Saturday, October 14, 2006

Et A Kit

For those who are unaware, there are strict rules of bathroom etiquette that we men must follow. I suppose most of those who are unfamiliar with these rules are women, though in my experience there are enough men who also fail to grasp the importance of proper bathroom behavior. And frankly, that just makes those of us following the rules feel incredibly awkward. Let's face it: there aren't many places worse than the bathroom for feeling awkward. Maybe the bedroom... But next to that, you definitely don't want to feel uncomfortable on the crapper.

Thus, for the education and edification of those for whom these rules are unknown, (and to help avoid horrible horrible blushing at the urinal) I present the following:

The Rules of Mens' Bathroom Behavior:

1. Dialogue
(A) There shall be no talking in the bathroom, regardless of how many men are present and irrespective of any potential waiting period,

(I) except in the following limited circumstances:
(a) when two or more men who have been engaged in conversation immediately preceding their entrance into the restroom enter said restroom simultaneously, with the aforementioned conversation ongoing, provided that (i) a termination or abeyance of the conversation could not have been reasonably reached prior to the restroom entrance and (ii) a cessation of conversation be reached in an expedient fashion.

(b) when two or more men who have entered the restroom engaged in prior conversation have engaged in a temporary abeyance, as per the rules of etiquette, they may restart their communications provided that both have (i) finished their respective goings-on in either the stall or urinal areas and (ii) are standing at a sink or towel area away from the various goings-on of others who may be frequenting that restroom. At no time shall a man wait inside the bathroom for his companions, despite a desire to resume an abeyed conversation. If the men finish their goings on at markedly different times such that they do not reach the sink or towel area in relatively synchronized fashion the man(men) finishing first must exit the restroom in an orderly fashion and wait until their companion exits before resuming their discussion.

(c) while at a social engagement with closed attendance set (e.g. a wedding) any two men are permitted a brief exchange provided that (i) it occurs in passing, while one man is finishing his goings-on or washing and the other is beginning, (ii) the two men have some otherwise established relationship (e.g. family members, close friends), and (iii) there has been limited opportunity for significant conversation between the two prior to this occasion.

(B) If a man violates these rules the non-offending hearer shall,

(I)If he is the person to whom the conversation is directed, either
(a) ignore the speaker, if they be unknown to the hearer, or (b) respond succinctly, using the shortest and quietest combination of monosyllabic words (e.g. "yup"), simple gestures (e.g. a knowing half-smile with a nod), and guttural tones (e.g. "hmph").

(II)If he is a bystander, and not the person to whom the conversation is directed
(a) ignore the speaker entirely, and (b) pray silently to himself that he finish quickly and without becoming a target of the offending speaker's conversation.

2. Peeking.
(A) At no time shall a man peek.

3. Urinal Selection.
(A) The selection of urinals shall follow strict rules of priority, the sequence of which is established in subpart (I) below:

(a) If possible, the man will always leave at least one empty urinal between himself and others.
(b) If possible, so long as it is consistent with part 3(A)(I)(a), the man shall select a urinal at either end of the row.
(c) If it is entirely impossible to satisfy part 3(A)(I)(a), but possible to otherwise comply with 3(A)(I)(b), the man shall so comply with 3(A)(I)(b) and select an end urinal.
(d) If it is entirely impossible to satisfy part 3(A)(I)(a), selection shall be based on the appearance of the pre-arriving urinators. The man shall select the urinal nearest to the urinator who appears to be closest to finishing. If one is unable to determine who is nearest to completion he shall then take into account the prior order of arrival at the urinals, if it be known to him. If he is still unable to determine which is the most suitable urinal he shall select the open urinal nearest to an end of a row.
(e) Only if all urinals are occupied shall a man use a stall for urination.
(f) If there is a line for access to the urinals and stall a man shall wait patiently and quietly before selecting the first available urinal or stall, (i) provided that at all times at least one stall is designated for those men who need defecate. (ii) Only one such defecation stall need be designated at any one time, regardless of occupancy.
(g) If, instead of a row of urinals, a large trough has been provided all of the above rules shall be followed using "wide-urinal" estimates. (i) A "wide-urinal" estimate is established by considering the approximate width of a typical urinal and the space on both sides of that urinal, until the next urinal, in the typical men's restroom. (ii) Each trough-urinator shall apply the "wide-urinal" rule, in effect creating double the space between urination locations.

