3 tips for toilet etiquette

Having spent 11 hours and more than 500 miles in a car today, I had the opportunity to see and, oftentimes, use a wide variety of porta-potties, wayside restrooms, fast food ladies’ rooms and Burp ‘N Slurp commodes.

The state of toilet etiquette in these joints along Interstate 90 is deplorable, and I suspect the same may be said for powder rooms across America. (Side note: Nothing in the Midwest is as scary as the public bathroom I encountered once in Tokyo: It was a concrete trench in the ground. That’s it. No stall. No seat. No paper. A hole. For a woman with an inseam of 36-inches, squatting down that far is feat by itself. Impossible with pants one leg on and one leg off. And for God’s sake, keep the panties out-of-the-way, too! Oh, the horror! Never again.)

If we all were to follow these three simple — and dare I suggest, basic — tips for toilet etiquette, our next visit to the public restroom might be a bit less nightmarish. Let’s give it the old college try, shall we?

  1. Aim. Yes, I realize this could be a rant all by itself, but really, how difficult is it to actually get the pee in the bowl? It’s a rather large target, relatively, don’t you think? And the equipment you’re using isn’t as powerful as you might like to boast. I should think you could control it a little bit better than the gentleman (no, I doubt it) who used the porta-potty at the football field this morning before I got there. Pee all over the seat? Really? It was 11 a.m.? Did you indulge in a few too many Bloody Marys at that time of the morning already? Disgusting.
  2. Flush. This issue is moot in a porta-potty, but in a proper toilet, really, is it that difficult to press the lever? An extra second, if necessary? That is one reason soap, water and towels are provided, you know: To wash one’s hands after using the can. To get the ick off. If actually pulling the flusher is that repulsive to you, learn how to use your foot. Leaving a stew of black scum and soggy toilet paper stagnating in the bowl is not acceptable. No excuses.
  3. Alert. If aiming is a problem exhibited by males, then it’s females who need to speak up when you use the last of the toilet paper in the bathroom! Seriously, the gas station attendant will never see you again. It strikes shame at your immortal core to mention as you walk by, “Hey, the ladies’ loo could use some more toilet paper, sweetheart”?
I am off to the shower. To scrub the vestiges of dirty privys from my memory. And other skin surfaces.

12 responses to “3 tips for toilet etiquette

  1. Pingback: 3 tips for toilet etiquette (via Minnesota Transplant) « Emotfit's Blog

  2. I love this post. Maybe I should have my young brothers read it? There are many of them! 😉

  3. Having also visited the Toyko bathroom(?!), I share your disgust for persons who leave a mess behind. Since I also lived during the era of outdoor privies, I adore modern plumbing facilities. Even flushing without putting your used toilet paper in the stool (place it in a wastebasket provided for that purpose–yes, that was the practice in Guatemala where their plumbing infrastructure is sadly overburdened) is preferable to the Toyko trench.

  4. Lol! Good tips. At work, it bugs me to no end when women choose a stall immediately to either side of the one that I’m using. It’s like–there are FIVE stalls to choose from and I’m the only one here! Can you not choose one that’s not right next to me? Maybe I’m alone in that…

    • minnesotatransplant

      I read a study somewhere that the first stall in a public bathroom is statistically the cleanest. Pick that one and you’ll have halved the chances someone choose the stall next to you.

  5. Reblogged this on Minnesota Transplant and commented:

    Spent an inordinate time on the road again yesterday, which means I saw an inordinate number of roadside bathrooms. I can say with confidence that toilet etiquette south of Northern Illinois is no better than it is north of here. Sigh.

  6. I was studying at a coffee shop over the weekend and they were out of towels.. I washed my hands before I realized I couldn’t dry them and so told the barista (baristo?) About the problem. “No worries,” he assured me, “we’ll refill them right away!”

    So, a little while later, a barista glass into the bathroom. A few minutes pass and she comes out. I finish my coffee and revisit the ladies room. I wash my hands and go to dry them, but the towels hadn’t been replenished…

    So now I’m convinced the barista used the loo and did not use the sink..*shudder*

  7. I read the same study about the first stall. 🙂 And I’ve experienced hole-in-the-ground toilets when we lived in Germany. Along with toilets you had to pay for at highway rest stops. However the attendants there that got your money also seemed to keep the bathrooms clean, so I guess it was worth it.

    • Eek, I never had to try the wayside rests in Germany. I did have to pay for a glass of water on a cheap cross-Germany flight once. I wonder if they charged for the loo, too?

  8. As the Charmin commercial says, “We all ‘go’…why not make the ‘go’ good!!” Or something like that…Ha! Been in a port-a potty at one of my son’s softball games years ago…that repelled me so much, I decided to “hold it!” Ugh!!

  9. Just got back from two weeks in China, and I would like to report they are the same as Japan. I considered it a great success everytime I left the stall with dry pants. Just a tip, never look in the basket in the corner where you toss the used paper.

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