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Category — Etiquette & Bathroom Fun

There’s Always Time for Good Bathroom Etiquette – Even in a Stand Off

There really are no excuses for poor bathroom etiquette, as demonstrated by Jeremy Renner on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live. That’s right, even when locked in a three way stand off, Renner and his enemies find time to observe proper urinal etiquette:

  • Eyes forward
  • A buffer urinal between everybody

Depending on where you live, you can go check out the skit on Hulu.

December 17, 2012   No Comments

Revisited: Seat Up, Seat Down

Angry ICBE reader John writes the following:


You forgot to mention the situation where there may be three men in the house … and three bathrooms …. the one most familiar to the woman being out of commission because she made it that way (renos) … and getting to the other one not generally used by the boys means walking down some stairs … But .. the woman always expects the seat in the guy’s bathroom to be down at all times!!


And she doesn’t lift the seat after she finishes doing her thing (because we are all so considerate of her needs … when we remember) to make sure the guys don’t piss on it (we forget to lift it sometimes) and when she goes …. we have to all face the wrath of a woman calling us assholes because someone didn’t lift the seat.


Really John? Really, do I have to take a quote from the ICBE’s own page describing this subject:

Listen, this isn’t about logic, or statistics, or minimizing global effort or anything other than etiquette and doing what’s right. It’s right to leave the seat down, because women prefer it that way.

I think that sums it up pretty nicely. So my advice to you is to suck it up, put the seat down and get over it.


PS: But I will admit that name calling the woman is doing isn’t very nice!

October 24, 2012   No Comments

Who wants to bare-ass it on a public toilet?

That’s a great question, and in fact it comes from fearless ICBE reader Ryan. He writes in full:

I love your site! Keep up the good work! I refer friends often…

Can you please address those unfortunate places where they do not provide toilet seat covers in the bathroom? Being accustomed to living in CA, I automatically go for the seat covers that are “provided by the management” when the need to sit down arises (this should be deferred whenever possible!)

However whenever traveling out of state I have noticed an unacceptable number of places where this is not the standard! Now a need for creative toilet paper folding is necessary and this is time consuming compared with my standard compliment of 3 toilet seat covers strategically placed on top of one another.

Anyhow, thought it would be a great topic for your site – not exactly etiquette as it relates to others, but definitely a hygiene topic and a common courtesy for businesses to provide to customers… After all who wants to bare-ass it on a public toilet!?!?!

The first thing that I wondered upon reading this email was whether California had enacted some kind of law requiring that establishments provide such toilet seat covers. It turns out they have not, but there are certainly some rumors out there suggesting they might have.

In any case, just like Ryan I happen to live in Southern California these days and the majority of places do provide toilet seat covers. Which means that it’s time for a shocking confession: I never actually use them!

Don’t worry, I’m not bare-assing it, but I just always use toilet paper even if those covers are available. I suppose I’m just a creature of habit, and since I can’t rely on those covers I use good old TP which is always present (or I’m not taking a poop!).

Sadly, I don’t have much worthwhile advice. You could try to petition government to enact such a law (they flirted with the idea briefly in Maine), but I probably recommend getting comfortable with the idea of the toilet paper tent or the hoversquat. Budgets are tight and I’m imagine seeing fewer places with toilet seat covers in the future, not more – even in sunny California.

October 23, 2012   No Comments

Bathroom Sex, Bathroom Sex, Bathroom Sex

Image borrowed from Derek Dubois’ post on public sex

BS (yes, the guy asking about bathroom sex has the initials BS) writes the following:

Just wondering if y’all could promote the nooner in the office loo as an entirely acceptable way of spending our lunchtime break from the daily grind. I was actually fired, along with my paramour, in the early ’90s for having a routine carnal meet and greet in the comfort station on the 9th floor that provided just the right motivation for the remaining hours of the daily grind. There needs to be an advocacy for the rights of the oppressed office chump to engage in the best form of recreation that a lunch hour can provide, without the fallout from the uptight ruling class.

Ah yes, the eternal struggle of the oppressed office chump against the uptight ruling class. Except usually that doesn’t involve quite so much bathroom sex. I hate to say it, but bathroom etiquette is all about not bothering other people. And you know what bothers people at work? Other people having sex in the bathroom. No, I don’t think this is creepy in the same way that masturbation in a public bathroom is, but it’s still not something that is generally okay – especially not at work.

Sorry to rain on your parade!

PS: Obviously this guy has cleaner work bathrooms than I do!

September 26, 2012   No Comments

Bathroom Rainbow

This actually happened in my very own bathroom.


September 19, 2012   No Comments

They Just Keep Adding More Towels

A few days ago a couple of ex-coworkers of mine sent me a few pictures of the toilet in the women’s bathroom where they still work, with the caption being simply “they just keep adding more towels“:

While admittedly a little gross, I thought this was a reasonably amusing situation that would get resolved within a couple of days. Toilets leak and people fix leaking toilets all the time, right?

Wrong. This is the picture I received about a week after the first one:

Yikes! Not only has the toilet not been fixed, it has quite literally disconnected itself from the wall and is now lying on it’s side on the floor. But here’s the real kicker: it’s not even officially out of order! The bathroom is so neglected that there isn’t even a warning sign. And yes, that is water that you see in the bowl.

No word yet on how many people have tried to use the toilet in its current state, or how successful they have been…

PS: I thought about naming names here, but decided against it. The ICBE isn’t really out to publicly shame any person or organization (feel free to go through our archives to see how consistent we are with that one), and I’m going to optimistically hope that this is the result of budget cuts and lack of facilities staffing as opposed to sheer contempt for the employees.

