I believe that I have guided you well and as yet, with the exception of the Full English Breakfast blog, I don’t think I’ve said anything particularly controversial. I’m nice like that.
I think that now we’ve got to know each other a bit better, it’s time that I stepped it up a bit. I know that you are all looking forward to me tackling office etiquette and the threats I’ve received show that a lot of you are eagerly awaiting my views on pet ownership.
Today’s subject may not be controversial as such but it may make for unpleasant reading because today, I’m going to tackle toilet etiquette.
The focus will be public toilets because whatever you do in your own netty is quite literally your own business.
For obvious reasons I’m going to be discussing a gent’s perspective, female lavatories are and always will be a mystery to me. I occasionally hear rumours. Somebody has used somebody else’s hairbrush and the like but they just raise more questions. I don’t want to get involved.
I have female friends who would rather go home feigning illness than have a number two at work. I have male friends who believe a double time dump on overtime to be the very pinnacle of their career and I’m going to side with my male friends here. There’s something very satisfying about dropping the kids off at the pool during working hours but that can all be spoiled by bad etiquette.
Go into most workplace toilets and there will be an odd number of cubicles. Ever wondered why? It’s so HR can identify trouble makers and people who have no consideration for fellow workers.
If there are three cubicles for instance and all are free, which do you choose? If you said two you need to stop reading this blog and seek help. Why would you do that, sicko?
Even numbered cubicles are for emergencies only, when all others are in use. Nobody wants to sit next to you. Nobody wants to hear you chop and plop. By choosing number two you have rendered the other two cubicles uninhabitable. By choosing one or three you at least left one viable option.
There have been scientific studies on this; serial killers and people who have pineapple on pizzas are most likely to choose an even numbered cubicle. Be sure to check your HR policy before committing this most heinous of toilet crimes.
There are other considerations. Nobody wants to be sat in a notorious bad flusher. The fear of needing multiple flushes takes all of the enjoyment out of the experience.
Lighting is important. Whilst I will tackle the thorny subject of reading material later, you don’t want to be sat in the dark. If a lightbulb is out, it is your civic duty to report it.
Above all else, nobody will ever enter a cubicle where there is a floater. To leave one is a saackable offence, no matter how proud you are of it.
We all know it’s not possible to pay a visit without making a sound but there are limits. Keep your farting for when you are on the pot. Just because you are through the door doesn’t mean you can let rip.
If you trump whilst stood at the urinal you have the manners of a pig and if you say “Better out than in” I hope someone makes you eat the pineapple chunks floating in the bottom of the urinal.
You are not allowed to sing, hum, whistle, talk on your phone or anything else that would distract your neighbours from the serious business of doing their business. If you are going to send messages or play a game on your phone, turn it to silent.
Over time you get to recognise your colleagues by the noises they make. Whether it is the rush of their footsteps or the slamming of the cubicle door, you know who it is. One former colleague used to resemble an orchestra warming up. He had so many sound effects I’m surprised he didn’t work in Hollywood.
First the main door would clatter open then he would run to the cubicle, foregoing all cubicle choice rules due to the emergency he seemed to be in. The cubicle door would slam shut before the toilet seat was slammed down. A belt would unbuckle as he let out his first long, glorious fart. There would be a whistle as he plonked himself down then what could only be described as an eruption followed by a loud sigh suggesting that he was hoping for something a little less explosive. I once heard him utter the fateful words “Oh shit” when I assume he was surveying his work.
He would always finish his visit with multiple wrestles with the toilet roll dispenser as if he was fighting a tiger. I suspect he regretted that there wasn’t a hose to sluice him out after what was obviously a traumatic experience.
At this point, anybody in any other cubicle would be cowering in fear not knowing what they would witness when they left.
It’s years since I’ve worked with him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has spontaneously combusted in trap two by now.
I’ve only just got started on this tricky subject but feel free to comment if you think there are any toilet terrors I need to cover.