Restroom Personas

As a guy having an experience of more than two decades using public restrooms, I have come to understand (long time ago), the unwritten rules of men's restroom. However, it isn't uncommon to find people violating some of those rules giving rise to a variety of aberrations which are listed here as restroom personas. The aberrations can fall in more than one categories and in extreme case where they fall into too many such categories it may give rise to an extreme situation like this.

I have been thinking for and against publishing this post for quite some time because at some (or may be every) level it sounds too silly. But, lack of any other post (my job change blog is taking more energy and time than I thought it would) is making me post this one. Like Theodore Roosevelt said

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing

So here are the categories, in no particular order, in which I have broadly divided people found in bathrooms:

The diligent ones: This the most common category of all. These people come quietly, pick the right spot (this is important), do their due diligence in getting in the position, follow all the rules/steps of the chore, deliver the result and go back quietly, oblivious to anything happening around them. As focused as Arjun while shooting the bull's (fish') eye.

Auto-pilots: These guys break one of the most fundamental, unwritten and rarely discussed rule of peeing, they go auto-pilot. I hope you know what I mean. Now this is quite risky and makes you wonder what is it that is making them take this risk. Well, there are a few more categories that might help demystify their motivations.

Communicators: These guys don't shy away from accepting calls while doing it. Implicitly they are also auto-pilots most of the time or at least partially all the time while they talk. The extreme ones even initiate calls, may be in an attempt to save time. Talk about multi-tasking.

Balancers: This is a very rare category but since I have seen more than one such case, I am making it a category. Generally, this category will be found only in India, because it needs separators around the urinals to come on to their own. These guys love to put both of their hands (elbows) on the partitions for support apparently 'hanging'. Obviously they are auto-pilots too.

Socializers: Talking while peeing has the same equation as drinking and driving. One must eliminate the possibility of the other. In worst case scenario, if people have to, they just smile or make a small talk. In short they try and minimize it. However, not the case with socializers, they not only get engaged in animated discussion but sometimes even stand in the urinal longer than required waiting for the other person to finish and continue the discussion.

The Curious Crows: They look around to see who else is there in the area, sometimes turning their head sideways and even backwards. If they are socializers too, they might even strike a conversation with an acquaintance.

Invaders: This is again a very rare category rarer than the balancers, but again, since I have seen more than one such case, it gets listed. It is more evident in Indian restrooms where there are separators between urinals. For these James Bondish guys, one urinal is not enough, so they spread their legs wide (I tried unsuccessfully to think of an alternate phrase for this), sometimes reaching the neighboring urinals, making the fellow pee-ers uncomfortable. In an ideal world, you won't have anyone in your adjacent urinal, but let's face it, we don't live in an ideal world.

Farters: Without sounding discriminating, this category seems to enjoy a bigger population outside India, at least in the circles in which I go around. They come to restroom on the pretext of pissing, though they have an ulterior motive which understandably doesn't remain private for long. Well, its still better than doing it at the place where you sit. If it sounds unbelievable, I have heard of such people from a first hand victim. The case in point comes within US jurisdiction.

Having written about these categories, the next logical question that may come to anyone's mind is what category would I fall into. I sure, wouldn't like to be called a pee-ping tom because I clearly am not. To all my fellow men who are ardent believer of men's room rules like me, let me clarify my position. All these observations are not a result of any act of active curiosity or invasion or socializing in restroom, but comes from in-your-face-couldn't-help-but-notice (not literally) experiences that the writer has been through.

Comments (1)

Observations + Humour = Great Post. While I was reading I could co-relate. Thinking which category I fall in :-)