Longbored Surfer

2005.04.25 Men's Restroom Etiquette

In a collaborative effort, a good friend of mine and I have created some guidelines for those of you who might not have clued in on the social hints of what is and is not acceptable in the Men's Restroom. This should be known, from now until we notify you otherwise, to be official. Please abide by it, or start doing your business elsewhere. There are trees outside of most buildings.

This is also a work in progress, so some holes are inevitable for a while. This is what we have so far:


  • No talking
  • If somebody does choose to violate this rule, a response is acceptable. We're not talking about full on conversation, discussing the in's and out's of last night's game, but a polite acknowledgement of the other person is acceptable, maybe with a "Hey", or "What's up", or the general head nod.
  • A common misconception is the continuation of conversations started prior to entering the men's restroom. Sorry guys, but you need to stop that conversation when you get in here.
  • If an unusual activity is being performed (say for example, you are close to the mirror, and your face is peeling, and you're picking at it), it is appropriate to speak briefly to explain your activity, so as to not draw excess and undesired attention.
  • I've seen an activity of late, about which I haven't formed a guideline. This is the practice of talking in the bathroom the people who are in no way involved with using the urinal or toilet (in other words, just in the sink area or near the door). Though not entirely weird, this concept goes contrary to those stated above.
  • The other officiator of this document and I have come to the conclusion that consensual talking is accepted, as along as all parties present agree.


  • No touching
  • There is no exception to this rule in any fashion.
  • The ONLY possible way that it might be an exception is people possibly running into each other at the entrance, out of pure accident.

Coat Rack / Bringing things into the Restroom

We've seen lots of different approaches on this one. As with so many of these rules, it's not so much as to follow the rule word for word, but to understand the meaning behind it, and follow that.

  • Bringing things into the restroom is acceptable, given that the object fits onto the coat rack, or onto the small area for things brought into the restroom.
  • Bringing a change of clothes into the restroom is acceptable
  • Bringing oversized objects into the restroom is not acceptable. Please leave them outside and collect them upon exiting.
  • Do not hold onto objects anywhere near the splash zone if that object might come in contact with a public surface outside of the restroom.
  • Despite popular belief, holding your stuff with hand, and holding your other stuff with your other hand is not acceptable.
  • Pinning things under the armpit IS acceptable, given that you're not seriously vertically challenged, causing armpit-held objects to be in the splash zone.
  • Food is generally not accepted, however… if you've got your stuff in a bag, and you brought the bag in, and put in on the little area, that's fine. We're talking about bringing in a half-eaten burger, that you put down in between bites to do your business (or an open bowl of cereal).
  • Drinks are acceptable. I've heard some far-fetched ideas about how fart gas might get into the straw, and contaminate the thing, but seriously… if I'm going into the restroom, and I'm breathing the stuff solid for X minutes… should I really be THAT concerned about a tiny little straw, or opening to a can of soda? Keep smokin'.

With these last two rules, we're really talking about a fine ratio of exposed surface area to total volume. Use some common sense here people. Don't make me spell it out for you.

There is a Seinfeld episode (#173) where George takes a book (while at the bookstore) into the restroom to read while doing his business. This is acceptable only because that book then becomes property of the restroom. It is no longer acceptable for that object to be used/handled by others outside of the restroom.

Toilet Seat Cover/Protectors

  • Although pathetic that this section needs to be written, this is an attempt at being thorough. We've heard these things called Seat Protectors/Covers, as well as Head Gaskets. That last name is a little less known, but still there. The rules on these things are simple.
  • Use one whenever you're going to sit down. The last thing we need is somebody's infected butt on a public surface.
  • Yes, the things are perforated, and you should indeed tear along the perforation
  • If you're quick enough to notice the perforation, you should also know that the cover is generally in the shape of the toilet and the seat. The cover should be put on the seat in the same general fashion as the shape of the surface. This isn't brain surgery.

Eye Contact, and the movement thereof:

  • You watch what you're doing, I'll watch what I'm doing. I don't need any help, thanks for not offering. It is acceptable to make brief eye contact, but only for the purpose of saying mentally "I see you there, you see me here, glad that we've made this acknowledgement, we'll talk later."
  • We're all human, and our eyes might wander, to some extent. Granted, of most places, this is the place to allow your eyes to wander the least. With that in mind, if something is accidentally seen, which might or might not be less than pleasing to the eye, it is your responsibility to look away immediately.

The Sink Area

Let's be honest here, not everybody does this the same, so if you want to really protect yourself you have to do things a certain way. You've just stepped away from an area where you were doing your business, and now you have to go and wash off. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but water ALONE does NOT actually do much of anything. If you want to wash your hands, you need to use soap. Hot water would also be a nice addition. People who actually wash their hands have two approaches to this area (and it can change slightly depending on the surroundings):

Semi-Freak Method

  1. Dispense small amount of paper towel.
  2. Turn on water with hands.
  3. Wash hands with soap, scalding water.
  4. Tear off pre-dispensed towel, and use to turn off water.
  5. Use this same pre-dispense towel to dispense more towel.
  6. Avoid contact with at almost any length, use the paper towel to do everything.
  7. Tear off newly-dispensed paper towel with hand.
  8. Dispose of originally dispensed towel in waste basket.
  9. Use newly-dispensed paper towel to dry hands.
  10. Retain paper towel.
  11. Use paper towel to hold on to door handle to leave.
  12. Dispose of paper towel in trash can right by the door.

(one might notice that this is a 12 step process… probably not out of coincidence)

Normalish Method

  1. Turn on water with hands.
  2. Wash hands with soap.
  3. Dispense towel and tear it off.
  4. Use towel to dry hands.
  5. Retain paper towel.
  6. Use paper towel to hold on to door handle to leave.
  7. Dispose of paper towel in trash can right by the door.

Pointless Method

  1. Turn on water with hands
  2. Dip hands in water.
  3. Dispense towel and tear it off.
  4. Use towel to dry hands.
  5. Dispose of paper towel.

Disgusting Method

(this space intentionally left blank… I mean these guys don't even do anything… they zip up, and walk out, and the rest of us are wanting the whole world to know just how disgusting they are… but you can't ever tell anyone)

Disposal of Items in Various Places

If you've never been told, the places where you stand to urine is called a urinal, not a guminal, or a sunflowerseedinal. Most urinals have the little protective covers on there so you can't throw things down the drain. They might also have a little sanitizer/freshener thingie in there too. Hear ye, hear ye:

  • Gum (or any other food type substance) should NOT be put in the urinal. It never flushes down (unless it's one of those power flushers without the plastic cover)
  • Spitting is indeed permitted in the urinal. If you're sick and going to barf up a lung, maybe the toilet would be a better place for that.
  • It is called a urinal because the primary purpose of the device is to dispose of… urine, so please limit your activities to just that.

Activities while actually using the facilities

  • This isn't rocket science folks.
  • Singing is not permitted.
  • Whistling is not permitted.
  • Talking to yourself is not permitted.
  • Reading something in one hand while being occupied elsewhere is not permitted.
  • I understand that some people need to do a bit of shaking at the beginning, ending or both, and that's just fine.
  • I understand that other rules have discussed other activities that are permitted in general, or by consent of all parties, and those rules carry over here.

Coming attractions:

  • Stall Placement
  • Urinal Placement
  • What to do in a certain situation

General Exceptions to any Rule

Medical Emergencies

Tag(s): soap_box

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