Thursday, May 21, 2009

restroom logistics

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this subject over the course of my life. There have been not a few occasions in which I almost posted on this subject, but stopped myself at the last minute, trying to avoid appearing crass or unrefined. I worry that maybe a post like this will hurt my dating life or be an embarrassment to my future self.

Three things changed my mind: first, a conversation with my doctor sister where she discussed various and sundry "oozing" things on a recent biking trip*, secondly, a realization that no guide is complete without an entry on restroom posturing, and lastly, coming to terms with an absence of dating life and/or low likelihood of any sort of future fame.

No post on this subject is complete without mentioning Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, which my good friends the Hansens introduced to me. There is a section on this very subject, so I'll direct the loyal reader there for detailed analysis.

That being said, I'll try and keep this brief.

There are several unspoken rules on restroom etiquette. Literally, they are unspoken, because speaking is strictly prohibited. Only the most monosyllabic of grunts may be uttered. Nobody actually knows any of the rules, because they are all afraid of talking. There are, however, a few well-established patterns of behavior. Eyes must be averted to the ceiling during particular times, physical contact of any sort is strictly prohibited (especially shaking hands), and eye contact is forbidden, among many others.

There is one gold standard for restroom behavior, and that is the fact that you use the restroom. However, and much to our collective chagrin, there are occasions in which this becomes slightly more difficult. Due to a variety of factors, ranging from fear to fear, using the facilities can become problematic. I once spent two very uncomfortable minutes standing centimeters away from my six foot four, three hundred pound high school jazz band director in a cramped gas station restroom. I'm sorry, but there's just no way to relax in that sort of situation. Neither of us availed ourselves of the facilities in the end, and we both exited ashamed. I have never been able to speak of that occasion until this day.

The reason I can speak of it today is because where before I thought that was the worst possible thing that could happen in a restroom, I discovered there is an even more embarrassing occurrence which stalks the halls of our nations bathrooms.

I stopped by one of the athletic buildings on campus last evening, and there were a variety of tweens engaged in some sort of gym practice. I made my way to the restroom, and found myself alone in there with a twelve year old kid. I went to use the equipment, and found I was unable to unzip my zipper. This is not a frequent occurrence, and puzzled, I attempted to perform the requisite action again. And again. And again. I can only imagine how I appeared to the child, muttering, straining, and staring down at my shorts, desperately tugging away. After a few more failed attempts, I hung my head and left, a beaten man.

The zipper is still stuck. I had to shimmy out of my shorts last night.

This is the most embarrassing way to use a restroom.

*My sister is well known for her ability to take conversations from semi-uncomfortable to an entirely new level of cringe-inducement. This may be due to her being a doctor, and getting asked about very personal medical issues immediately upon meeting other people.


LRH said...

So you have a blog, eh? We can be friends now; we both write blogs that nobody reads. (hehe)

Julie said...

I really don't have problems in public restroom. Women have the anonymity of wall to wall stalls. It's the restrooms in other people's homes that make me nervous.