September 11, 2012   1 Comment

Lack of Sanitation

Is it a sweet infographic on the global lack of sanitation or a crazy SEO scheme to drive people to From what I can tell, it seems to be both. @ohtinytony sent along a reminder of just how bad the water sanitation situation is for so many people in the world:

Click to see the full graphic

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an online nursing school to apply to!

May 15, 2012   No Comments

People Ask the Strangest Questions

User brudenell at

Back in Oct. 2009 I asked this question: Seeking size of world market . The question went unanswered. Now I am back instead of looking for facts I seek a reasonable guesstimate (an estimate arrived at by guesswork or conjecture) backed by how you arrived at the number, vcialis 40mg pilule to roughly arrive at a market size.

My question: How many restroom / lavatory / WC stalls are there in the world with a locking door? In many countries stalls exist with no doors. I only wish the number to be units that include doors.

Why in the world would somebody want to know that? My guess is that brudenell has invented a new toilet door locking mechanism and wants an estimate of the global market for an investor pitch.

Read the responses or contribute your own!

via mhh5th

May 13, 2012   No Comments

Public Bathrooms, #2 and Locking the Door

Concerned reader G.W. writes the following:

OK – I have read through your site and I have run into a question on bathroom etiquette I haven’t yet seen addressed anywhere.

At work
The men’s bathroom has one stall and one urinal.
The men’s bathroom door locks.

Here is my thinking…

Acceptable multiple person use: (Reason to leave the door unlocked)
I am going in to do #1 and am the only occupant, I use the urinal, leaving the stall open for use.
I am going in to do #1 and the urinal is occupied, I use the stall and try and take long enough for urinal user to wash up and leave before heading to the single sink.
I am going in to wash hands only.

Situations for single use only: (reasons to lock door or leave and come back later)
I am going in to do #2 and am the only occupant, I use the stall but have locked the bathroom door so that no one else can enter the bathroom.
I am going in to do #2 and the urinal is occupied, I go to the stall and try and take long enough for “setup” that urinal user has time to wash up and leave before I get down to business. (someone with good etiquette would lock the bathroom door behind them so no one else is subjected to nasal collateral damage upon entering.)
I am going in to do #2 and the stall is occupied. The user is not practicing good etiquette. I lock the door for them and come back later or head to the other bathroom in the adjacent building.

So the reason I am writing is that I am taking flack for locking the door in the above situations. Am I out of line?

I don’t think I am and here is why…
When I lock the door I know what I am going to be doing in there. I don’t want company and believe me, they don’t want to be that company. Nothing about it is a bonding experience nor something I care to share. The same goes for when I walk in and someone is in the locked stall but the bathroom door is unlocked. I am instantly angry! Why? Why did you leave the bathroom door unlocked and assault me with your stench? Why couldn’t you have just stopped me outside the door with the simple press of a door handle button lock? Did you know what you were going to do when you went in there?

I won’t be offended that the door is locked. I am happy you spared me the disgust and revolt of having to have smelt what you have dealt!

Thank you very much!

(My hat is off to you, this stuff is complicated!) Keep up the good work

I’ve got to say, this is one of the most interesting and most difficult questions I have ever received. First of all though, I want to address this issue of the locking door. I’m surprised it’s possible to lock the door for another person. Wouldn’t this result in the potential situation where you lock the door, leave, there’s nobody in there and thus the bathroom is locked up with no way to enter it? Is this a pseudo-lock like you often find in homes which can be easily opened with a paperclip? It just seems like a very unusual setup for a public bathroom.

But let’s forget about that, because it really isn’t crucial to the question. We know the bathroom has a lock, and let’s assume that it is used perfectly and the door is never locked with nobody inside. The real question is, should somebody lock the door when they are doing a #2? Well to answer that we have to get to the root of what etiquette is all about.

Etiquette is about being concerned with other people.

In the context of a public bathroom, this generally means trying to minimize the negative impact your actions are having on other people, because let’s face it – there aren’t a lot of positive ways you can affect somebody by going pee or poo (unless the #2 mitigates a gassy afternoon at the office, but that’s another story for another time).

So let’s consider this action of door locking from the perspective not of the person doing the #2, but of the other people.


  1. Nobody has to listen to the sound of you doing a #2, which can be pretty gross
  2. The impact of the stench is abated


  1. People have to wait to use urinal and/or sink

But which of the above is most important? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Clearly for G.W. they do. He’s a proponent of locking the door because he feels people are better off waiting outside for him to finish his business. The thing is, by his own admission G.W. is “taking flack for locking the door”, which implies the other people aren’t impressed.

And I think that’s really the bottom line. Despite his best intentions, G.W. is taking flack for his actions, and so the people have spoken. People would rather be assaulted by the stench than have to wait a couple minutes to go pee.

The flip side of course is that G.W. himself would rather wait. So the ideal circumstance is that he leaves the door unlocked, but that other people lock the door if they think he’s going to need to go pee, but it’s impossible to predict when that will happen.

And speaking of the stench, it’s hard to know how much it helps to not be present during the actual event. Most public bathrooms don’t exactly have great ventilation, so I’m not convinced that it’s any less stinky to go pee right after somebody finishes going #2 than it is while they are actually going #2.

March 4, 2012   4 Comments

Tucking Your Shirt Back In

Let’s assume that you are wearing a shirt that needs to be tucked in. Now let’s further assume that you need to perform a #2 in public. Naturally, as part of the process, that shirt is going to become untucked. When do you think is the appropriate time to tuck it back in, before you exit the stall or after you exit the stall?

Here’s a hint: It’s not after!

This tip may or may not be based on my recent personal experiences…

February 23, 2012   No Comments