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Standard Toilet Etiquette (STE)

Posted by lanktank on November 10, 2008

We have these toilet cubicles at work. Like most buildings, they’re your standard white door with the silver lock that you slide from right to left. When these cubicles are empty, the little sign on the other side of the door displays the word, “VACANT” and when it’s locked, the sign goes red and it says, “OCCUPIED.” This indicates that someone is in the toilet.

I have broken this down, piece by piece, because some people, certainly in this office, do not understand what the FACK this means. So what happens is, you’ll be in the toilet cubicle, doing your thing (and let’s be honest, when you’re working, it’s nice to go somewhere quiet and have a little “me time”) when suddenly you hear someone barge in, like you’re under attack and attempt to bash the door down. Not even a polite knock, and can’t you read? It says OCCUPIED!

Why do they do this? What do they think has happened? The door accidently swung shut and magically locked itself? No wank knuckles, there’s someone in there! And don’t blame the wind because everyone knows toilet windows are tiny. That’s another thing I have an issue with, but it’s for another day.

And what is wrong with knocking anyway? It’s a little awkward agreed but not nearly as traumatising as walking in on a person in mid poo. This is just basic STE 101 (Yes, I’m acronym-ing it. It’s the way the world operates now).

Of course the reverse dilemma is when the silver holder the lock slides into is broken. Bound together with 2 tiny screws, it’s hardly a sturdy piece of equipment. Now, the door is unable to remain closed so whose responsibility is it to avoid a misunderstanding between VACANT vs OCCUPIED? This is always a tricky situation; especially for girls because once they sit down they’re too far away from the door to hold it closed and still be able to relieve themselves. Unless they have a friend in the cubicle with them that can keep the door shut. I may be unfolding the very reason why girls go to the bathroom in pairs as I type. But again, this is for another time.

Regardless, whether the door is locked, closed, ajar or even fully open, there are certain rules which should be followed.

Here are your STE steps which every decent human being should abide by. This will avoid cubicle awkwardness and the hours of therapy needed once you’ve witnessed a random stranger wipe their arse:

1. When you’re in the bathroom, check the bottom of all the cubicles for feet. If you see them dangling, case- closed.

2. If the doors go all the way to the bottom then step 1 is out. Your next step is to lean against the cubicle door so your ear is almost touching it (but DO NOT touch the door, that’s disgusting) and try to listen for any sounds or movement in the cubicle e.g. a zipper fastening, toilet paper rolling, that sort of thing. But be quick! If that person opens the door while you’re bent down, looking like you’re listening for Morse code, it might not end so well for you.

3. Knock twice against the door. Not too soft because the person needs to know you’re knocking on their cubicle door but not so loud that you scare the person. Public bathrooms are usually pressurised enough without the fear of someone barging in and catching you at your most vulnerable.

4. Above and beyond all the previously mentioned steps, and because some people STILL don’t answer to the knock – when walking into a cubicle, push the door as slow as you can, so if there is someone in there, they have time to realise the door is opening on them and raise the alarm bells, scream, dive against door or however they choose the react.

These steps allow the public toilet experience to be a safe, comfortable and truly pleasant experience.

Thank you for reading this.

One Response to “Standard Toilet Etiquette (STE)”

  1. Angelique said

    Hahahahahhahhahhaahha – oh Katy you are hilarious and so very talented – I love your stuff and miss you loads – your conversation – the way you write is the way you have a conversation – very entertaining!!!

    wank knuckles – lol
    mid poo – brilliant stuff

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