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bathroom

I've just come out of my workplace bathroom. While in there, I checked my hair, urinated, and washed my hands. During all of this, a gentleman in one of the stalls was making some disturbing sounds. First, he'd grunt - loud and long, like those tortoises we saw having sex at the Reptile Gardens in South Dakota when I was in Jr. High, which my mom quickly ushered us past. Then he'd make a sharp, throat-clearing sound - Ack! A tiny "plop" would follow, and then a deep, deep sigh. Then it would start all over.

Now, far be it from me to chastise this guy overmuch. After all, bathroom difficulties are among the worst of personal ailments, and this guy clearly had some difficulties. And, the men's room should be a place where noises, smells and other things society frowns upon (are you listening, George Michael?) should be somewhat excused. Still, this is a workplace bathroom, and at times, as many as five or six guys may be using the facilities at once. While you should not be expected to conform to the strict rules of polite society while in the john, it occurs to me that many men throw all sense of civilization aside as they enter the restroom, reverting to the hidden animal awareness that exists deep within every man, and on the surface of apes and Billy Bob Thornton.

So, I feel that it might be time to create a sort of "bathroom guidelines" for guys, much like the rules posted on the wall at my gym - not too intrusive, but just strict enough to protect everyone from the dangers of flying feces. I expect these will soon be taught in public and private schools nationwide. Except, of course, in Montana.

  1. Peeing on the wall is not acceptable. I know, this is a classic guy move - just whip it out and go. This is also why most men's rooms stink. Seriously, guys - take the extra second to aim. I think you'll be pleased with the results.
  2. Please refrain from loud grunting or other loud, unnecessary noise. It distracts others who might be trying to resolve their own gastrointestinal difficulties more quietly.
  3. If, during the course of a difficult session, your feces or urine ends up in places other than the toilet bowl proper (meaning, in the bowl, not on the sides or back), please clean up after yourself. While you may not relish touching your own poop, even through a paper barrier, imagine how little the next guy will enjoy it, especially if he does not notice at first. Plus, see the "stink" part of #1.
  4. Please, do not dispose of newspapers, styrofoam cups, candybar wrappers, or any other foreign material in the urinals. They create unnecessary urinary splatter, resulting both in soiled walls and floors (see #1), and often in soiled clothing. And, once so deposited, no one in their right mind will be willing to fish them out, unless paid to do so.
  5. A sink and a urinal are not interchangeable, no matter how long the line, or how short the allotted bathroom break time. You can hold it.
  6. A garbage can and a urinal are not interchangeable. See #5.
  7. If masturbation must be carried out, please use a stall with a locking door, and see #2.
  8. Finally, if, upon leaving the stall area, the comment "boy, I just lost 10 pounds" is greeted only by blank stares, quickly wash hands and walk away. Do not look back.

end of essay
David Nett Portrait David is an actor, writer and producer in Los Angeles. He's the founder and editor-in-chief of CSP, and a founding producer of the acclaimed Lucid by Proxy theater company. Despite all this, he still has to hold down a day job in the dot-com world, where he does product and interaction design. His acting has been called "committed," "detailed," "fearless," "hilarious" and "heart-rending" by the LA Times and Backstage West. His writing has been called "articulate and commanding" and "eminently readable" by Flak Magazine. His tenth grade Geometry teacher said he "does not work well in groups." | more essays by David
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