Wow, okay. That title may be misleading. A better one: How to Use a Public Restroom Without Being a Jerk
Using public restrooms is something that most of us have to do at some point in our day. Since most of us have to do it, it seems like a skill set we’d have down cold. Apparently not, though. So here it is, Elizabeth’s Totally Obvious Guide to Using Public Restrooms:
1. Wash. Your. Hands.* ** ***
2. If you encounter a door that doesn’t swing, always knock. After you knock, listen for at least 5 seconds before proceeding to try the handle.
3. If you are currently having a private bathroom moment and you hear a knock at the door, please, for the love of Lysol, say something. “Someone’s in here!” is perfectly fine. Also acceptable: “Occupado!” or “Just a second!” or “Congress and I are passing a bill, hold on!”
4. If you are a parent and have brought your small, ambulatory toddler into the public restroom with you, please, please, please do not let them crawl under other people’s stalls to say ‘hello.’ This is a confounding situation that leads to awkward staring. I never know what to do when this happens. Should I have a conversation with your child? Should we shake hands? It seems rude not to.
5. Be neighborly. Say, for example, you enter a stall and, realizing there is no toilet paper, move to the next stall. A few moments later, another woman enters that stall. Kindly gather a goodly bunch of toilet paper from your own roll and extend it underneath the stall at least four inches above the floor. For goodness’ sake, ladies, that could have been your mother, your sister, your best friend!
6. The Rule of Stool: If you wouldn’t leave it sitting, unflushed, unhindered, or sitting out in your own bathroom, you really shouldn’t leave it in a public restroom for perfect strangers to experience.
7. What happens in the powder room stays in the powder room. Like Las Vegas but with more fluorescent lighting.
**For at least 20 seconds, according to the Center for Disease Control. (I checked.)
***You should also scrub underneath your nails and you should turn the faucet off with the paper towel you have used to dry your hands. If you want to be extra fancy, you can use your paper towel to open the restroom door before you throw it away.
Help me out. What public restroom tip do you wish you could pass on?