(Editor’s note: This is a special edition of The Five. We have always posted The Five on Friday. At the moment, we have an abundance of Five material and we felt it was better to publish this one as soon as possible due to the topical nature of the article. We hope you enjoy this Friday Five…on a Wednesday!)
If you have been paying any attention to the news in the past few weeks, you’ve heard a lot of talk about bathrooms. Never before in the history of the human race, have we spent this much time discussing where we do our “business.” I figured since everyone was talking about it, I should get in on the action and add my humble, yet wise, voice to the mix. Below, you will find five things you should never do in the men’s restroom.1
1. No talking. If you are in the bathroom, it is not the appropriate time for a conversation. I can think of very few less appropriate times. Don’t be the person that can’t shut their trap. Men are not like women in this regard. We do not go to the bathroom to catch up on the latest gossip or to continue a conversation in private. We don’t go in there to get opinions about how we look. Part of this is due to the overall presentation and condition of the restrooms. The women’s bathroom is usually clean and pleasant.2 The men’s room is a wasteland of filth and refuse. It’s a place of nightmares. You do not converse in the middle of a nightmare. You escape the nightmare as quickly as possible.
2. No eye contact. Taking Point One a little further, it’s wise to avoid eye contact in the men’s room. You will see things in the men’s room that you cannot un-see. That is no exaggeration. I realize that women understand that men can be messy in the bathroom. Indeed, there are many jokes about how men lack the ability to aim when they use the restroom. While this is true of many men, it does not begin to capture the full magnitude of the situation. It is not enough to say that men cannot aim. In my experience, in a public restroom most men don’t realize aiming is even an option. You would be better off blindfolding men, turning them in circles for thirty seconds, and then setting them free to urinate wherever they want. Seriously, most public restrooms have less clean and dry floor space than dirty and wet. For the sake of the women reading this, I won’t even begin to describe what happens with the toilets.
3. No cellphone usage. It’s bad enough you have your cell phone out in the bathroom, but talking on it while taking care of your business is about as low as you can go. What does this behavior say to the person you are calling? “You are so very unimportant to me that this is how low I rate a phone conversation with you. Talking to you and using the restroom are of equal importance to me.” Put down the phone. 3
4. No peeking. I really shouldn’t have to include this one, but it’s happened to me too many times for me to ignore it. If you are standing at the urinal and someone uses the urinal next to you, it’s never okay to peek over the edge of the small partition to…I have no idea why anyone would do this. Also, sometimes the urinal you are using either does not have a partition or is not really a urinal, but more of a giant trough that everyone uses at the same time. In those cases, eyes straight ahead is the proper procedure. You know what is happening below. You’ve seen it a million times. Take care of your business, keep your eyes directly in front of you and finish up as quickly as you can.
5. No “checkmating.” Checkmating: To choose the urinal next to someone when there are other urinals available. Or, to use a urinal which forces the person after you to choose a urinal right next to someone, when you could have chosen a different urinal thereby allowing the person after you to pick one that was not next to anyone. Depending on the urinal configuration, this might not be avoidable. However, if there are more than three urinals, do not choose the urinal next to an occupied one. See the pictures below for examples of proper urinal selection. This is not a game people. Don’t be the jerk that checkmates his friend into having to urinate next to someone else. To the pictorial guide!
Scenario One is pretty self-explanatory: It’s just you and one other guy. This other guy could be a friend or he could be a complete stranger. Doesn’t matter. If you choose the spot marked with the red X, you checkmated that other guy and have now made him extremely uncomfortable.
Scenario Two typically presents itself when you are with friends. Suppose you go to the bathroom with a buddy and you approach the row of urinals with the above configuration. The urinal on the far left is occupied. Now, if you want to be a jerk to your buddy that is next in line after you, you would choose the urinal marked by the red X. If you do that, there is nowhere your buddy can urinate without having to stand right next to somebody else. Checkmate! You could have comfortably and wisely chosen either the middle urinal or the far right urinal and everyone would have been able to go in peace.
Regardless of your views on the bathroom controversy sweeping the nation, I think we can all agree that these five things are vitally important as well.
- This applies to anyone that thinks they should be using the men’s room. We do not discriminate here. But after reading this, you might change your mind about which bathroom you want to use. ↩
- I know this based on many years of janitorial work. ↩
- I’ve been informed that this point makes me sound really old because most people don’t use their cellphones for talking anymore. Point taken. I also love cassette tapes in case you were wondering. Regardless if you are talking, texting, or checking your Facebook page, get off the phone while you are in the bathroom. It’s creepy. ↩