Monday, July 06, 2009

A Bathroom Rant

July 6, 2009

(If this is your first time at my blog, I'm sorry. They aren't all like this, I promise. If you are a repeat reader, y'all know a girl's gotta rant sometimes. Welcome back!)

You never really appreciate your own bathroom until you've used someone else's. Or more specifically, a public bathroom.

As we traveled a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by several details that were thoughtfully added or were mysteriously absent in public facilities. (When traveling with a 6 year old boy who is on the Great North American Bathroom Tour, you see a LOT of bathrooms.) This is my somewhat comprehensive list of what I saw:

1. Door Locks--These should be mandatory. Strangely, they were conspicuously absent from many stalls I visited. Mall/restaurant/gas station owners--I besiege you. Do NOT neglect to replace these if they break or fall off. It is no fun to "hover" above a toilet (And there went most of my guy readership...) and try to hold the door shut simultaneously. I think I may have permanently injured a muscle I didn't know I had.

Duct tape is never an acceptable medium for locking a door. I wish I didn't have to type that.

Also, the door locks that stick need to be replaced. You know you've been there. That split-second feeling of panic when you turn left, then right, then left again...and it won't open. The thought goes through your head, "I'm going to have to crawl under." And if you are like me, you'd rather die than touch a public bathroom floor. Just fix them.

2. Toilet Paper Dispensers--Look, we all know that you've got to have toilet paper in a stall. That's not even up for discussion. The problem I have is when you need to obtain paper from one of those stingy dispensers. You go to roll some off, and it gives you 1.5 sheets. I'm not Sheryl Crow. I'm gonna use me some tp, okay? We are all better off for everyone using more toilet paper. (Sorry, trees.)

Anyhow, I hate it when I need the paper and have to fight with the dispenser for 5 minutes to get 6 squares. I mean, by then, my calves and thigh muscles are pretty much shot from the hovering (And there went the last guy that thought it was safe to hang around). I can't stay in there holding the door shut with my other hand much longer, people!

3. Hand Dryers--As a germaphobe of a very high degree, I appreciate the concept of hand dryers. I still would rather have a paper towel to open the door with when I exit, so I don't have to touch the handle after Nasty Nellie just walked out without washing. (I DIE!) My problem with the hand dryers comes in the form of the jet-engine powered dryers. They look all practical and innocent hanging over there on the wall under the "Employees Must Wash Hands" sign. You walk up, unsuspecting, and present your dripping hands to be gently dried. All of a sudden, you realize you are not in a bathroom--you are standing behind a jet that is, at present, taking off! Look out! It blows your flesh backwards off your hands into little rolled-up windblown dunes on your wrists. The sound alone is enough to cause an 8 year old girl to go running out of the bathroom screaming. (Of course she touches the Nasty Nellie fouled door handle on the way out. Sigh.)

4. Super nice restrooms are rare--I was in the Dillard's at Pier Park in Panama City, FL when the extra-large bottle of water kicked in. I walked in the bathroom and did a double-take. Surely, I had walked into the president of the company's facility! I was surrounded by granite counters, clean tile floors, and opulent fixtures. A nice public restroom? What an oxymoron!

5. Stall cracks--That just sounds wrong. Again, for the nice people who "maintain" (such a strong word) public facilities, please consider the width of the cracks between the stall wall and the door. If I can, from my hovering position, glance up and see somebody full-on looking back at me (without their face at the precipice of the door, mind you), please, please do something about this issue.

Duct tape could be useful here.

And y'all? Don't look through the door cracks. That's not cool. It's one thing to see if there's somebody in the stall, but it's a whole other deal when you try to figure out if you went to elementary school together.

6. Door signs--Always a good thing to have the doors clearly labeled to prevent any confusion about who goes where...I'm all about that. I agree that printing the signs in Braille is also a fine idea. BUT, when you computer-print a paper sign that says "Men" or "Women" with the paper-printed Braille underneath and laminated, then you are nominated for FAIL of the Year. I'm just sayin'.

