Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lessons Learned from the Ladies Room

During the work hours at my computer, I seek refuge for my eyes by routinely turning my glance away from my computer screen and into the bottom of a glass. Be it tea, water, Fresca, or Tab Energy--I'm drinking it, and a lot of it. Considering such, it should be no surprise that I need to visit the ladies' room often--about once an hour.

Now, the office suites in my work building are modest. Ok, really modest--these offices are small and most don't house more than a couple of women (excluding the testosterone-free, overzealous fleece-vest-wearing environmental group around the corner). Despite this apparent lack of female representation on floor two, I have learned more than I ever needed to know about women and public restrooms.

I have unscientifically but methodically determined that there are five types of female public bathroom users:

1. The Participatory Pooper. This gal leaves home in the morning with it, allowing her to unceremoniously share it with everyone who has to take a quick bathroom break in the A.M. to relieve themselves from the grande latte they drank on their commute. There's one woman in particular who is known to me as "K. Swiss," because I can only identify her by her shoes and her stench--and I think K Swiss is a little nicer, so I choose to go with that. The Participatory Pooper unloads with a crowd, and she doesn't care. If she is a kind P.P., she will open the window, but if you hear it going up before you enter the ladies' room, proceed to another floor immediately.

2. The Curious Hand Washer. This woman rubs her hands together under the faucet for as long as it takes for a woman behind a stall door to reveal herself. She is curious and can't leave the restroom without confirming who might be sharing the room for a few minutes with her. She seems to play a game with herself, surreptitiously (and sometimes not) looking in the mirror and craning her neck to get a better view between the cracks to spy and identify the "culprit" before she's done and joins her at the sink.

3. The Brooding Tooth Brusher. This female brushes her teeth apparently after every meal but appears pissed off about it. Maybe the frequent brushing is mandated by her dentist or a nagging breath problem, but either way, don't get in her way at the sink. She is angry and avoids eye contact, though one of these days I'm dying to point out how old the pipes are in the building and ask her if the water tastes funny since it is so obviously cloudy.

4. The Timeout Toe-Tapper. Like the Participatory Pooper, the Timeout Toe-Tapper is most identifiable by her footwear (but thankfully not the stench). This woman waits for you to finish your business before proceeding with hers. She doesn't expend a peep while you are in there but instead keeps a happy, albeit sometimes impatient, beat with the tap of her toes. This woman has manners!

5. The Invisible. Ok, so I had to create a category for women such as myself, so deemed Invisible because we slip in and slip out, nary causing alarm to fly open the window or retreat to another floor. I think we all appreciate each other, as these are the only women that attempt to exchange sympathetic smiles when the smell is wretched and hand out compliments when one looks particularly cute that day. Of course, these are my favorite kind of ladies, though we don't provide very good stories.

Anyone else have tales from the office restroom? Leave a comment!

*I like to pretend someone is actually going to comment, hence the enthusiasm and belief that people are actually going to read this, much less have stories of their own. Keep the dream alive!


Darlin' T said...

This post made me laugh a lot. I personally hate the chatty women who try and carry on a conversation with you while you or they are relieving themselves. I always feel obligated to wait for them at the sink so they can finish up what they're saying. Or else, I have to make a big todo about leaving the restroom so that they don't go on talking to themselves. awkward.

atpanda said...

I work in a place w/ very few women as well, but our bathroom has about 9 stalls anyway. What drives me nuts is when you're the only person in there, and even though there are 8 other stalls open, there's always the same women who will come in and take the stall RIGHT next to yours. How about a little space please!

Jamie said...

You know, I work at a place where there seems to be an unwritten culture that nobody should ever see each other in the washroom. The previous woman will always make sure she has washed her hands and left the room before you exit the stall, period.

Just Between You and Me said...

I've been wanting to get in on this conversation since it was first published, but my computer security wouldn't allow me until now.

I wanted to add my public bathroom comments.

I play on many tennis leagues so I am always using public bathrooms with many different ladies. After listening to people describe how they try and prevent getting icky bathroom germs, I mentioned I flush the toilets with my foot in order to avoid touching anything. One lady nastily chided me with "Well! You certainly don't make it nice for the rest of us!!!" I guess she thought the bottom of my shoe would give her worse germs than people's bathroomy hands. Hey, lady! Aren't you going to wash them, anyway?!!!

Another very common bathroom dilemma I often encounter - especially in shopping malls is the "I don't do windows or flush pooper!" Do these people really think we enjoy seeing their poop??? Please! Use your hand or foot or whatever! Just flush!