aisle you could look down and see if there were any feet or knees missing from a stall then you would know there was a seat available.

Of course everyone was in the same predicament so conversation was used to break the tension and add a little levity to the situation. Talk about a humbling experience.

jody said...

wait a minute I thought the un-written rule of urinals was keep an empty urinal between you and the next guy.

Leesa said...

monica: you said, "God forbid the person in the next stall hears a tinkle or plop..." My poo floats gently down to the bowl, no plop allowed.

witness: I like the way you put that.

tony: I had no earthly idea such a thing existed. Thanks for the story.

jody: I don't know all of the guy rules. Un-written rules are not written down!

~gkw said...

LOL, not point of your entry, but I have a 2 year old that we have to fight everytime she's sees candy laying on the ground. She will pick it up everytime and pop it into her mouth before you can stop her! Thinking about using duct tape when we are out of the house.

I'm pretty sure there's a "guy-rule" that you never use the urinal directly next to another guy, much less talk to that guy..

Man, what was that guy thinking?

Ian Lidster said...

Yep, mirror talk is just fine, otherwise, nothing. And, your 'hubbie' is right. You never ever chat with somebody at the urinal, it's just one of those unwritten rules that all males, with the possble exception of George Michael, seem to understand.

Cheers, Ian

Grant said...

Talking to me in the restroom, regardless of what activity I am engaged in, should be strictly verboten. Too many people at work have the opposite idea - they think every quiet moment must be filled with banal droning about work, even while urinating. I HATE THEM! They will all drown in lakes of blood.

But its funny that you are discussing bathroom etiquette because I've heard many women complain about your type who won't sit and invariably sprinkle the seat with urine for the next person.

And as long as we're on the subject, let me tell you my pet bathroom peeve - managers who don't want to sully their hands by flushing. Too many times I've passed managers on the way to a stall / urinal, only to discover they left me a bonus. Dirty feckers - I'm glad most of them telecommute.

Rick said...

There are many, many unwritten urinal rules. Yes, it's true that you should keep at least one urinal between yourself and another guy (two is even better). If there are three urnials, two empty, and the guy ahead of you is in the middle, he's gay... use a shitter instead. If the shitters are full and the gay guy is in front of you and you really, really have to go, use the urnial that is not designed for children. If the children's urinal is the only thing available and there are no gay guys in evidence, use the children's urninal and exclaim loudly, "Damn, that water's cold!"

There are more, including the rules of improper eye contact, but I'll leave that for another day.

Pittchick said...

My cell phone actually rang once when I was in the bathroom. Everyone else laughed while I hurriedly turned it off. I have seen people answer phones int he bathroom, but that's just a little weird.

Leesa said...

~gkw: aw! Nice comment. I think children need a little dirt in their diet.

ian: yeah, mirror talk is sort of comfortable.

grant: I don't sprinkle. And if I do, I would of course wipe up the sprinkle with TP.

ricl: looks like you have really thought about this one.

dna: I have heard others talking on the phone while on the potty. If I hear an echo, I ask the person if they are in the restroom. If they are, I ask them to call me back afterwards.