Universality of bathroom awkwardness

Disclaimer: This will be the most unpleasant “Tales of Awkward” post to date. For those with weak stomachs, do not proceed. For those brave enough to run into the stinky rabbit hole of filth (and relate to the awkward occurrences, of course!), grab a toilet paper suit and jump in! Hand sanitizer will not be provided at the end of the ride.


Unless you’re a fastidious freak that avoids public bathrooms at all costs (hopefully not, given the disclaimer), the following scenarios apply. Regardless, humor shall ensue. But for the majority of my grimy brethren, you shall know too well of what I speak! These happenings are hard to avoid and creep up on you like the very sinister bowels buried in your being.

Remembering what this is…

The process is called waste reduction. The human body is capped in receiving sustenance and processing material. It must dispose of said materials. Be it a liquid or solid, the organism cannot survive without their departures. You’d think that a process involving the most vile substances produced would have us run to the hills and scream for privacy – no matter the circumstance.

Here is a list of endeavors done in private, yet not as disgusting (Level of disgustingness is the judgment of the author):

– Sex (the self-satisfaction version)

– Picking your nose

– Clipping toe/finger nails

– Bathing (unless you are kink-tastic)

– Checking for a hemorrhoid (debatable if this is less disgusting…)

Reminder – you’re body is removing WASTE. That is discarded and unwanted material. Your body’s little chemistry lab is saying, “AH! Get this crap out of here! Contamination will ruin us! To the bowels it goes!”

Ah, let’s do it together, why the hell not?

Because we’re an economical and efficient society (and have been for generations stacked on generations), public bathrooms became a necessity. If we want malls, movie theaters, sports stadiums, public transit centers, office buildings, or giant retail outlets to remain economically viable, public bathrooms are a necessity. No one is going to want to leave their home ever, right? “I have to dump – I have to go, man. Sorry!” Imagine the anarchy…traffic would never end…everyone would be driving home to go to the bathroom. Running around frantically. Screaming at each other. Something we just can’t have…

We collectively sucked it up and said, “Yeah, I can pee next to this guy. Just make sure there is a mini-wall to separate us!” And thankfully we did, because Martin Scorsese movies wouldn’t be as well attended at the theater (Author’s Note: Martin Scorsese films are traditionally long).

Like any time a bunch of desperate humans are in one place with zero patience, and no other option, craziness and awkward are sitting in the shadows and ready to pounce. For those who have extensive public bathroom experience, the following scenarios will surely hit too close to home…Or as I call them: The Seven Deadly Awkward Bathroom Sin-arios…

Sin-ario 1 (Male or female bathroom)

– You’re sitting on the pot at work, ready to unload a stressful morning of excess coffee. The bathroom is silent, not a soul nearby. You’re waiting for the bomb to go off and the slight nerves in your larger intestine feel the impending doom. As you crescendo, the door swings open and those footsteps of terror step closer and closer to the stalls. Here are your subsequent thoughts: God dammit! I was just about to drop! Why couldn’t I just do it faster? No, I didn’t want to suffer a hernia. Oh man, I hope he’s out of here soon. Dammit, should I wait until he flushes the toilet…then I can fire away. But what if the flush isn’t loud enough? Ah!! 

Sin-ario 2 (Male bathroom)

– You’ve been to this bathroom before and know there are three urinals. Before you walk in, you see a gentleman trailing you to the bathroom. Ah, yes, great minds think alike. Get this bladder pressure taken care of, good sir! He appreciates the kindness you display upon opening the door and says, “Thanks.” Instead of taking one of the corner urinals, this jerk plops his fat ass in front of the middle urinal. This begs the question, “What mental illness is he suffering from?”

Sin-ario 3 (Male or female bathroom)

– Similar to the previous scenario, two people enter the bathroom at nearly the same time. Yeah, it’s someone you know, but not too well. This lack of familiarity says plain and simple: do not talk to each other. But, of course, this chatterbox starts spouting off about the weather or the traffic – two things that probably sucked that day. You don’t want to talk to this person because you’re trying to focus on relieving yourself. Just a note – During the process, no words should ever be uttered in the bathroom: Unwritten rule of society (frequently and egregiously violated). This person keeps yapping and all you can reply with is, “Yeah.” Excessive talking for males requires a head turn toward the person at the urinal. We are just like dogs. We don’t like people watching. Quit the talking, do your business, get out. This is like a construction project, not the neo-watercooler.

