[Written by Crabby, with help from The Bag Lady and Cara].
Does anyone really like using public restrooms?
Except for certain closeted male politicians, most of us generally prefer the facilities in our own homes to those used by others. But as a practical matter, that's not always an option. If we want to leave our humble homes for hours at a time, we must learn to share with strangers.
Of course the hygiene horrors of public toilets may be somewhat exaggerated in our imaginations. There are articles written all the time about how toilet seats are actually less germ-ridden than, say, steering wheels or cell phones or drinking fountains. (This may seem reassuring, or it may keep you from ever wanting to drive, talk on the phone, or drink water ever again.)
Anyway, here to help Crabby whine about Public Restrooms are two brave bloggers who are not afraid to discuss their reflections on these very private matters. And Crabby, who loves to complain just on principle, has some Restroom-Related Ranting of her own to add.
And if you're reading this over a meal? So sorry! You may want to put that meatball sandwich down for a moment. Or perhaps find a nicer blog than this one. Or check out the sidebar, where there are plenty of posts about health and fitness with no toilets in them at all.
So--what's there to dislike about public restrooms?
The Bag Lady does not approve of germs:
One of the Bag Lady’s worst germ phobias involves public toilets. She hates public toilets. She has determined where the best facilities are, and will make her way to those particular stores when the need arises. These are the places where the toilets are actually somewhat cared for. They are also the ones that use paper towels.
Paper towels are indispensable in the Bag Lady’s routine. She can’t exit the public washroom without them! In the rare instances where she has had to use a public washroom where there are none (either they have one of those germ-infested round cloth towel dispensers, or one of those ridiculous time-wasting hot-air blowers), she has been known to stand just inside the door, waiting for someone else to enter so she can leave without touching the door handle.
She also remembers her mother’s admonishments to never, ever sit on a public toilet seat. This was all fine and good when the Bag Lady was young and in good shape. She could hover with the best of them. Now that she is a little older (and much odder), and has a bad hip, the hovering is still within her ability, but she has a little difficulty with height. And the length of time she can hover is not what it used to be. Her hip starts to ache, and she sometimes lets out an involuntary moan. This causes her to wonder what the lady in the next stall might be thinking. She lives in dread of the day she loses her balance and her butt actually touches the toilet seat.
Once she has finished, she then faces the dilemma of how to flush the toilet without actually touching the handle! In some cases, she solves this with a couple squares of toilet paper, but sometimes she is forced to use her foot. Then, of course, she has to get out of the stall. Most public washroom stalls are so tiny, one needs to straddle the now flushing toilet, which is, of course, spewing germs and water all over the stall, and the Bag Lady is in fear that the damned thing is going to run over, flooding the entire place before she can escape!
Yikes! Thanks for sharing, Bag Lady!
And so what else do we hate about Public Toilets?
Lack of Privacy!
There are rules for visiting Public Facilities, and we're not just talking about waiting your turn, closing the stall door, and washing your hands afterwards. Some are unwritten rules. Cara, who blogs over at Cheaper Than Therapy, tells an amusing story of an unfortunate bathroom situation. The full post is here, but Cara kindly allowed Crabby to steal a couple paragraphs for use at Cranky Fitness, classy blog that it is.
As Cara explains:
Recently, I found myself involved, albeit silently, in a very odd bathroom situation, and it occurred to me that there are apparently some women out there who are unaware of the rules. So, I am here to offer some friendly advice. If there is a woman in the stall next to you waiting quietly for you to leave, then that is exactly what you should do. Leave her alone in peace. One day, it will be you in there, begging with tacit hand gestures and desperate foot stomps for someone else to do the same. It is all about karma.
I absolutely hate doing a number two in public. I have driven home from the mall, and from Target, and from friends' houses with my insides in knots, just to avoid the horror of doing what I consider to be world's most private deed in public. My friend at the office and I have even coined it a "Number 9" referring to the un-leased floor in our old building where it could be done confidentially. Consequently, we have openly lamented the fact that there is no suitable 9th floor-like replacement bathroom in our new building, although the Number 9 moniker stuck.
Thanks to Cara, Crabby will now forever think of this unfortunately timed phenomenon as the need "to do a Number 9." Check out Cara's blog to read the full post.
And what does Crabby dislike most about Public Toilets?
It's amazing isn't it? You go to restroom, sometimes even in the fanciest of places, but when people get in the privacy of their own stalls? Some of them are pigs!
[Actually, Crabby does not know if Men are Pigs, as this is more accurately a Women's Public Restroom post].
Anyway, you know what I'm talking about.
Some people don't flush.
They throw stuff on the ground.
And who hasn't figured out by now that you can't flush paper towels down a toilet without backing it up? Why would you even try when there are trash cans provided?
All these annoyances pale, however, besides the ultimate horror: finding pee all over the seats.
Believe it or not, not all people are lifelong Hoverers like the Bag Lady. Crabby was not admonished as a youngster never to sit on the seat, and has never felt comfortable trying to perch over it. She uses rigorous hand-washing and denial as additional defenses against toilet seat germs. (Yes, she knows washing her hands won't disinfect her thighs, but it all seems related somehow). She only hovers when absolutely necessary. Instead, she generally sits. This means she must ensure that what she sits upon is not befouled, and must make do with toilet paper and those flimsy paper covers to render the seat usable.
This was easier back in the days when more people also sat. (Surely there must be others like her, or else why would they ever even have bothered trying to supply seat covers?)
But, now, it seems many more mothers are telling their children never to sit on toilet seats, because it seems the ranks of the Hoverers has grown. Perhaps Crabby will have to join them one day. But there is a right way and a wrong way to hover, and the new generation of Hoverers needs to know this: You Aren't Supposed to Tinkle All over the Seats and Just Walk Out and Leave it There for Someone Else to Clean Up.
If you can't hover without sprinkling on the seat, for goodness sake, lift it up!
[Note: The Bag Lady has assured us that she is the Good kind of hoverer, not the Evil kind].
So has Crabby just publicly humiliated herself by admitting she is the last female on earth left who still sits down on toilet seats? And do any of you have other complaints or observations about public toilets?