Urinal Etiquette


Ando’s Note: Ladies, you may want to skip this one. Of course now that I’ve said that, you’ll only want to read it all the more. Proceed at your own risk.

I was at the Giants game the other night and the time came for me to use the facilities. Being a newer ballpark, AT&T Park has the latest in men’s room amenities. At a baseball stadium this pretty much means they’ve done away with the trough. And no ones complaining about that. Along the back wall of the rest room is a row of about 30 gleaming white urinals. The good kind that offer as much privacy in a public men’s room as one can have. The quantity is important because the more toliets, the less wait, at least in theory. I am a notoriously bad line picker. Doesn’t matter where, I am just not good at it. The grocery store, a restaurant, the DMV, anywhere. Even the ballpark restroom. At an Angels game once, I got in a pretty short line, but the guy in front of me must have had about 19 beers. He was there for a minute, and that’s not much of an exageration. My dad and I kept exchanging looks of disbelief. When he finished I didn’t know if I be appalled or if I should applaud?

At the Giants game the other night, it was no different. All those urinals, so there’s never more than one guy in front of you, but of course I got behind the camel that hadn’t peed since early May. The line next to me, five guys came and went before I got my turn. Typical.

But all this is to say that it got me thinking about proper rest room etiquette. There are a few simple rules that must be followed when entering into the public rest room arena. Most of them are common sense, but I feel it is important to go over them together. This is only for your benefit.

Rule #1
Ensure that there is always at least on urinal between you and any other users. Exceptions can be made for after sporting events and, to a lesser extent, long movies. But if there’s just a few guys and plenty of extra urinals and you sidle up right next to some dude, you better watch out. You may wake up in a stall three days later with a urnial cake in your mouth.

Rule #2
If there are not enough available urinals to satisfy Rule #1 and it is not a post-sporting event situation, use a stall. If all the stalls are full, leave. You may come back later or hold it until you get home.

Rule # 3
Always keep your eyes straight ahead or straight down. This is really a no brainer. Never, under any circumstances glance to either direction. I think the reasons are pretty obvious.

Rule # 4
This rule applies to “one-holers.” This is a public restroom that has only one toliet and is equipped with a door, lockable from the inside. These are often found at fast-food restaurants and gas stations. They are also common in some work places, where they may sometimes be referred to as the Fortress of Solitude. This rule has two parts:

(a) Always knock. This may seem like a no brainer, and it is in places like a gas station or local Carl’s Jr. However, the situation is slightly different in a workplace environment, which leads us to…

(b) At the workplace, or other very familiar location, knocking is often ignored or neglected out of habit. If this is the case you must, must, train yourself to pause between opening the door and actually going in. This is vital. Some potty-goers have an aversion to the locked door. This pause allows adequate time for the ocuppier to yell, gasp, shout, snarl, or otherwise announce his presence before you are treated to an emotionally jarring all-male peep show. I can not emphasize this enough. It takes some time, but mentally train yourself to do it, because no amount of mental calistenics can prepare you for what you might unexpectedly encounter. But a couple times of walking into a coworkers pasty, hairy, upper thighs, and your brain will force you to pause as a survival defense mechanism.

These are just a few of the valuable life lessons I have learned over the years, some, unfortunatly, from experience. If you have any other valuable insights, by all means post a comment and help your fellow man avoid an unpleasent rest room experience.

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7 thoughts on “Urinal Etiquette

  1. kludge

    I totally understand. This feels odd to be sharing with the world. The thing I hate is the “Chatty Cathy” I never talk in the restroom unless my life depends on it.

    here’s a good game to test your skills

    Urinal Game

  2. J Crew

    I could not agree more. Those rules should be posted in every restroom (men’s restroom that is)
    I would also add, never talk during this time. Take care of business and then leave.

  3. Ando

    Talking should definitely be kept to a minimum. Great tip.

    That reminds me of the story about our old basketball coach. Using the facilities at an opposing gym, he saw someone who he thought was his assistant coach come out of one of the stalls. Being a witty kind of guy, he said, “Hey, no peeking.” To which a very large and grumpy fella replied, “Why would I?” No real good way of explaining your way out of that one, other than to zip up and ship out.

    Kludge, thanks for posting the link to the Urinal Game. I actually meant to look for that and put it in the post.

  4. J Crew

    Also, if you get stage fright, just do what Erik Martinsen does and count to 10, but do it in your head. Erik does it out loud. Quite embarassing.

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