7. Don't GO there!--Okay, I gotta ask. Is there a secret society of icky people that go around doing their thing in the potty and leaving it without flushing? I mean, I go in a big bathroom with 10 stalls. I pick the 4th one from the door. I open the door and draw back in horror at what "surprise" awaited me, unflushed. I quickly make my way to the 6th door (because there's no way I'm going in there and flushing that, and the 3rd and 5th doors are too close to what's in there!), and it seems as though that person might have gone stall-hopping in their pursuit to make me die from a germaphobe inflicted heart attack. What's up, y'all? Flush it!!!

What have you seen? Good or bad, I can take it. (As long as I don't have to touch it, it's all good.)

p.s. I added this to a blog carnival at Weight..What?: Check it out!

14 delightful comments:

Derek said...

So funny. And yet so true!

Walking on Sunshine... said...

Okay, this was hysterical! I saw it earlier on Facebook, but it took me all day to get here to read it!! I agree with everything! Especially about the wall cracks. What's up with that?? And the toilet paper is another thing that bothers me. Why can't you just pull it and it comes?? I hate when I'm trying so hard to get it and all you can get is a sheet! And yes, please, please, please everyone flush the toilet when you're done and please neat and wipe the seat if you know what happens!! I hate wiping up after my own flesh and blood. Don't want to do it for a stranger!!! Great post!

Wendy said...

I, too, have a long list of public restroom rants. They're just bad, aren't they? But I'll share with you my biggie: The truck stop restroom that has the loop of fabric to dry your hands on instead of paper towels or a dryer. Um, eww.

Helen said...

My own personal problem is that I am claustrophobic. Most stalls are too small for me to be in without hyperventilating (and who wants to keep breathing in in a Public washroom?). I will use the handicapped washroom, but feel guilty. Is claustrophobia a handicap which justly allows me to use the handicapped stall (which always seem better maintained as well)? Or am I being selfish?

Busy Mom in NJ said...

Oh my goodness -- too funny! You have me cracking up. I can so relate to this. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Rachel said...


I have heard from friends that have worked in retail establishments that it is not a rare thing for someone to. . . umm. . . do their business in a DRESSING ROOM. Apparently this is some sort of thrill? I don't know. But that beats all levels of nastiness ever.

If you ever head towards a dressing room and there's a sign up that says "Out of Order", don't ask yourself, "How can a dressing room be out of order?!?!" and barge on in. What you find might be so repulsive that it would make you kiss the next public restroom toilet in gratefulness for it's presence.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

This post was rantalicious! I think you should be known in AL as the potty blogger. No?

Seriously, this was really funny.

Even if you represent one of MY pet peeves: HOVERERS.

Technically, hoverers who don't have the courtesy to also AIM WELL. Or at least clean up after themselves. I'm sure you're not one of THOSE people. ;)

Oh! And every hand dryer I came across in the UK was one of those jet engine ones. "It blows your flesh backwards off your hands into little rolled-up windblown dunes on your wrists." And the older the flesh, the more likely it is to also form surf-worthy waves on the back of your hands. Or so I'm told.

Rachel said...


So, about the names...I would say that's totally random...however, mine and my husbands names are super common! With the last name Robinson, I have people ask me a lot if I'm related to so-and-so, and I'm thinking "do you know how common Robinson is!" Haha!

Are you going to Rachel's lunch Friday?

Wendi said...

This is very funny. And I think you could somehow turn this into a job and/or a book. "The Potty Patrol"...think about it. :)

Billy Coffey said...

Hovering? REALLY?

I'm so glad I'm a guy. And yes, I'll come back anyway.

Alabama Redhead said...

Wonderful, wonderful rant! The crowd goes wild!!

What I hate, stall doors that open inward, but the a-hole who created the bathroom left JUST enough room for someone to stand between the toilet and the opening door...there is no way I'm touching the side of a toilet with my leg!

I also hate cutsey restaraunts they label the bathroom doors as "banditos/banditas" or "Chillis/Tostadas" What am I??? A tostada??? Ergh!

Anonymous said...

that is the grossest when someone doesn't flush. seriously disgusting.

Wade's World said...

I loathe those stingy toilet paper dispensers. How aggrivating!!!

And stall cracks should be banned. Our Dillards has amazingly clean bathrooms that have actual doors on them so no-one can peek in. I love it!

Wade's World said...

I loathe those stingy toilet paper dispensers. How aggrivating!!!

And stall cracks should be banned. Our Dillards has amazingly clean bathrooms that have actual doors on them so no-one can peek in. I love it!