Archive for the ‘restroom design’ Category

Restroom Outrage: A Rock and a Hard Place, or Zip the Lip!

I know I haven’t posted in a long, long time.  But since my domain lapsed, I just haven’t been able to drum up the passion needed for a solid rant.  But now I’m experiencing outrage, so I’m going with it.

One of the Nine-Hundred-Eighty-Seven Rules of the Men’s Room is “Thou shalt zip thy lip.”  Actually it’s Rules 2 through 987.  Rule 1 is, of course, “Thou shalt not pair up” (the Buffer Urinal Rule).

Ironically, I feel that if you’re going to go in for breaking the Silence Rule, you should pair it with breaking the Pairing Rule.  Why?  For the sake of the dude in the middle.Classical reference here.  Follow the link to be edified.

I’m not sure if I’ve discussed, in the past, the Hot Zone rule, whereby one’s choice of a urinal depends on how recently used your preferred choice was.  Lemme check.  Nope.  Anyway, there’s something yucky about stepping up to a urinal that’s just been flushed.  Because there’s still the Vapor Problem.  (Especially if the guy before you either drinks a lot of coffee or not enough water.)

And this is where you can legitimately take the Middle Urinal (though in a perfect world, it’d be Junior in the Middle).  In which case, you’re forcing everyone who enters after you into pairing with you.  And this is acceptable assuming there are partitions between the Stand-Uppers.

So today I was in that situation.  All right, I admit it, I took the Middle even though someone was at Urinal A.  Partition, though.  I don’t take the Littlun unless it’s the only one available.  Rules are meant to be broken.  Except by other people.

So anyway, I’m in at Urinal B.  And I hear an approaching conversation.  And I know it’s going to be carried into the Smelly Confines.  And it’s a coffee day, so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.  Sure enough, they carry the conversation in with them, take Urinals A and C, and continue talking through me.  I very much wanted to add some, er, punctuation to their conversation, by way of interrupting and issuing a poot-test protest, but I had no ammo.  Try not to be surprised by this.

Am I wrong here?  I’m fine with a carried conversation, assuming there’s either only one guy at the urinal and the other guy veers off to the sink or something.  But don’t talk through me.  Pairing is required.

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Restroom Design: Springtime Spatter!

Well, it’s once again the time of year when I start wearing sandals, which always brings about a rude awakening:

Urinal spatter is detectable.

Yeah…ew. I mean, I know it happens all the time anyway, but there’s just something different about it when it’s hitting your bare feet.

Of course, I have a purpose for writing this. If anyone reading this is involved in Restroom Design, please make the urinal partitions bigger. Floor to about five feet would be just fine. Floor to ceiling would be even better.

And then at least I’d know whose spatter it was.

Restroom Confessional: Double Dip and a Character Name Revealed!!!!

Yesterday I had an experience that highlights the need for my book. I encountered one of the most fearsome and loathsome creatures in the Restroom World. And in this post, I will reveal his name. I must ask you not to scream when I do. Although laughter would be wholly appropriate.

At some point yesterday, it occurred to me that it was time to hit the stall. Being a wise and prudent Workplace Restroom Patron, I first obtained reading material. This would be a major factor in what transpired.

I hit the restroom, noting that the far stall was taken (the spacious, handicapped-accessible stall with the broken latch).  Let’s call it Stall C.  Going with the standard Buffer Stall, I took Stall A (the one bordering the urinals and containing The Drain).  All was well.

And then the Great Silence descended.  Now, I’m a guy who likes some Cover Sound, and the Great Silence, as you might imagine, is somewhat lacking in Cover Sound.  Fortunately, a friendly-neighborhood Stand-Upper came to the rescue, flushing both before and after doing his bidness.  Cover Sound obtained.

So there I was, basically ready to leave, but I thought a bit more recon was in order.  The Great Silence descended again.  Then, another stall occupant appeared.  Took Stall B.  We were now at Full Capacity.  And within ten seconds, I knew we were dealing with Mr. IckBerry.  Good…you didn’t scream.  Because this isn’t even the guy I was telling you not to scream about.  This is the guy who feels that the restroom is the perfect place to catch up on some emails.  He’s the long-lost-brother of Phone-Guy (pronounced in a manner similar to “Fungi”), who talks on the phone.

