Public Restroom Etiquette – Chick Style

If you are a man or if you have a man in your life you know there is an unspoken code of public restroom conduct for men. For example, guys don’t talk to the other guys while in the bathroom; guys don’t look down while using the facilities; and if there are multiple urinals open, guys need to leave one open in between himself and the other guy.

Why don’t women have a similar code?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom where women are trying to have a conversation with me over the bathroom stall wall while we are both using the facilities.  Or, how about the woman who uses the public restroom as her own personal powder room and hogs the entire sink area so she can brush her teeth, curl her hair and get her make-up perfect for some imaginary photo shoot?

Ladies, it must stop! Public bathrooms are not a place any of us should want to spend lengthy periods of time.  They are stinky, germ-laden places designed as a public convenience to privately dispose of waste.

While I know it has been done before (see the International Center for Bathroom Etiquette site), I am taking the liberty to create a working code of female conduct for public restrooms.   Please feel free to add to it in the comments section as you see fit.

1. If you are in a conversation with another women while entering the bathroom, it must end within 15 seconds of either woman entering a stall.

2. When you exit the stall, wash your hands, dry them and get out.

3. If your cell phone rings while you are in the bathroom, do not answer it. The person on the other end of the phone does not want to talk to you while you are in the restroom and the other women in the restroom don’t want to hear your conversation.

4. Do not gossip in the bathroom. You never know whose feet are under the other stalls, plus conversations carry outside the main bathroom door.

5. If you must reapply your lipstick or brush your hair, step aside and do so after the other ladies have had the chance to wash their hands. Don’t monopolize the communal sink area.

6. If you enter the restroom with your friend, don’t feel that you have to clog up the limited space in the bathroom waiting for her.  She may want privacy and even if she doesn’t, she is a big enough girl to come find you outside when she is finished.

7. If you see, hear or smell something askew in one of the stalls.  Don’t feel the need to comment.  Have some class and only discuss it with the other ladies in the bathroom if it will pose a hazard to them (i.e. an over-flowing toilet).

8. If you must change your clothes in a public restroom, have the courtesy to let other women waiting go ahead of you.  If there is no one waiting before you go in to change, be sure to change your clothes swiftly in case some one gets in line after you’ve entered the stall.

9. Get ready at home.  Do not use public restrooms as your private bathroom. 

10. Keep idle chatter to a minimum.  It is fine to compliment the woman at the sink next to you on her dress, but leave it at that.  Strike up the lengthier conversation after you have both left the bathroom.

I’ll never claim to be Miss Manners, but, like men, women need to have some public restroom guidelines.

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11 Comments

Filed under Beauty, Etiquette, General, Health, Resources, Thoughts

11 responses to “Public Restroom Etiquette – Chick Style

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  2. Ugh, I agree with all of these. I absolutely can not handle it when someone talks to me when I’m in a stall. I usually just put a stop to it by not responding.

  3. It may not be part of Etiquette, but do not put your purse on the floor…and only hang it from the hook if the hook is far enough away so that no one can reach over and take it. Just words of caution. :>)

    • That is a very good point. I recall being a young girl – maybe 6 or 7 years old – and having my grandmother reach under the stall wall to grab my shopping bags from the floor. She was teaching me a lesson and it stuck. Plus … think about all the grossness that could potentially be on the floor. When you pick up your bags, you’re picking up germs too.

      Thanks for the great comment!

  4. I agree with soho, do not put anything on the floor. To avoid theft and also: who knows what is on that floor?! Gross.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Public Restroom Etiquette – Chick Style « Confessions of a (Type) A -- Topsy.com

  6. Angie, we women who suffer from shy bladder syndrome – difficulty in urinating when others are around – so much appreciate your suggestions. Many of us even avoid using public bathrooms all together if we encounter someone in them. When girls/women linger to primp, socialize, gossip, talk between stalls or on their cell phones, our ability to pee is greatly impeded. Here’s my addition to your list: if you find someone taking a long time in a stall, do not harass them in any way; keep your impatience to yourself.

    Carol Olmert
    Author, “Bathrooms Make Me Nervous”
    http://www.bathroomsmakemenervous.com

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