Nobody likes to use a public bathroom, but sometimes they’re a necessary evil. Unless you’re some kind of sick deviant, you definitely prefer to do your business in the privacy of your own home. No matter how fancy or fresh a communal restroom is, it’s still not going to be your favorite place to be. However, if everyone cleaned up their act in public bathrooms and behaved with decency, the experience of evacuating your bladder or bowels in a shared space might not be such an anxiety inducing nightmare. Let’s set some ground rules to make public bathrooms a better place.
Here are the official rules to follow in a public bathroom:
Clean up after yourself. In particularly gross bathrooms, it’s natural to be inclined to sprint out after quickly flushing the toilet, but this wouldn’t be the case if we were a little more polite in the first place. If everyone left the bathroom without leaving their mark in some filthy way, we wouldn’t be so disgusted by the state of a dirty water closet. Make sure you wipe up any urine you’ve sprinkled on the seat, dry off splattered water on the sink after you wash up and be sure that any paper towels and other debris make it all the way into the trash bins.
Wash your damn hands. I’m not even going to explain this one. Everyone knows why this is critical.
No lingering. Get in and out as quickly as possible. Enter the bathroom, do your stuff, clean up, wash your hands and get the eff out–especially if this is a multi-user bathroom. Many people struggle to actually go if they think someone is listening. It’s not even a matter of choice a lot of the time. Some people’s bodies just shut the whole thing down when they get nervous. If you’re treating the bathroom like your own private powder room and lolly-gagging while someone else is in there, you could be messing with their body and causing physical and emotional distress. If the bathroom is empty, go ahead and fix your makeup or talk to yourself in the mirror while playing “Goodbye Horses,” but as soon as someone steps in, try to get out to give them the slightest amount of privacy. Why would you want to spend more time in there than is absolutely necessary anyway?
If you see something, say something. If there’s a toilet that won’t flush, or a mess that requires a staff member to clean up, tell someone who can take care of it. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse for following users. This rule also applies to letting someone know if they have toilet paper on their shoe or their skirt tucked into their underpants. Don’t let anyone go around embarrassing themselves when you could have stopped it.
If you do something, say something. Let’s say your biggest fear becomes a reality and you clog a toilet: put your big kid pants on and tell someone. The problem will only get worse and you’ll be affecting anyone who needs to use the toilet after you and the person whose job it is to maintain the bathroom.
Keep your phone in your pocket or purse. Personally, I don’t want whatever is swirling around in the bathroom air getting on my phone because it’s gross. Some people like to play games or send emails on the toilet, but that’s not really my thing. It also delays your exit. Other people need to use the bathroom too! Toilets aren’t gaming chairs. Again, why would you spend more time in there than you have to?
Please don’t talk on your phone while you’re using the bathroom. It’s weird for you, probably for the person you’re talking to who doesn’t know you’re currently relieving yourself, and for the other bathroom users.
Be discrete. Courtesy flushes aren’t just to mask the noises you’re making while pooping. They also prevent waste from filling the air with your dirt’s aroma. Get that literal shit down the commode as soon as you can. Lighting matches, using sprays or those preventative deodorizers can help keep you from being embarrassed and others from being assaulted by unpleasant smells.
Spare a square. When someone asks for a tampon or for some toilet paper to be handed to them under the stall, give it up without a fight. Also, if you know a stall doesn’t have toilet paper in it, don’t let someone go in there. Be a friend.
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