Thursday, January 26, 2006

Public Restrooms (Part I)

I am going to put everything on the back burner to talk a little bit about something that we can all relate to: The Public Restroom.

Back in college, I wrote a paper called "Making A Clean Getaway". It was about how to get in and out of a public restroom with a minimum of others' excretions on yourself. Though I thought I knew everything at the time, I was Oh-So-Naive then. I have since made many observations in the batrhroom which, while not necessarily are to be employed in the avoidance of bacterial infestation, certainly are valuable tips and tricks guaranteed to minimize your chances of raising the ire of your fellow restroom cellmates. I hereby use this opportunity to re-write and amend one of the most thought-provoking and revolutionary essays of modern time. I no longer have the original, but the words, like the Gospel, are forever in my heart. Let's begin, shall we?

Upon entering the restroom, make an immediate scan around the room. Locate the important points: Toilet location, flush methodology, faucet configuration/activation, sanitizing agents, dehumidification implements, and exit strategy. I will try and cover these points singly over the next few weeks, so that I can provide the proper attention to each one.

For today, let's discuss Toilet Location. If you are even remotely pee-shy, you want to consider going into a stall. A wee bit of privacy is a necessary thing for those with special shy-bladder needs. Urinals, when spaced properly, do provide a modicum of privacy, but nothing beats a stall. It is like an oasis in a desert of ceramic tile. You can shut yourself in there, and be hidden from the stresses of the jungle outside. They say that no man is an island, but in there, you are master of your own domain.

Since I like to save water and I generally don't suffer from Shy-Bladder Syndrome, or SBS, I prefer the urinal when possible. SBS is now apparently and inexplicably called Paruresis, presumably because was the only domain not already taken by cybersquatters (pardon the pun). That being said, public restroom designers exhibiting gross cases of incompetence or negligence in restroom design should be flogged with wet ass-paper. Consider the following photo of a urinal where I work:

Click for larger version

The sadistic bastard who designed this configuration obviously wanted to stare at other men's weiners. I can see no other reason these would be put three inches apart with no wall in between! It appears that there was once a partition there, but it no longer exists. Stolen, perhaps, by vagrants or vandals who like to meat-gaze.

Not to go off on a tangent/rant here, but I have to say that there is a Code of Men (hereafter referred to as the CoM for brevity). There are some simple elements in the CoM. Here are a few:

- You don't date your friend's ex-girlfriends unless expicit permission has been asked for and obtained.
-If your buddy is feeling down, you buy him a beer or three.
- You don't fart in another man's car, unless it is a convertible with the top down.
- You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
- And never but NEVER do you get into a situation where you can see another man's dong.

The configuration seen above, forces me to "overstep" over the magical, mythical, invisible center-line into the other urinal's floorspace in order to enforce the CoM. We live in sad times indeed when the men on this planet are no longer able to self-police on the rules in the CoM. So, I try discourage others from standing next to me with the overstep maneuver. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

By now you know that I respect the CoM; if someone is already in one of the urinals seen here, I simply go to one of the stalls. Sometimes, though, men go through life blissfully unaware. These are the clueless idiots who stand right next to the luggage carousel at the airport, blocking everyone else from even seeing if their bags are spinning, lonely and unclaimed, around and around. It isn't that they are being stupid on purpose. It is just that they haven't a clue. Stand back a little bit! You would think they were in line to shake Mick Jagger's dick the way they crowd up there. Anyway, they also belly up to the urinal as if you weren't already there, grunting, farting, and peering over. Why, it's as if they owned the place -- how utterly rude! The only way to properly instruct these Atilla the Huns of bathroom etiquette and gross violators of the CoM is to slowly turn toward them, make direct eye contact, clear your throat, then piss all over their shoes.

With a little bit of experience/skill/OCD, you, too can find the proper place to comfortably relieve yourself. So, the old adage goes, "Location, location, location." It couldn't ring more true here.

Now, stop looking at my pee-pee.