Can Someone Please Help Me With Bathroom Etiquette?

UntitledReal talk, I have no idea how I am supposed to act in a communal bathroom.

I’m not even going to lie, I immediately go into the handicap stall if it’s free.  A more spacious experience is a better one, in my opinion.

I could be missing the bigger picture here, mostly because I am not handicapped.  I do feel guilty, but at the same time, I don’t like small spaces because I was locked in a suitcase and a bathroom when I was younger.

Do I just suck it up and sacrifice space for sanity?  Or do I go for the gold and ignore the haters hoping to all heavens that someone doesn’t wheel in with the burning need to release their bladder?

Then if you are in the bathroom and you hear people come in, you have to look at the feet, right?  You need to know who it is, and if you do know who it is, is it weird to say hello?  No one wants eye contact through the stalls, that’s awkward as hell.  Keep your head down, analyze the foot traffic and make an assessment.

Does knowing who people are by their feet make you a weirdo?  Asking for a friend. 

If you do know the person, but only a little bit, you’re not obligated to talk to them while you’re washing your hands right?  It’s like the rules of elevator etiquette apply here.  A nice, firm “hello!” and then a quick wash of the hands and be on your way.

My reasoning is because after you do establish a small talk conversation where you both mutually agree that it is either warm or cold outside and you wish that the week was over, it just becomes an awkward hang out until one of the two of you decide what safe topic to discuss next.

Do I have to make small talk in the bathroom with someone I barely know?

I get that after twenty-five years, these rules should have been clear.  But honestly, I’m navigating the sea of life, and I find myself severely off course more times than I can count.

All I do know is that you never, under any circumstances use the first stall.

Please help me.

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21 comments

  1. Weather related small talk is okay, nothing personal or demanding of eye contact, especially if you’ve caused olfactory issues. Go with what feels right. Take the handicap stall for short durations. Not if periodicals are required.

  2. I have recently come to the conclusion that any stranger that tries to engage in conversation with me in the bathroom is either excruciatingly lonely or likes the sound of their own voice. So in both cases, I acknowledge what they’re saying while I dry my hands off on their shirt. There: verbal and physical attention giving and I am on my way!

  3. Reminded me of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry really has to go to the bathroom and he uses the handicapped stall and then somebody comes in on a wheelchair and’s waiting outside the stall and sort of glares at him and confronts him about it when he comes out. I’ll have to see if I can find a clip of it on YouTube (Anyway, you should really watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, its a really funny series. Shame they’re not making any more episodes I think… 😦 ) Here, found it!

    🙂

    • I loved Curb, and I also thought of the episode when I read this. I think talking should be out in the bathroom. Can’t people be quiet for just a few minutes? Some people keep up a steady babble as if we’re still face to face.

  4. Bathroom etiquette is tricky! I’m 53 and I still haven’t figured it out, especially at work — I find it especially tricky at work, yes. I do agree with MamaMick’s answers. Love how you presented this like an advice column. A fun, entertaining, if not awkward, read. 😉

  5. oh i HATE public bathrooms and small talk in them. i actually will wait till it’s empty before leaving my stall just to avoid people. ugh. i’m so not a people person. especially in freaking bathrooms.

Talk is cheap, but I'm on a budget anyway...

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