Sin-ario 4 (Female bathroom)

– The only exception to the aforementioned unwritten rule is during the “fresh up” period set at a female bathroom. It’s only natural for two female friends to converse – the discussion should be focused on appearance adjustments and reapplication of makeup. At times, this conversation could pivot to a person of mutual dislike. I mean, who doesn’t love a little gossip? As you are laying down serious wood on said individual, she walks into the bathroom…knowing full-well that you are talking about her. The door isn’t a 24-inch steel door from Fort Knox. It’s the cheapest the building could find. Conversation immediately goes to weather or traffic. (Author’s Note: Females have mastered the art of seamless segue)

Sin-ario 5 (Male or female bathroom)

– You’re washing your hands (because you’re not an animal), and an individual is doing the “Old No. 2.” This person is finishing up and comes out proud of his or her recent disposal. Without hesitation, this person decides to forgo the sanitary option of soap and water. Instead, hands run through their hair. No matter where you are (office building or mall or middle of the desert and this person owns the last canteen of water known to man..), avoid that son of a bitch like the plague.

Sin-ario 6 (Male or female bathroom)

– I really don’t need to be washing my hands and listening to the description of your fecal matter. I don’t care if it’s horrendously green or black and you’re concerned about your health. Those little unprocessed peanuts are there because you’ve filled too much crap in your body and those peanuts attached to the log didn’t make the nutritional cut. Spare me the details and go entertain your doctor with your recent health problem.

Sin-ario 7 (Male bathroom – specifically “social” urinal setting)

– Far too often males are subjected to social urinals – most notably at sports stadiums. You know, those times where we just feel like peeing together, chatting up the big game, and having a good laugh (no, no, not at the expense of our members – that’s a sacrilege!). But some are a tad timid with their tinkle…This individual will stand in line, heart palpitating to no end because he knows that anything short of peeing your pants before unzipping will result in a phantom peeing production. Our timid tinkler will go as far as waiting in line for a solid 5 minutes, getting to the tub of pooled urine, pulling it out, waiting for a seemingly eternal 30 seconds, animate a “giggle,” and zip up. No disposal. No relief. Just pain and unredeemable shame. Hopefully, booze infiltrating your next-door neighbor’s body mitigates his judgment…one can hope…

Bathroom quick hits:

– How horrible is it when there’s no soap or paper towels?

– Bathroom? I don’t bathe. Restroom? I don’t really “rest.” Toilet? Close, but I don’t like it. Too Euro…

– Whoever keeps blowing snotrockets near the urinals, stop it. I almost puke every time I see one.

– Just because it’s a bathroom and we have a one (or more) urinal buffer, don’t think farting is less disgusting than if I were sitting right next to you at a sports game or in a meeting.

– Why do women’s bathrooms look like Day Spas and men’s bathrooms are treated like a Detroit bus depot?

– I love when urinals contain ice – it’s like a competition of how much can I melt. Unless it’s flooding with ice and my urine ricochets back onto my pants…

– Number Two is on the way, and the entrance to the Men’s Bathroom has no door and neighbors the Woman’s Bathroom. Pretty girl walks in at the same time. Guess what? I have to pee now, and find the next bathroom.

Peeing and thinking you have to flagellate is a dangerous proposition.


Did I miss something? Please share! It’s always a pleasant conversation!


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  • 1. I thought that the computer age meant work at home. Nonetheless, we need public bathrooms because...
    2. The alternative seems to be to take a crap on an CTA rail car or pee on a Pace Bus.
    3. Sin-ario 6: One time I had a real red one and wondered if it was colon cancer or I ate too much beanless chili at at BBQ place 18 hours before. Since it didn't happen again, I hope the latter.

    I'll add:
    The atomic flusher, which either doesn't work, goes off before you can get the toilet paper in the bowl, or leaves something from the previous user. Especially aggravating if there isn't an alternate push button or lever.

    The baby changing station. Can I change a baby for a free Zumba lesson?

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