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Etiquette, Grossness and Necessity

I was performing a #1 today when an individual in a stall adjacent to me started performing a #2. Loudly, grossly, and from what I could tell rather moistly. Yuck. My first instinct was repulsion, followed by a general disappointment about the sad state of bathroom etiquette I was experiencing first hand.

Then it hit me – this isn’t something that was being done on purpose (at least I hope not). Etiquette is a complicated beast. The whole philosophy of etiquette is to be aware of others and to act in a way as to minimize or eliminate your negative impact on other people whenever possible. Those last two words are very important and bear repeating:

whenever possible

Etiquette is about doing your best when you can, and in this context not being gross when you can afford not to be gross, but sometimes grossness is a necessity.

Peeing all over the seat and not wiping it up is gross. It’s bad etiquette because you can and should clean it up.

Not flushing the toilet is gross. It’s bad etiquette because you can and should flush the toilet.

Taking a noisy poop is gross. It’s not bad etiquette if you can’t avoid it, and let’s face it – sometimes you can’t.


1 Jeff Jacobsen { 10.28.11 at 4:37 pm }

Thanks for this article. I think that a little understanding goes a long way, especially in a place where communication can fall on the list of social priorities.

On another note, I’m writing a column for the student newspaper at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, and would love to include some things from this site in the article. Please email me so we can talk about specifics. Thanks!

2 Jamie Tai { 10.17.12 at 7:55 pm }

Toilet étiquette needs to be taught to many people. Even if I’m busting to go i always try to hold it until i get home to my nice clean toilet. What has made me afraid of public toilets is pretty much everything you wrote above. Pee all over the toilet seat, toilet paper all over the floor and unflushed toilets. These issues need to be addressed so we can have cleaner public toilets which would overall cause less piss on our streets and therefore a better environment for us all to live in.

I am currently running a campaign for uni called ‘Love our toilets’ which aims to teach toilet etiquette for cleaner public toilets. So if you have similar ideals please visit our Facebook page:

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