(BTW, bonus strategery courtesy via my friend MK:  “Flush!”  Mr. Phongi can’t handle the flushing when he’s trying to carry on a conversation.  Now go kick his unclothed backside!)

So there’s IckBerry, pecking away on his stupid contraption, and still not a sound from Stall C.  It was then I realized who we were dealing with:

Please try not to faint.

It was Secret Agent Man!!!!!

Still okay?  These guys are tough, and you need to be prepared for them, even before my book comes out (which totally won’t happen until I write it).  You need to know a couple of things about Secret Agent Man:

  1. He makes no sound.
  2. He does not want to be seen.
  3. He’s a person, too.  I think.

Basically, this is the guy who won’t make a move (or movement) or a sound until the restroom is empty.  At least that’s his game.  Which means his major tactic is the Wait-Out.  He’ll just hang out there with his hemorrhoids until you bug out.

If you bug out.

Actually, in this case, I could’ve sworn Secret Agent Man took off.  And since I was there before IckBerry, I knew it was my duty to leave first.  So I did.  But Stall C was still occupied!!  Filled with a sense of righteous indignation, I waited until the new Stand-Upper was situated at the Vertical Relief Station, then took a peek under the stall.  Same shoes.  I knew I had just been defeated by Secret Agent Man.  Blast!!!  I left the restroom in abject defeat.

Then, inspiration struck.  No way was Secret Agent Man going to leave while IckBerry was still there.  So, I grabbed a drink of water and waited.  The flush I heard about a minute later was from the Stand-Upper (you, too, can train yourself to recognize flushes).  I listened for Mr. Urinal’s fake handwashing to conclude (which it did, and quickly), then for his exit.

And then I went back in.  The nightmare for Secret Agent Man is the Shift Change, where a stall empties out, only to be immediately reoccupied.  Leaving Secret Agent Man another five to twenty minutes of waiting for this guy to leave.

I’ll admit, I did have a slight bit of trepidation, that IckBerry might recognize my shoes and try to defeat me.  But I had everything going for me in terms of the prospects for Defeating Secret Agent Man:

  1. No pressing work-related distractions.
  2. Reading material.
  3. No need to actually use the toilet.
  4. Fast approach of the top of the hour.

Number 1 is nice, since it meant I didn’t have to blow off any actual work to vanquish my foe.  Although I’d be willing to sacrifice a little bit of work for this opportunity.  Number 2 (heh) is a must-have, because otherwise this gets boring really quick.  Number 3 is unnecessary but nice, and Number 4 is absolutely essential.  Odds are, Secret Agent Man might have something to do at the top of the hour.  Like a meeting, perhaps.  It’s pressure, and it works.

I’ll admit that my resolve wavered a bit when the five-minute mark passed on my second stay, with no sound but the pressing of Biohazard Blackberry Buttons.  Then ten minutes.  This is where the reading material comes it really handy.

Ultimately, I won.  And actually, I’ve got to hand it to IckBerry, because he hung in there, too.  And he even put some pressure on Secret Agent Man.  Once SAM started to stir, about three minutes till the top of the hour, IckBerry spotted him ten seconds or so and commenced his Exit Countdown.  Remember that Secret Agent Man doesn’t want to be seen.  It was amusing, watching him go into Turbo Mode at the sink.  (I’ll give him credit for proper handwashing, SAM though he be.)

Secret Agent Man got out without incident, followed closely by IckBerry.  And then by me.  There was somebody at the urinal at this point, so I flushed for propriety’s sake.  And I washed my unsoiled hands.  Urinal Guy didn’t have any such pretentions, and went for a record-breaking Fake Washing.  Of course, this was the guy whose BO emanates into the hallway from his office, so I can’t say I was shocked.

The really amusing thing I noticed while thoroughly washing my already clean hands was the new Stall Dweller.  He came in while I was washing, took a step into Stall A (which had recently been my hermitage), noted the moving water, and relocated to Stall B.  Clearly, he recognized Stall A was a Hot Zone.  I didn’t think other people knew about Hot Zones.  But I guess they do.

