Do not talk to me in the bathroom! (A teeny little bit TMI, maybe.)

I’m not referring to greetings at the sink, or a nod when we meet at the door. I’m not even talking about friends chatting while peeing. No, this was full-on public restroom taboo! Ick! Ick ick ick!

I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the public restroom, but the staff one is two levels down and I kinda wasn’t feeling so great, you know? Also, they just cleaned the public one and you know I can’t resist being the first one to use that certified clean toilet, with the seat up and the blue water and everything! (And before it smells like rotten strawberries - whoever you are, please stop bothering to cover up your smoke. Your perfume is nastier.)

So a total stranger follows me in. Maybe a patron I’ve helped once or twice; the point is, not a coworker, not somebody I know well. I pick my favorite stall, she picks the one next to me (weird, when there are others available and they’re all nice and clean, but not weird like next-urinal weird or anything). And then she says, “How ya doin’, ma’am?” Well, she isn’t talking to me.

Then she raps on the stall wall between us. “How ya doin’?”

Now, this is a public library. I’ve seen people washing their clothes in the toilets and bathing in the sinks. A coworker ran into a man peeing in the sink in the ladies’ room. A homeless woman once had a baby in this very bathroom. But I have never had somebody knock on the dividing wall to try and have a conversation with me! (I’ll note that, while I indeed wasn’t feeling so great, I hadn’t been in there more than a few seconds or made any noises that would make anybody wonder if I was okay. In case you were thinking she was just being nice.) I said, “uh… I’m good, thanks.” “That’s great!” Eek!

And she stays in there for ages. I don’t want to start my business because, well, I’m kind of uncomfortable about it now, and while I’m not one of those people who won’t crap in a public restroom if there’s somebody in there, well, I don’t know how this is going to sound, you know? (And now I’m kind of embarassed about posting this at all.) But she takes ages. She pees, and then she flushes, and then I don’t know what the hell she does, maybe files her nails or does her taxes or something. She finally leaves the stall, washes her hands, and then stands around talking to herself in the mirror! (Or maybe to me, but I’m pretending not to be there. Nobody here but us chickens!)

She natters on to herself for ages! Maybe she’s waiting for me to leave so she can take a bath in the sink and wash her clothes in the toilet? Maybe she’s the smoker who sprays the rotten strawberries? Maybe she comes from some weird alien culture where it’s rude not to leave with the one who brung you? Arrrrgh!

Finally, I do that thing where you flush the toilet and try to take care of your business under the cover of the flush noise. This woman’s presence has almost robbed me of the desire to go in the first place. And then I have to go out there and meet her at the sink, while she strikes up a conversation again! Jesus Christ!

So, am I completely neurotic to be so weirded out by it? It’s the knock on the stall wall that really got to me, I think. I seriously thought I had none of those weird restroom issues all those really neurotic Dopers have, you know? I’d been spending all this time feeling superior to people who only poop at home, or who really worry a lot about the appropriate usage of the courtesy flush, or who get all mad when somebody farts in a bathroom, but here I am with my own buried issues. Sigh.

Who does Number Two work for?

Count me among the folks who don’t like to carry on a conversation while doing my business. I just find it…odd. My own little quirk, but I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who feels this way.

I feel for ya. I haven’t had any conversations yet, but the building where I work employs about 90% women, so I feel like I never have the restroom to myself.

Agreed. Relieving myself is NOT a social event. At the sink a polite hello is OK. If you are a stranger then especially do not chat with me.

Oh my goodness! That would have freaked me out, and I have a 7-year-old, so I’m used to not having much privacy in the bathroom. However, there’s a huge difference between listening to my little girl go on while I’m doin’ my thing than having an exchange in a public freakin’ restroom with a virtual stranger!!

You know, I don’t have many bathroom issues. I don’t mind pooping in public if I have to, I understand that it’s a bathroom and quite likely to smell of shit, not many hang-ups. But you know – I cannot even stand for my own family to talk to me while I am using the bathroom. Seriously, people, why the hell would you want to carry on a conversation with someone on the toilet?!?! I feel for you! I have been known to tell cow orkers “look, I’m not trying to be rude, I am trying to eliminate, IM me about this when I am back at my desk, please.” Our COO got that line once and laughed herself silly. She messaged me later and apologised but said it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard. Meh.

I wouldn’t find you neurotic. If someone knocked on the stall wall and tried to strike up a conversation with me, I think it would instantly turn my bowels to hardened spackle and that would be it. I’d have to leave the bathroom and return half an hour later to talk myself down, as it were.

Good example of Bathroom Shame. It really is uncommon to meet someone that has none, but you did.

OMG, that would freak me out! What a weirdo. I tend to try to wait out the other person, too. I don’t want anyone to hear me make icky noises. I do the courtesy flush thing to cover sounds, too.


I’ve worked with the same group of females RNs for 6 years and there are very few boundries left—they’ll follow you in the ladies room just to chat while you go about your business. I can pee whenever I have to and am not shy about my noises.
That said, I would be creeped out by a stranger insisting on socializing through a public bathroom stall wall! Let’s at least *pretend * we’re giving others a bit of privacy to do what they have to do!

I can just imagine what would have happened if you ignored her. A little shuffling noise, and her head sliding underneath the stall wall like a mechanic checking out an undercarriage. “Where I come from it’s rude to not answer when spoken to!” “I love your shoes though. You know I once had a friend that…” This would continue until you would be forced to kick her in the face.

I am so putting that in my screenplay.

For some reason I’m now seeing Chuck McCann’s “Hi, guy!” deodorant commercials in my mind’s eye…

I know, I definitely had to respond to her after she knocked on the stall wall, because what would be her next move?!

For you, if you have been eating your fiber.

Zsofia, you should have waited to see what would be her next move. Peek under the partition? Pass you a note? Speak in tongues? That was worth the awkwardness, right there.

This reminds me of the Flash animation where-in men talking to each other in the bathroom led to Armageddon. I wish I could find it ><

Not only is there no talking in the bathroom except for emergency re-supply requests, but there is not talking about talking in the bathroom.

Tinkle, tinkle little wee,
I can’t pee in company.
The cubicle is not the place,
To discuss the human race.
Tinkle, tinkle little wee,
I can’t pee in company.