The Lady in the Stall

Traveling last week reminded me that bathroom etiquette needs to be reinforced every now and then. For example, I walked into a two stall bathroom in a restaurant on Friday night. While in there, I noticed that the lock did not work and the make-shift lock was even broken.

I lived life dangerously and stayed in that stall. There was a woman next to me who was there when I came in. She was humming a tune while sitting on the commode. I think it was a Simon and Garfunkel tune, but I couldn’t be sure.

As I walked out of my stall, I noticed my friend Sarah was waiting to enter. I walked to the sink and said, “That stall does not lock.” The hummer next to me yelled out, “YEAH IT DOES. IT CLOSES.”

Sarah and I got quiet, wondering what we were supposed to do with this aggressively provided suggestion. Sarah walked hesitantly into the stall, at which point the woman continued her “help.”


She proceeds to multi-task, somehow leaning forward, reaching under the stall, grabbing the bottom of the door and slamming it with so much force Sarah later told me she wondered if she was ever going to be able to get out.

While the woman was helpful, she kind of invaded some very personal space. Therefore, I’d like to offer a few bathroom etiquette notes:

  • If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat. Otherwise, I will find you and pour water on your restaurant chair.
  • Do not ever reach into somebody else’s stall without fair warning. Even when you are passing toilet paper under the wall. Lead in with something like, Do you need some help? If so, I’m going to reach under this stall while you are at your most vulnerable like “Thing” in the Addams family and hand you what you need.
  • Be patient with those of us battling automatic flushing toilets. I once spend ten minutes just trying to get a toilet seat cover to stay since every time I placed it down neatly the commode flushed automatically and sucked the seat cover down the toilet.

These are just a few tips on bathroom etiquette based upon my trip last week. If you have any more, please feel free to add!