Anyway, I was in the ladies' room closest to my office, when I heard someone else come in. I knew by the gait and by the shoes it was one of my co-workers. (I won't say who because I do have to work with these people.) As I was washing my hands, she stood behind me, waiting for access to the lone sink and said in a silly voice, "I broke one of the bathroom rules!"
"What bathroom rule is that," I asked.
"I came in here when someone else was in here."
"That's not a rule," I told her. "That's just a courtesy."
To be clear, there are no posted bathroom rules, though I think it might be a good idea. But after working in the same office for nearly five years, I've noticed the evolution of certain practices that could be included in a short set of "office bathroom etiquette" rules, or guidelines if you prefer to be softer about it. They would look something like this:
Office Bathroom Etiquette
- If you happen to be headed to the bathroom at the same time as someone else, remember the boss gets the stall closest to the sink. The business manager prefers the one furthest from the sink.
- The above should not really be an issue because if you are headed to the bathroom at the same time as someone else, it is courteous to go find another bathroom. That way you don't have to listen to each other pee.
- If you have to go #2, please choose one of the single-seater unisex bathrooms. That way no one has to listen to your, um, activity. And you avoid offending anyone's olfactory senses.
At least one person in my office would take issue with #3, saying that it's ok to go #2 in the community bathroom if it's not going to be "grody" (her word, not mine). My contention is that you don't know if it's going to be grody until it's too late and isn't all poop grody by default?
I'd be all for a posted sign instructing people to avoid emptying their bowels in the community bathroom if at all possible. Or perhaps a more subtle approach would be to just put a picture of Winnie the Pooh on the doors to the unisex bathrooms, indicating that it is an acceptable "poo" room.
Anyway, back to the etiquette...I'm undecided about the acceptability of talking while peeing. If being in the bathroom at the same time as someone else is unavoidable (refer back to etiquette rule 2), should you quietly and quickly go about your business? Or should you initiate conversation so as to drown out the sound of pee? I suppose it depends on whether or not you know the person in the next stall over.
And of course, it should go without saying that one of the cardinal rules of bathroom etiquette is washing your hands afterwards, singing the ABCs twice for good infection control.
Have I forgotten anything? Is there anything else you would add?
For more office antics, try this fun game.