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Suzi Foltz: Bathroom etiquette

Everyone does it, not many sit around talking about. Even I, who rambles on about everything, find bathroom discussions weird. I won’t disgust anyone talking about the process, but I would like to say that there should be some rules followed when using a public bathroom or one that is not your own. Maybe I’m just obsessive over little things (some of my friends find my little complaints amusing), but this is my weekly rant that I would like to share with you.

1. A bathroom is a bathroom, not a hangout. Do not go in there to stand; it’s weird. There are plenty better smelling places to talk to friend. I understand that sometimes its nice to leave class or your desk for a mini break, but don’t do it to just stand in a bathroom. Especially don’t give people “the glare” if they walk in. They aren’t interrupting you; they have just as much right to be in there as you. If you’re waiting on someone, there is some leeway, but don’t be there for an extended time.

2. Do not cozy up to an occupied stall. If I am in an empty bathroom with 8 stalls and I choose stall number 8, do not come in and choose stall number 7. If the bathroom is crowded it’s understandable, but if we are in an isolated room with only a 1 inch metal wall separating you from doing your business and me from doing mine, it’s weird. I don’t care if it’s your favorite stall or if you half way through a sharpie marker mural on the back of that stall’s door, just let me have my space. I’m not a guy and have never had to experience it, but I’ve heard the same rule should be applied to urinals.

3. Do not create “the awkward silence”. You probably know what I’m talking about. You have to go, you get in, and suddenly it’s quite…too quite. You know there’s another person is in the bathroom but they have made absolutely no noise. They are either a.) hanging out in the bathroom and not actually needing to use it (See #1), b.) having the same issue you are, or c.) are a ninja. You don’t really want the only noise to be the noise you make; it’s just strange and feels like they’re listening. The other person texting is not better. I’ve run into that before. It’s even weirder because then you know that they are present, are just hanging out, and are touching a phone whilst in the loo (highly unsanitary). Silence except for the rapid click, click, click. On the off chance they are having the same issue are you, maybe try to make some noise. Eww…not like that. And don’t bang on the walls like a lunatic. Go for something more subtle. Turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, rustle around some toilet paper. DO NOT HUM. Again, just weird.

4. Do not be a bathroom eater. This is one that you think would be kind of obvious because of the gross factor. The transfer of certain…substances…onto what you’re eating is just nasty. However, I have found this is not as clear of a rule as I thought. At work, when I’m assigned to clean bathrooms, I’ve noticed an abundance of food on the floor. Some people argue that they are just holding it because they had nowhere to put it. Lies… Have a friend hold it. No friends? Just leave the food where you were (this might not be applicable every place, but at a movie theater, which is where I work, it is). Paranoid someone will steal your precious food? Have an employee watch it at the counter. I’ve done that plenty of times for people and I respect them more for it.

5. Do not be astonished when a bathroom smells gross. It’s a bathroom, what did you expect. Yeah, as a teenage girl I understand sometimes complaining just comes naturally (See entire article), but don’t be amazed or act like it’s out of the ordinary. Especially don’t do this if you are just hanging out in there (See #1), because then you have to undergo this intense process call “Just leave the f***ing bathroom”.

6. If you make a mess or if something goes wrong, try to fix it. Yes, it is the employee’s job, and they will do it, but it’s nice to not have to mop up urine splatters or bathroom-eater’s spills (See #4). If your stall was out of toilet paper or if there is a clog, let a staff member know. If you’re at someone’s house this would be embarrassing, especially if you’re not to the “hey man, I clogged your toilet” level, but try to solve the problem as best you can.

These are all of the rules that I had presently on my mind, but there are probably many more out there. Please follow them or encourage others to do so. If you have one of your own, feel free to add it.

Suzi Foltz is an intern and a senior at Wilson Memorial High School.

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