4. Urinal, Stall, and Sink Behavior
(A) At all times while urinating a man shall look straight ahead or forward with a slight downward angle, such that his point of focus is no lower than the top of the urinal's porcelain structure. (I)He shall not turn his head from side to side. (II) He shall not look up. (III) He shall not look lower than the top of the urinal's porcelain structure,

(a) Unless:
(i) He is aiming his stream, or (ii) He is having certain complications with zippers, belts, buttons, undergarments, or equipment.
(b) once any or all of the exceptions so listed in 4(A)(III)(a) has been eliminated, he shall return his focus to the preferred location described in 4(A).

(B) At all times a man shall keep his hands at or below the level of his navel, (I) never placing more than one hand on his equipment at all times, (II) though general proximity of a second hand will be acceptable provided the hand is serving a purpose in that location, such as keeping garments out of the stream. (III) For the exception to the rule, see 4(C).

(C) You shall flush.

(D) If, by fault or not, the toilet was not effectively flushed, a man shall not return to flush it a second time. (I) Instead he shall proceed to the sink, acting as if the toilet was properly flushed, despite the obvious reality, and regardless of whether his urinal use is immediately followed or not. (II) If the improper flush occurred in a stall, the man shall remain to flush the toilet a second time. If that flush is also ineffective, he shall proceed to the sink, taking care to close the stall door.

(E) Usage of the sink is strongly preferred. (I) However, if the man has little cause for use of the sink, that cause be located solely in touching his equipment and flushing the toilet, he shall quickly rinse his hands with only water, in any unoccupied sink, and proceed to dry-off using no more than 2 paper towels or no-more-than 5 full seconds underneath a blow-dryer. (II) If the man has good cause for use of the sink, he shall select a sink on the same basis as urinal selection, and proceed to wash heartily, using both soap and water. He will then be afforded as many paper towels, or as much time under the blow-dryer, as he needs to completely remove any wetness from his hands.


Ok, that's what I've got for rules. Men out there: if I've missed something or you think this needs an amendment or if you think something should be struck from the rules, let me know, and I'll take it under advisement.

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me


Greg said...

About a month ago, I came across an educational video describing the proper procedure for use of the Men's room. One rule that seems to be missing is to avoid consumption of the large white mints.

Also, it is my understanding that part 3(A)(I)(a) is not optional, and that there must be at least one urinal unoccupied as a buffer. The exception only comes if there is a divider between the urinals, such as those pictured here.

Under 2(A), it should also be made clear that perceived peeking counts as peeking. This includes reading of graffiti outside your immediate urinal area.

There can also be an exception in section 3(A)(I)(b) for situations in which there is a short urinal. For example, it is generally acceptable to take the second from end urinal if the end one is significantly shorter than the others, and obviously designed for kids, as long as the buffer urinal is maintained.

There's also the issue of knocking on a stall when it is in use. That is strictly prohibited. I know it seems obvious, but I've seen it happen.

There's plenty more, such as the pelvic thrust, the dreaded pants around the ankles (usually committed by complete amateurs, i.e. kids), the noises coming from the stalls, etc, but most of it is covered in the video I mentioned earlier. This can get fairly graphic, but also points out the drastic consequences of breaking this code. It's fairly worthwhile.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I'll watch it later. But for now, I stand by my rule 3, which permits non-buffered usage when such is not immediately available.

Good call on 2(A), and the exception to 3(A)(I).

As for the others - some of them do go without saying (e.g. pants around ankles), because they really apply only to children, and not grown men.
But knocking on the stall... yeah, that's uncool.

Dangit, I hate that there's a video. This is my material! Jerks.

emnovak said...

I think (and I know I'm not a guy but it's a valid opiniion) that washing of the hands should follow no matter what. It's way more sanitary than what's going on in the bathroom, even if you don't think certain activites need much hand washing. Take it from me-they do.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Why should I take it from you? And hand washing does follow no matter what, it's just an issue of whether you wash with water alone, or soap and water.

Gina said...

I am so glad I married a guy who uses soap and water every time.

Matthew B. Novak said...

You can believe whatever you want Gina...

emnovak said...

you should take it from me because I'm smart and clean and washing your hands periodically throughout the day with soap is healthy and good, especially after you use the bathroom. I'm sure you don't think so, but no matter what you end up touching in a bathroom you need to wash your hands. Heck, probably most other things you touch too. Now, I'm not ocd about it, but just thinking about guys only washing with water is gross. So do it for the sake of the girls.

Kajsa said...

Highly entertaining and informative. Are there other repurcussions for not following said rules, or just the discomfort of everyone else?

joel. said...

Man, am I ever glad I finally got caught up on my reading. I had no idea how to properly use a bathroom these past 25 years of my life. I feel like Borat...