Restroom Etiquette and Genders

I am an adult male and when I am in a public restroom I am well aware that men do not talk to each other. I will, on rare occasions, talk to a friend that goes into the restroom with me, but never while in a stall and very rarely at the urinal, and this is only after many drinks. In fact, for men, eye contact is pretty much only given at the sinks.

At a restaurant the other night, my wife went into the ladies room and came out with a new friend, a complete stranger. She always takes a long time in the restroom, but now that I know she is chatting it up with everyone this all makes sense.

I can’t imagine making a “new friend” in the mens room.

Larry Craig can.

I’ve always believed the only acceptable conversation in a men’s room is commenting “The water’s cold” when you’re at the urinal. Followed by the standard reply.

Male restroom etiquette is serious business. (Video)

Do men use the stalls as their own personal phone booth? At work, I can’t seem to walk into the women’s restroom without someone being in there talking on a cell phone. I mean, what are you supposed to do if you have to make an embarrassing loud noise? Do you hold it or just let her rip?

I don’t think that would happen. I mean, unless you’re a senator with a wide stance, I suppose. But otherwise, any attempt to make friends in a men’s bathroom is more likely to introduce your eye to someone’s fist. Or at least earn you dirty looks that pretty much guarantee he doesn’t want to be your friend. Men’s bathrooms are for doin’ your business and getting the hell out. Keep fraternization to a minimum, and then only with someone you went in there with, and then only if it’s A) important, or B) something you can’t say in front of the women you came in with and this is the only way you can get time away from them to do so. Eye contact is definitely a no-no. Every male patron of public washrooms is intimately familiar with the plumbing of their urinal and tile grout of every bathroom of every place they’ve ever been to.

Men don’t talk on the phone in a bathroom. It just isn’t done.

High-class joints I know post the day’s sports pages above the urinals.

Lucky. Women talk to everybody in the bathroom. I mean, I was in the bathroom one day, doing my business, when my boss comes in yelling my name. She said, “Can I talk to you for a minute while you tinkle?” I mean, damn.

There must be a very different mindset at work with how women consider bodily functions or something. For men, bathrooms are solemn places of solitude regardless of how many other people are in there with you. In fact, the more people there are, the more we try and avoid drawing attention to ourselves and the more we just want to finish up and get out. We even have a term for men who break the Code of Silence: Bathroom Talkers. It is never used in a positive context.

What I never understood is the huge divergence in privacy between the sexes. Here we have women who are more capable of being social, they are afforded walls and usually doors on the stalls.

Whereas men, typically unsocial, not only have no walls between urinals from time to time, but even large troughs to piss in. I’ll never understand it. Even at my office, no walls in-between the urinals.

I was at a place where they had a long horizontal window above the urinal trough, around eye level so when you were taking a leak you could look out at the other customers while all they could see was mirror. I thought it was clever.

We all need to have walls. Everyone needs to respect the walls. And cell phones should not be allowed unless it’s an emergency.

and no talking except for emergencies, well until you’re at the sink. I can’t stand it when someone talks to me from another stall.

I really prefer not to socialize in the ladies’ room. I mean, if I’m at home, and my 9YO follows me in, chattering away the whole time, that’s one thing. She’s my kid. (Actually, aside from school hours, I’ve been raising kids for 22 and a half years now; I’ve had a lot of bathroom conversations with little girls!) But in a public restroom? Uh, no. And as for the cell phone thing, well, I guess if I was in a public rest room and my cell phone rang and I had reason to believe it was important (like if it’s the babysitter or something), I guess I’d answer it. But to sit in a public stall and make a phone call? Tacky! And I say that as a West Virginian! :smiley:

See, that’s pretty much my view on it, too, and I’m a female. If a friend and I are having a conversation, we may continue talking when we get into the bathroom, but it stops when we enter the stalls. I have on rare occasions talked to strangers at the sink. Once at a restaurant, a woman was trying to put her hair up, and her hair tie broke, so I lent her mine. But I can’t fathom making friends with someone in that situation, either.

Would that this were true. I’ve gotten toilet calls, and they’ve only ever been from men.

I think it’s because there’s a stall. It adds an extra layer of privacy, thus making the sink area more public. Even women who chat by the sink generally shut up in the stall. We have Bathroom Talkers, too, but to me, it refers specifically to someone who talks when they or the person they’re talking to is in a stall. And it’s a bad, bad thing.

That is just freaky. So was the chick I lived in a co-op with in college. We were chatting, and I said I had to go to the bathroom. She said, “That’s cool” - and came into the bathroom with me. This was in a house, mind you, so there was no stall - just a toilet, a sink, and a shower. The worst part was, I had to poop, but I was not about to tell her that. So I had to make myself pee, leave the bathroom, and finish the conversation with her as quickly as possible so I could go to another bathroom and poop. In retrospect, I should have just pooped in front of her.

But the point is, that’s nuts, and in my experience, women who talk in the stalls (other than to ask for toilet paper or a tampon) are blessedly rare.

As a woman (and thus not having to deal with urinal etiquette and the uncomfortableness about talking there), I’m OK with chatter as long as none of those involved are in a stall while it’s going on. I wouldn’t engage in long, drawn-out conversations unless you’re stuck in there for an extended time - say, a terribly long line at some event or other busy location. However, once you’re in the stall and thus down to business, that’s quiet time. I don’t want anyone talking to me when I’m in a stall, and I don’t want anyone in a stall expecting me to converse with them.

I do run into women who seem to think of the public restroom as a combined toilet and phone booth, which is just astounding. Even if they aren’t making any unfortunate noises, there’s the characteristic echo, not to mention background flushing and so forth from anyone else.

A family I knew who lived on a farm in Northern Wisconsin had a windsor chair in their bathroom so whoever was pooping could be kept company by another family member. WTF.

Yup. I mean, it’s a normal bodily function, right? I mean, the first thing I want to do if someone is on the cell phone is flush, but that wastes water. I refuse to hold back just because someone else is using the bathroom for their own nefarious purposes. :smiley:

Actually, there’s an exception – not an accepted one, just one that happens enough not to be uncommon, and that is if the caller (or the called) is on the can at home. Because some guys still technically figure they’re alone and private on the can at home so some don’t find issue with making a call whilst there. I still don’t like it and don’t do it myself, but it’s not regarded as quite the same taboo. I’ve never come across cell callers in a public bathroom stall though.

Stalls or urinals either one for men. Essentially, if the willy is waggin’, the tongue shouldn’t be. Urinals, as I say, have certain exceptions among friends and an important topic of conversation or fleeting moment of privacy, but on the whole the rules are observed whenever anything below the waist is exposed.