By the way, I didn’t mention that during the Standoff with Secret Agent Man and IckBerry, no less than three men came in and needed a walk all the way over to Stall C to realize we were at Full Capacity.  The closed stall doors weren’t enough for these geniuses.  Nonetheless, their lack of relief falls at the door of Secret Agent Man.  You can’t blame IckBerry for holding out for the proper Exit Order.  You can, perhaps, blame me for the Double Dip, and I’m willing to accept it.  This is a war, and you can’t make an omelet without causing some people severe abdominal distress.

So, there you have it.  I didn’t lay out the full Secret Agent Man profile or strategy, as I will in the book (actually, that chapter is already done).  But I couldn’t wait for publication.  This was too important.  And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  The other half involves Preparation H.

Restroom Atrocities/Oddities: Holy Discontent

I’d like to think that Church Restrooms would be a different breed.  True, I don’t feel compelled to use the Cowboy Hat when I’m there.  But that speaks more to my level of comfort with the potential germs I might encounter than the design of the restroom.  Because churchgoers don’t have nasty wee-beasties…right?

But shouldn’t churches have the *best* restroom designs? Even divine designs?  Unfortunately, houses of worship are just as likely to fall victim to the tragic neglect of thought so common in restroom design. For instance:

NO!!!!!

NO!!!!!

Now really, I know we’re supposed to be kind and loving to each other, but are we really supposed to be able to put our arms around each other while relieving ourselves?  There is simply no circumstance in which it could be even remotely appropriate to have full occupancy here.  There’s not adequate spacing for a proper stance, there’s no partition, and there’s not AN ODD NUMBER OF URINALS!!!!  How can you not allow for the buffer urinal?  It’s simply ungodly.  Repent, unnamed restroom defiler designer!!!

I say stand back and see if you can hit both.  And don’t act like you weren’t already thinking it.  Doesn’t that narrow corridor look like a shooting range?

Moving on…

Sometimes an idea seems considerate, and you’ve got to give the designers credit for thinking of others.  Notice I said you have to.  I don’t.  At my church, they’ve got these handy shelves in the stalls, above the urinals, and at the sink.  Check it out:

Bible ledge or platform for toilet tank diving?

Bible ledge or platform for toilet tank diving?

The shelf is a nice idea.  Say, for instance, you walk into the stall and remember, “Oh, I’m carrying a Bible!  How I wish I could set it someplace instead of holding it while I…(well, you know).”  And like magic, there’s the ledge!

Only it’s four inches wide.  So unless you’re carrying a pocket-sized Sword, and have decided that in this case, the pocket just isn’t an appropriate place to stow it, you’re pretty much out of luck.  Unless you have a water bottle to counterbalance it as it’s cantilevered over your head as you squat.  Just watch out that you don’t hit it on the way back up.

I’m sure the designers thought, “We can’t make this ledge stick out too far, or someone may scalp himself on it!”  Understandable.  But unless the stall is equipped with a bidet, there’s a handy-dandy thing called a TP-dispenser that’s almost always the perfect size for setting a typical Bible.  Unless it’s one of those blasted circular ones.   (Which, BTW, don’t install those.  Give us a flat surface for to be settin’ somethin’.)

I didn’t take a snap of the ledge by the sink, but it’s the same situation.  And no excuse about somebody cracking his skull on it.  Nice idea, poor implementation.

Now, your mission:  Try not to think about where that Bible you’re borrowing from somebody in church has been.

Restroom Humor: Know Your Enemas

The book I’m working on is all about knowing your restroom enemies – and vanquishing them.  Of course, I’m not the first person to dwell on the various characters you’ll find in that most horrible place.

