Paulelmo's Blog

Public Restroom Etiquette–from the archives

This marks the 100th time I’ve come to these wordpress.com pages, and I want to take the opportunity to talk about something of much import to me. This is something that has bothered me for just about as long as my life has required the use of public restrooms, and, while I’ve remarked about it at times to others, I’ve never made a serious public statement to the masses. That is this: don’t talk to me when I’m peeing.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a good-natured chap; some would even say that I’m affable. Even if I don’t have a minute to pass a little time with you, I’ll still give you that minute and make it up somewhere else. I might not give you much more than that, but I’m usually a good bet to give you that.

Men who have tried to strike up a conversation with me in public restrooms are looking to others as they read this and saying things like “I’ve met that dude; he’s not that affable. He’s kind of rude, if you ask me.”

Nor would they be wrong in this assessment. If you have ever encountered me in a public restroom, while I was doing my business no less, and tried to strike up a conversation, I’m sure I did come off as rude. Forgive me, but I’m just not the most conversational when I’m standing there with my fly open and my business in my hand.

Nor am I much more talkative when I’m at the sink washing my hands afterward–I’m probably too concerned with how many times I’ve sang “happy birthday” or trying to figure out how to work this godforsaken paper towel dispenser. (And if it’s the latter, please don’t feel the need to help me; I’ll figure it out, and if I can’t I’ll just shake them dry.) Maybe I would be more so if I was in the habit of looking at myself in those mirrors, but I’m not. This brings to mind that image of two dudes looking at each other in the mirror and talking, like filmmakers are wont to use and which always seems so weird to me. I’m wondering if the hands they’re washing might be more important than if they think the Wildcats are going to win this weekend, or how are they talking and keeping track of how many times they’ve sang “happy birthday” at the same time.

I go to the bathroom to use the bathroom and to wash my hands, and those are the only reasons I go to the bathroom. This does not account for much of the time of my life, so if you need a minute once I’m out of there, just ask and I’ll give it to you. If you do it when I’m in the bathroom, however, forgive me if I don’t seem to care too much about what you think of this weather we’re having.

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