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Office Bathrooms, Partitions and Talking

AS writes the following:

I’ve been doing some observing for you guys since January 5th 2009. That’s when I started my job at this office. Basically the situation is, 3 sinks on a joined vanity. To the right, 2 urinals (with partition) one handicap sized stall. This is a unique situation, because as it is at work, we often don’t have time for delay tactics. The partition is about 1m (3ft) tall (knee to shoulder) and about 0.60m (2ft) wide. I don’t get that ‘weird’ feeling when peeing next to someone. However the talking rule is still very in place. Some of the older ones have been known to ask how the day is going. In which case the proper response is a simple ‘yes’ and do not follow up with “you?”. This begins a conversation… at the urinal… while peeing. you might as well rip the partition out and get ready for some dude doing dude action at that point. If that exchange must happen in the bathroom. It must be done while one person is washing their hands, and the other is standing half out of the doorway slowly gaining distance from the talker. Then the talker must not be engaged in any conversation work related, or other. Anywhere, for 2 weeks.

My observations are yours.

Interesting observations AS. As you so rightly point out, while partitions may allow two adjacent urinals to be used in good etiquette, they certainly don’t make talking at the urinals acceptable. Of course since this is at work, it’s hard to simply ignore somebody – especially if they are your superior.

I also like the idea of a cooling down period after a breach of bathroom etiquette. Good luck avoiding anybody at work for two weeks though!

September 17, 2010   No Comments

Urinals With Partitions

Several astute readers have noticed the lack of information on these pages with regards to those urinals which have partitions between them. Acting on this glaring oversight I have personally conducted extensive research in this area over the last several months, sildenafil primarily consisting of using the bathroom in several different airports, ampoule which seem to employ the urinal partition quite heavily. Alas, site there is no simple answer to the question as to whether urinal partitions allow you to pee beside someone without breaking etiquette. You see, unlike men, not all urinal partitions are created equally. So once again we have to bring in our own good judgement to the situation. How does that urinal partition make you feel. Does it make you feel safe and shielded? Is it actually big enough to afford any kind of protection? If yes, then it may well be acceptable to pee beside another. Sadly, in the vast majority of cases, the partitions have been woefully inadequate, and thus standard urinal rules apply.

January 15, 2008   Comments Off on Urinals With Partitions

Taking Care of Business at DFW

Doing some traveling this past weekend, I had the pleasure of going pee at DFW several times. Generally speaking I am a pretty big fan of airport bathrooms, some recent issues in ORD notwithstanding.

Anyways, on my final preflight pee I entered a bathroom, was pleased to note the presence of urinal partitions, and started the process at the far-right urinal of the then empty bank of 5 urinals.

At which point customer #2 entered, and proceeded to take up a position right beside me. WTF?! While urinal partitions can make it okay to pee beside somebody else when necessary, they don’t make it okay to simply throw all the rules of etiquette out the window. Even with urinal partitions peeing right beside somebody is always a last resort, not a first resort.

Needless to say I was emotionally scarred for the remainder of the trip.

March 7, 2011   No Comments

Meeting Bill Gates at the Urinal

The wonderful GigaG submitted an interesting story about some Excite employees meeting Bill Gates at a urinal while visiting Microsoft way back in 1995.

what is the appropriate bathroom etiquette? I had a massive internal struggle. Do I reach over the urinal barriers to extend a handshake to Bill? What would he do if I did?

Augh, no! It’s bad enough that a conversation with poor Bill was started, but shaking hands at a urinal? Come on, is there anybody that thinks this is a good idea?

I had complete urinal performance anxiety. I had not been able to pee up to this point. Nothing was happening in the presence of the man who brought us greatness like Microsoft Decathlon and the Blue Screen of Death.

I’ll bet! I hope Bill had better luck peeing after being interrupted this way. At least Microsoft apparently has the bathroom savvy to install urinal partitions…

November 18, 2010   No Comments

Inappropriate Songs for the Urinal

A colleague of mine used a urinal the other day. Nothing unusual about that. In the midst of his business, a second person took the adjacent urinal – it’s okay though, there’s a significant partition between the two.

At which point the second person began to speak quietly:

It’s hard. It’s hard. It’s hard.

As you can imagine, my colleague was a little distressed by the fact that a man mere inches away from him had his package in hand and was pontificating about its relative stiffness. Until, out of the corner of his eye, my colleague caught a glimpse of the headphones. This, in fact, is what he really heard:

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard.

In this day of iPod all-pervasiveness, we must take care to listen to songs appropriate to the present circumstances. That includes not listening to A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall at the urinal.

April 19, 2010   No Comments

The Joys of Airport Bathrooms

A little bit of personal travel this week gave me the opportunity to experience one of life’s little dichotomies – the airport bathroom. On the one hand, airport bathrooms can be pretty gross, but what public bathroom isn’t? On the other hand, airport bathrooms – at least in North America – tend to incorporate little niceties and technological advances not found in many other places. What, you may ask, am I talking about?

  1. Urinal Partitions: These are all the rage in airport bathrooms, and (for the most part) allow adjacent urinals to be used simultaneously without a breach of etiquette. Why aren’t these things everywhere?!
  2. Fancy Hand Dryers: Ever use a Dyson Airblade? I have, in an airport bathroom. Those things are awesome!
  3. Wall Hooks: That’s right, I was in an airport bathroom today that had hooks on the wall. You actually had a place to put your bag that wasn’t the scaggy ground! I’m not saying I want to lick a bathroom wall anytime soon, but it’s got to be cleaner than the floor.

Heck, with the state of air travel these days (miserable), airport bathrooms can be the highlight of a trip. We’ll talk about the wretched smell in that bathroom at Sea-Tac another time…

July 9, 2009   1 Comment

Creepy Portuguese Mall Bathroom

If you thought peeing at the Sofitel Queenstown was weird… this is going to blow your mind. The Sao Joao da Madeira shopping center in the Northern part of Portugal has a bathroom decorated with female mannequins who lurk eerily behind the urinals. No word on if there’s better privacy from the mannequins in the stalls, but at least they have urinal partitions!

Creepy Portuguese Mall Bathroom Mannequins San Joao da Madeira


PS: Does anybody have any more information on this place?

March 27, 2008   2 Comments

Brushing Your Teeth at the Urinal

So I was using the urinal at work today, when I realized that the guy at the adjacent urinal (don’t worry – these have a very large partition between them) was brushing his teeth. At the urinal.

Is it just me, or is that a little gross?

I’m going to go on record here and say that it’s a breach of etiquette to be brushing your teeth at a urinal, or a regular toilet for that matter.

February 13, 2008   1 Comment

Welcome to the ICBE

January 4, 2008   Comments Off on Welcome to the ICBE

Now that’s a View!

Unfortunately I have absolutely no context to go along with this picture from mhh5th, but that is quite the view from the urinals. And a nice try with the partitions, but I have a feeling those waist-high barriers don’t do much for privacy…

Really High Bathroom Urinal View

June 1, 2007   No Comments