A friend forwarded a forwarded forward to me, noting that it was interesting that the guy who forwarded the forward to him had this in his signature: “Soli Deo Gloria” (all to the glory of God).  My friend seemed to find it ironic or even comical that this tagline should accompany a restroom-themed email.  But consider this:  there is a blessing that’s said by religious Jews after using the toilet.  It goes something like this:

Blessed are You Our God, King of the Universe,
Who fashioned man with wisdom
and created within him many openings
and many cavities.
It is obvious and known
before Your Throne of Glory
that if but one of them were to be ruptured
or if but one of them were to be blocked
it would be impossible to survive
and to stand before You
Blessed are You, HaShem,
Who heals all flesh
and acts wondrously.

(By the way, you can get posters of this written in Hebrew.  And my birthday is coming up in ten months or so…)

So discussion about what goes on in the restroom isn’t necessarily unholy.  Except when it takes this form (The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the staff and management of Handwasher.net. But there’s a high probability.):

***Warning*** Make sure you are in a place you can laugh out loud, or you will be crying for sure!

How to Poop at Work

We’ve all been there but don’t like to admit it. We’ve all kicked back in our cubicles and suddenly felt something brewing down below. As much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the WORK POOP is inevitable. For those who hate pooping at work, following is the Survival Guide for taking a dump at work.

*CROP DUSTING* When farting, you walk really fast around the office so the smell is not in your area and everyone else gets a whiff, but doesn’t know where it came from. Be careful when you do this. Do not stop until the full fart has been expelled. Walk an extra 30 feet to make sure the smell has left your pants.

*FLY BY* The act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping. Walk in and check for other poopers. If there are others in the bathroom, leave and come back again. Be careful not to become a FREQUENT FLYER. People may become suspicious if they catch you constantly going into the bathroom.

*ESCAPEE* A fart that slips out while taking a pee or forcing a poop in a stall. This is usually accompanied by a sudden wave of embarrassment. If you release an escapee, do not acknowledge it. Pretend it did not happen. If you are a man and are standing next to the farter in the urinal, pretend you did not hear it. No one likes an escapee. It is uncomfortable for all involved. Making a joke or laughing makes both parties feel uneasy.

*JAILBREAK* When forcing a poop, several farts slip out at a machine gun pace. This is usually a side effect of diarrhea or a hangover. If this should happen, do not panic. Remain in the stall until everyone has left the bathroom to spare everyone the awkwardness of what just occurred.

*COURTESY FLUSH* The act of flushing the toilet the instant the poop hits the water. This reduces the amount of air time the poop has to stink up the bathroom. This can help you avoid being caught doing the WALK OF SHAME.

*WALK OF SHAME* Walking from the stall, to the sink, to the door after you have just stunk up the bathroom. This can be a very uncomfortable moment if someone walks in and busts you. As with farts, it is best to pretend that the smell does not exist. Can be avoided with the use of the COURTESY FLUSH.

*OUT OF THE CLOSET POOPER* A colleague who poops at work and is Doggone proud of it. You will often see an Out Of The Closet Pooper enter the bathroom with a newspaper or magazine under their arm. Always look around the office for the Out Of The Closet Pooper before entering the bathroom.

*THE POOPING FRIENDS NETWORK (P.F.N)* A group of co-workers who band together to ensure emergency pooping goes off without incident. This group can help you to monitor the whereabouts of Out Of The Closet Poopers, and identify SAFE HAVENS.

*SAFE HAVENS* A seldom used bathroom somewhere in the building where you can least expect visitors. Try floors that are predominantly of the opposite sex. This will reduce the odds of a pooper of your sex entering the bathroom.

*TURD BURGLAR* Someone who does not realize that you are in the stall and tries to force the door open. This is one of the most shocking and vulnerable moments that can occur when taking a poop at work. If this occurs, remain in the stall until the Turd Burglar leaves. This way you will avoid all uncomfortable eye contact.

*CAMO-COUGH* A phony cough that alerts all new entrants into the bathroom that you are in a stall. This can be used to cover-up a WATERMELON, or to alert potential Turd Burglars. Very effective when used in conjunction with a SHIRLEY TEMPLE.

*SHIRLEY TEMPLE* A subtle toe-tapping that is used to alert potential Turd Burglars that you are occupying a stall. This will remove all doubt that the stall is occupied. If you hear a SHIRLEY TEMPLE, leave the bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace.

