In which I provide too much information

IMG_1907I would like to complain about an aspect of my job, if you don’t mind.

I have certain issues with public bathrooms.  For example, I do not understand how anyone can talk to anyone else while… uh… performing in a stall.  It is literally the creepiest thing ever when people try to talk to me when I’m in a stall– particularly if they begin the conversation by making it clear that they don’t actually know who it is in there.  This is the one way in which I will declare as a broad statement that I don’t understand women; my understanding is that it’s a social hall in there and y’all go to the bathroom in packs.  Sometimes there are couches in your bathrooms?  Is this true?  I don’t get it.  It’s weird and y’all should stop being weird.

My dislike of communication in the bathroom extends to basically creating any sounds of any kind, honestly.  My preferred pooing atmosphere, if you will, is in a completely empty (other than the stall, which should be lockable even though there’s only one) and entirely soundproofed room.  I don’t mind people theoretically being able to hear me pee, but damn if my nethers don’t clamp up involuntarily upon someone else entering the bathroom.  I have to force myself to continue taking care of business if I know someone else is in there, even if that person is in another stall and actively making the noises that I’m trying not to make.

Yes, I know.  I’m messed up.  I admit it.

There are two adult bathrooms at my new place of business.  One of them is a one-seater and is effectively a private men’s room for the office.  That bathroom has two problems:  1) it is directly outside the principal’s office and 2) I am one of only three men who might ever use it, and one of the other two is frequently not in the office, so not only is there a theoretical chance that my boss might hear me in there but if I power bomb the place everyone is going to know it was me.  This cannot stand.

Allow me to continue.  The picture attached to this post is of the two stalls in the other staff men’s room in my building.  Take a look at it for a moment and see if you can see the problem.

Yes?  No?

Okay, let’s be more specific: look at how tall the doors are, and then look at how tall the partition between the stalls is.

I am five feet ten inches tall.  That puts me at just about exactly the average height for a white American male my age.  When I am standing up, which I will be doing when, uh, completing the process of the… uh… process, my entire head is above that partition.  And if there happens to be another man in the stall next to me, and that man finishes at the same time I do, we can look at each other and make eye contact.

There is nothing more horrifying in the entire universe, except for the possibility of an exceptionally tall person (they’d need about six to eight inches on me, I estimate) walking into that stall, because that person would be tall enough to see me just by looking down.  And that would cause horror enough to kill me on the spot and force me to haunt the bathroom for the rest of eternity.

There is nowhere safe to poo in this building.  I need to either massively adjust my diet or get a new job.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

10 thoughts on “In which I provide too much information

  1. I am so neurotic in public bathrooms that I will flush the toilet the moment I hear someone enter the room no matter what stage of “evacuation” I am in, just so they don’t walk in on me in my stall. I think I may need help.


  2. In college so every bathroom is a public bathroom…you just learn to poo at 2:00 am. Totally agree on the talking, unless you know the guy and you’re washing your hands there is no discourse during defecation. Ever.


  3. I completely agree with every word of this, and I’m a female… Especially the part about forcing yourself to continue your business if someone walks in. Makes me hate life. And pooing. I hate public bathrooms in general, they’re just gross.


  4. The strangest thing I’ve heard when using a urinal (located across from the stalls): “You get your paycheck, little bitch?” It turns out the person in the stall was on the phone while taking care of…business. Considering the fact that I didn’t even notice the pair of legs when I walked into the bathroom, it made the remainder of my stay in the men’s lavatory quite awkward.

    You’re not alone in your feelings about bathrooms. Solidarity!


  5. Hey, you’re not alone. I have issues about peeing if people can hear! At least most of us poo less times a day!! And there are lots of people out there that have issues with elimination processes in public places!! I read an article in one of the Sunday papers here in Melbourne about a guy who was bladder shy – it’s a condition called paruresis. And I think these issues are particularly difficult in the States with those stalls – like the ones you describe that are open at the top and bottom. In Japan they have toilets that have all sorts of functions including noise-cancelling – you could emigrate?!! Just joking.


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