Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on May 19th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 16, Issue 11

Etiquette du toilet


The men’s restroom has rules. These are strict procedures not to be broken under any circumstances, even if there is a fire. There are certain things men do not do in the restroom, things like talk.

Rule No. 1: There is no talking in the men’s room, even amongst friends, and certainly not with strangers. The men’s room is a very quiet place. The only thing you will hear in a men’s room is a toilet flushing, a sink running, and the sound of the paper towel dispenser. You will not hear any conversations whatsoever. There is no, “Hey Bill! How about those San Francisco Giants?” You won’t hear it because there simply is no speaking allowed. Even if two men who were separated by war and were best friends in high school just saw each other inside a restroom for the first time in two years, they would not acknowledge each other’s existence until each of them walked outside of the restroom. Then, at that moment, safe from the confines of the silent bathroom, the two men act surprised and say, “Hey, great to see you!”

Without the comforts of speech, men communicate inside the restroom using caveman gestures. If one man wants access to the paper towel dispenser and another man is in the way, the man who wants a paper towel will just hold his wet hands out in front of him and sort of slowly stutter steps toward the paper towel dispenser like a soggy-handed Frankenstein. The other man will recognize the gesture and move out of the way without speaking. No words will be uttered.

That leads me to Rule No. 2: No high fives. Men should never touch one another in the men’s room, even if it is to celebrate an achievement of grand proportions or blind luck, “The blood test came back; it’s not my baby!”

Another strict men’s room rule is which urinal to stand in front of. Rule No. 3: Urinal safety cushion. If there are three urinals to utilize and a man walks into a restroom, he has an important decision to make. If the far left urinal is already occupied then the new person arriving absolutely shall only use the far right urinal, leaving an empty urinal in between the two men. There is no scenario where a man would stand in the center urinal directly next to the man who was already occupying the left side urinal. That would be bedlam. There absolutely needs to be a urinal safety cushion at all times. Nobody wants to be accused of being a Peter peeker.

This safety cushion rule applies no matter how many urinals are available. If someone was to walk into a ballpark restroom where there are 30 urinals along the wall and a single man was occupying the far left urinal by himself, then a minimum of 28 urinals should be between the new arrival and the existing urinator. If a third man was to arrive, he shall place himself in the direct middle, leaving as many urinals as possible between the men on either side of himself. The only time this rule can ever be overridden is if a bathroom is at maximum capacity. Every urinal must be occupied before the safety cushion can be dismissed. During this moment, it is crucial that no head movement is made while standing alongside another man at a urinal. You must look forward, directly at a blank wall, and stare at that wall as if it was the most interesting thing you have ever seen in your life. Never look to the side.

A men’s restroom in the workplace has additional rules. Rule No. 4: Never get caught coming out of a stall. Men will not admit they use a sit-down toilet at work. If one employee is sitting in the stall using the toilet and another employee walks in to use the urinal, the employee on the toilet will sit still, remain quiet, and will not make a sound or leave the stall until the person who was using the urinal has safely left the restroom. Even if the person on the toilet has taken care of business and he was about to leave, he will wait, no matter how long, until the other person is gone. I’ve personally waited 15 minutes—to the point where my feet fell asleep. Luckily for me, someone invented Angry Birds to pass the time. A man will not emerge from the toilet stall while another person is at the urinal. It simply isn’t done.

Girls/women have their own bathroom rules, but they are completely different (in most cases opposite) from the men’s rules. Women break rule No. 1 all the time; they talk constantly in the bathroom, even with total strangers. Rule No. 3 doesn’t apply to women because they don’t have urinals. Ladies, if you ever find a urinal in the women’s restroom, that’s a clue, you are actually in the men’s room. Rule No. 4 doesn’t apply because ladies have to come out of the stalls in front of each other or nothing would get done. According to my wife, whom I love, the only real women’s bathroom rule is not to take mirror space away from another woman. Mirror space is sacred, and it is first come, first serve.

 Important notice: Bathroom etiquette and rules of gentlemen behavior are not in play at bars, concerts, or billiards rooms. At these establishments there are no rules, and often, the original design of bathroom appliances are ignored. Sadly, in a crowded men’s room at bars, the sink becomes an additional urinal. Yes, we are a disgusting gender and now ladies, you know why we actually choose not to wash our hands.


Rob follows all of the official men’s bathroom rules of etiquette in public around strangers, however at home he breaks every single one of them around his family. If you enjoy Rob’s storytelling check out his novel Cadet Blues available on

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Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

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