*WATERMELON* A poop that creates a loud splash when hitting the toilet water. This is also an embarrassing incident. If you feel a Watermelon coming on, create a diversion. See CAMO-COUGH.

*HAVANA-OMELET* A case of diarrhea that creates a series of loud splashes in the toilet water. Often accompanied by an Escapee.. Try using a CAMO-COUGH with a SHIRLEY TEMPLE.

*AUNT BETTY* A bathroom user who seems to linger around forever…Could spend extended lengths of time in front of the mirror or sitting on the pot. An AUNT BETTY makes it difficult to relax while on the crapper, as you should always wait to poop when the bathroom is empty. This benefits you as well as the other bathroom attendees!

SOME VARIETIES OF POOP YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF~

The King Poop = This kind is the kind of poop that killed Elvis. It doesn’t come until you’re all sweaty, trembling and purple from straining so hard.

Bali Belly Poop = You poop so much you lose 5 pounds!

Cement Block = You wish you’d gotten a spinal block before you poop.

Cork Poop (Also Known as Floater Poop) = Even after the third flush, it’s still floating in there. How do I get rid of it? This poop usually happens at someone else’s house.

The Bungee Poop = The kind of poop that just hangs off your rear before it falls into the water.

The Crippler = The kind of poop where you have to sit on the toilet so long your legs go numb from the waist down.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang = The kind of poop that hits you when you’re trapped in your car in a traffic jam.

The Party Pooper = The giant poop you take at a party. And when you flush the toilet, you watch in horror as the water starts to rise..

NOW EVERYONE TRY TO GO POOP IN PEACE…

Oh, and in case someone forgot my story about this, I’ve been present when a BURGLAR did his thing, and the door latch failed. Yeah. Just don’t do it, man…

Restroom Oddities: The More They Overthink the Plumbing…

Today’s post is about excess.   One of the interesting restaurant chains in my area is McMenamins (or as I like to call it, McM&Ms).  I won’t bore you with the history of the place(s), because you can just read about it yourself.   Suffice it to say that their restroom designs could provide me with Oddities until the Last Day.

I should point out that, near as I can tell, all McMenamins locations feature some of the worst restrooms in existence, violating just about every Rule I’ve ever thought up.  In fact, I thought up more than a few of them while observing the abominations I found there.  I’m not trying to pick on them, because they are entertaining restrooms if nothing else.

Let’s start at Imbrie Hall.  There’s no defending this kind of urinal, but you’ll find them at most McM&Ms locations:

Floor Urinals, woo!

Floor Urinals, woo!

Nothing seems particularly strange here, although I’d point out the obvious courtesy of providing the left-handed gent (of which I am one) the opportunity of left-handed flushing at the left-hand urinal.  It’s clearly the left thing to do.  But note how the feed pipes for each urinal converge.  Then look up, and you’ll see this:

Plumber Job Security

Plumber Job Security

Yeah.  Staying with the urinal-theme, the Grand Lodge has this gem (hat tip, Mr. H):

Hold On to Something!

Hold On to Something!

I suppose this one is allowing you to keep your options open, but I’m not really sure that’s what it’s about.  I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to grab both handles and make motorcycle sounds while relieving yourself.  At least that’s the trend I’m hoping to start…

Lastly, we have a rare Ladies’ Room capture from the Olympic Club (hat tip, Mrs. K):

Choose, But Choose Wisely...

Choose, But Choose Wisely...

The thing is, amidst all that confusion, can anyone spot a soap dispenser?  All these faucets and no way to wash?  Perhaps Mrs. K can confirm…

Anyway, this has been your tour d’overkill.  Hope you enjoyed it.  This sampling was taken from three locations, of the probably fifty or more in existence.  Feel free to send me shots of the others if you’re so inclined.

Restroom Oddities: Odditory Refreshment

Having recently traveled, I thought I’d share an Oddity.  It’s the Sea-Tac Airport’s “Talking Fountain”:

Now, a few thoughts about Airport Restrooms.  Really, they’re some of the best-designed restrooms in existence.  For one, they rarely have doors, so your main Source Of OPB (Other People’s Bacteria) is taken away right there.  Of course, I’m not expecting most workplaces to go doorless (due to the lack of ambient “cover-noise” featured at airports).

