September 22, 2005

a rebuttal

According to a recent study 90% of women wash their hands after using the bathroom whereas only one in four men do. Over the past day or two, I've seen this study cited in numerous publications and newscasts and the headline is always the same: "Women are cleaner than men!"

Um, no they're not. Clearly they did not include corporate women in this study. Now I'm no fancy researcher or anything but I am a keen observer of people and I can say without hesitation that a lot of "professional" women are filthy bitches sorely lacking in basic manners and social skills.

The biggest offender of all was a former manager of mine. Not once did this woman wash her hands in my presence. In fact, on one occasion I saw her emerge from a bathroom stall EATING A PIECE OF PIZZA. I stared at her in disbelief but she was unfazed and just smiled, waved at me and kept on walking. No shame. No embarrassment. No soap and water. My coworker also saw her leaving the can with a half-eaten sandwich. Now, I admire those who can multi-task but there has to be a limit, you know?

Actually, there were several people at that job who had issues. Those of us who did wash our hands and you know, not eat lunch in the john, were forced to form a support network. We tipped each other off to the bad bathroom habits of our coworkers. We disseminated the information and maintained a stash of alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers in the event that we couldn't avoid direct contact with the guilty party or something he or she touched.

Those of us in-the-know abstained from eating the fruit salad at the holiday potluck when we discovered that a person guilty of the pee-and-run prepared it. It was all very, "Don't drink the milk! It's spoiled!" (Little Rascals, anyone? Anyone?)

Furthermore, Instant Messenger windows flared open on multiple desktops whenever a social taboo was spotted (i.e. "Don't touch the Fast Company in the common area. I just saw so-and-so come out of the bathroom with it!")

But gross bathroom behavior is not limited to hand washing and the defiling of shared periodicals. Far from it. I've worked in several different office buildings in my career and there's always one common element -- bombed-out stalls. Oh, and bad coffee too.

I've witnessed the same piss on the seats, clogged plumbing courtesy of tampons/pads, and the ubiquitous ring around the toilet comprised of half-dry, half-soggy toilet paper. I'm assuming these piles form when so-called "careful" bathroom users line the seat with TP before parking their asses on it. The result: Some of the paper "catches" after flushing and goes to its rightful destination. The rest either lingers on the seat or falls to the floor. While the culprits are trying to be all sanitary, all they're really doing is leaving a gross, disgusting mess for the next person. Since obviously it's their biggest fear, I cannot help but wish hemorrhoids on these people.

The pattern of piss on the toilet seats really blows my mind. Sometimes, it looks like the urine was deliberately and maliciously applied. The distribution is all scattered, swirling and angry-looking with pooling in certain areas. It looks like a fucking Pollock painting or something. For most of us, it's a toilet seat. For others, it's a blank canvas apparently.

If it's a light sprinkling concentrated in one area, that clearly means that the stream of pee became a tad unruly while the pisser was hovering over the bowl (as I do). An errant sprinkle of tinkle happens to us all. However, when normal people spot the misdirected flow, they reposition themselves accordingly. If not for the sake of the person who has to mop up at night, we do it for the sake of hygiene. Pee bounces, yo. Both porcelain and plastic are reflective surfaces and if you pee on them, they'll pee right back.

I could further belabor my point with examples of smells and people forgetting to courtesy flush (or just flush period) but it's all been said many times, many ways. In fact, I'll wrap this up right now with links to some suggested related reading:

:: The Sarcastic Journalist: If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle...
:: The Work Poop
:: Splatter Stopper
:: The Random Muse: Potty Politeness