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P-Tree: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

The Roskilde Festival in Denmark used to have a little bit of a problem with people peeing on the sides of trees.

Now they simply have the P-Tree:

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or at the very least provide them with some urinals, and improve the situation for everyone. No word on what the full-bladdered female is supposed to do…

via Metafilter

July 8, 2011   1 Comment

Public Bathrooms and Children

One of the subjects that is coming up more and more is that of accompanying children in public bathrooms. When a mother accompanies her daughter, or when a father accompanies his son it’s pretty straightforward, but when it’s mother/son or father/daughter things becomes a little more complicated. The main rule when taking your opposite-gendered child to the bathroom is this:

You go to your bathroom, no theirs. Fathers take daughters to the men’s bathroom, mother’s take sons to the women’s bathroom.

The tricky question is how old does a child need to be for this practice to become inappropriate? Though honestly that’s not the real question, the real question is how old does a child need to be before they can safely be allowed to go to a public bathroom alone? Because as a parent myself I can assure you that safety will win out over impropriety every time.

That’s a question that I don’t intend to answer right now, and is going to vary from child to child, parent to parent and situation to situation (not all public bathrooms are created equally). What I will say is that I’m a big fan of family bathrooms and one person bathrooms which eliminate these problems and concerns.

Now alert reader Roger recently asked a related and very important question:

What is the proper thing to do when you enter a public restroom, a man is at the wash basins with a young daughter, and the urinals are close by. Do you step up to the urinal or wait until they leave? This has happened to me several times.

That’s a tricky one. When the man and his daughter entered the bathroom, there could have been men at the urinal. When they exited the stall (presumably the father and/or daughter went pee in a stall in this case) there could have been men at the urinal. So while possibly a little uncomfortable, there is certainly precedence for men to use the urinals while the daughter is present. But should you start to use the urinals while the daughter is at the sink, especially if the sink is close by?

In general the answer is no. There are obvious exceptions, like the urinals and sinks being in virtually separate rooms, but as a general rule if there is a female child using the sinks in the men’s room, and the urinals are close by, you should wait. The time spent at the sinks is almost always very short, so in this case it’s best just to play it safe and bide your time until the father and daughter have finished up and left.

June 19, 2011   3 Comments

John Just Doesn’t Get Bathroom Etiquette

Annoyed reader John writes the following:

I’m not going to be hateful here. But just what are you really afraid of? That’s what does etiquette thing is really all about. What’s bad or horrible thing will happen to you in that brief 60 seconds of your day standing next to someone else? Seriously of all the challenging things in life, is this really one of them? Put some genuine thought into that.

Obviously everybody is more than welcome to our own thoughts and opinions on bathroom etiquette, but to suggest that I, the President of the International Center for Bathroom Etiquette hasn’t put some “genuine thought into that” is, well, rather silly. My job here at the ICBE consists of pretty much nothing but thinking about bathroom etiquette, and let me assure you I am good at my job.

So the answers to your questions John:

Q: What are you really afraid of?
A: Nothing, it’s just nice to have some proper behavior in the bathroom.

Q: What bad or horrible thing will happen?
A: Nothing, it’s just nice to not have to pee right beside somebody else.

Q: Is this really a challenging thing in life?
A: Heck no!

Here’s something for you to put some thought into John: Bathroom etiquette isn’t about you, it’s about everybody else that you encounter in the bathroom. It’s about taking their feelings into consideration, and adjusting your behavior to make other people happy, not just yourself.

May 29, 2011   1 Comment

The Loowatt is One Ugly Supertoilet

When you start talking about developing nations, access to clean water and reliable energy are two major problems. The Loowatt takes a crack at both of these problems at once by providing a toilet that converts human waste into natural gas and fertilizer. It doesn’t waste water, it creates fuel, and it takes care of processing human waste – what’s not to love?

The hideous, hideous looks.

Now it’s not clear if every Loowatt is going to look like this (the pictures on the site suggest not), and I understand it is made from human feces, but does it really have to look like a gigantic cylindrical poop? Yuck!

Loowatt Page
More pics of the toilet over at Inhabitat
via mhh5th

May 23, 2011   No Comments

Victoria Beckham in a Loo Roll Dress

It’s a banner week for loo roll dresses here at the ICBE. First it was Pippa Middleton, resplendent in TP and now it’s the lovely Posh Spice, all decked out in loo roll for her baby shower:

Looking good Mrs. Beckham!

Read at I’m Not Obsessed (via

May 10, 2011   No Comments

Pippa Middleton in a Loo Roll Dress

Any excuse to post an article using the term loo roll! Here’s Pippa Middleton, sister of Kate “Duchess of Cambridge” Middleton, on the left at the royal wedding and on the right sporting a loo roll dress during lighter times:

Hate to say it but they did a pretty nice job with that dress!

From the Daily Mail

May 5, 2011   1 Comment

What do the other 61 percent do?

According to a recent Google survey, sales treatment 39% of smartphone users use their phones in the bathroom. Which raises the very important question: What the heck are the other 61% doing?

Read more at TechCrunch (via mhh5th)

April 29, 2011   No Comments

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

Buckshot and Bathrooms

ICBE reader John writes the following:

I was reading what and what not to do in a bathroom . Last year I was in my bathroom and saw a buck out my bathroom window , yes I took the shot while I did my business. Would that be a do or no do ?

I have two trains of thought here. First of all, this sounds like something that happened in your own home, in which case it’s perfectly fine for you to more or less do as you please, since you aren’t disturbing anyone else. With the possible exception of the buck, who unfortunately for him doesn’t really count in terms of bathroom etiquette. That said, I would not condone this behavior for a public bathroom.

I am however moderately confused by the process. Did you have the gun with you in the bathroom? Did you rush out mid-stream to find your gun? Presumably you had to open the window too. Did you wash your hands before you touched all these things? There are some logistical issues which would need to be sorted out in a case like this.

March 2, 2011   No Comments

How are you doing today sir?

Overheard in a men’s bathroom in O’Hare Airport:

How are you doing today sir?
Sorry about that.
Lock your door sir.

-An unlucky member of the housekeeping staff

And that is one of many reasons you should always lock the door when you are using a stall…

February 25, 2011   2 Comments