The one thing the Airport Restroom has over the Workplace Restroom is anonymity.  You will probably never see these people again.  So throw off your Workplace Restroom Inhibitions and be as obnoxious as you want to be (and by obnoxious I mean oblivious that Other People Are Present).  Or just walk away without washing (I’m testing you here…you should be outraged).

Of course, Murphy would predict that one of your fellow restroom denizens will be seated near you.  Which is why I also recommend using a restroom that’s not right next to your boarding gate.

Oh, and one more thing.  I know from personal and recent experience that it’s really difficult for a grown man and his seven-year-old son to share an airplane restroom.  There was no repeat occurrence of said phenomenon.  Once was enough.

Restroom Humor: I 'Faugh!' in Your General Direction!!

Merry Christmas, all ye readers of my blog!

Once you’ve mastered the tactics necessary to overcome your restroom enemies (look for my book on said topic, due to be published some time after I finish it), you’ll realize that The Rules really only exist for the sake of exploitation. Get everyone to agree on The Rules, then dispense with them and freak people out! As here:

Of course I had to notice that the dude lost pitch on his rendition of the Cheers theme song. But maybe that was part of the technique.

Restroom Oddities: Let Them Eat…Cakes?

There’s no good way to introduce this, so I’ll just drop in an image and let you recover before proceeding (hat tip to M. Ivy):

Refreshing and brisk, I'd imagine...

Refreshing and brisk, I imagine...

Now, if you’re of the female persuasion, perhaps you’re unfamiliar with urinal cakes.  As advertised, they’re all about deodorizing the area.  But I’m here to tell you they’re all about giving men a target.

The reality is that men are simply more accurate if they have something to aim at.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the legions of moms who’ve toilet-trained their boys by having them sink the Cheerios.  Or interview your husband about the joys of finding a stray square of TP in the bowl.  That thing is going DOWN!!!

Anyhow, some urinal designs allow for one of these hockey pucks to just sit in the “bowl” (if you can call it a bowl).  Usually there’s a metal drain cover that keeps the puck from clogging up the works.  But some designs feature a nice smooth exit, which means you’ve got to hold that puck in place.

There are any number of designs on these puck holders, and some are better than others.  But few have actually considered the marketing and advertising angle available here.  I mean, he’s looking at the cake holder, right?  Why not sell him something while he’s at it?  Well, if you’re thinking of launching a business, don’t.  Wizmark beat you to the punch.

Advertise beer, guarantee return trips...

Advertise beer, guarantee return trips...

The main problem here is, guys are totally going to snipe that winged horse.  He’s history.   Trouble is, you’re guaranteed a good degree of splashback there.  Not good.

Personally, I’d favor making custom urinal cakes with that logo on them.  Then an enterprising urinal patron could try to obliterate the “r” in “Horse.”  Heh.  Hose Beer.  Heh.  You couldn’t pay me to do this work.  Unless you wanted to…

One other thing to note here.  I’m totally for giving the guy something to distract him.  It makes it less likely he’ll start an unwarranted and (in a perfect world) illegal restroom conversation.  And Wizmark has models that talk to you or flash blinky lights and stuff.  Not that men are easily entertained or anything…

Restroom Oddities: See the Bowl, Hit the Bowl

If you grew up in the States and have even a rudimentary education in American film, you’ll probably think Peru is a drink that goes with Fronch Bread, Fronch Fries, and Fronch Dressing.  But I’ve recently discovered it’s actually a country with poor toilet training.  How do I know?  Well, this (Hat tip: Mr. H.):

We *never* have this problem in the States!

We *never* have this problem in the States!

I’ve linked back to the blog post this came from, which is worth a read.  I’m thinking of contacting the author and bringing him in as a highly-compensated correspondent.  He’d have to bring the compensation with him, of course…

BTW, all you non-Mr. H folks out there, why haven’t you sent me anything yet?