Monday, January 11, 2010

Proper Ettiquette

I've had a few conversations recently with some close friends, close enough to be readers of this blog anyway. They have expressed concern that I hold no regard for my career safety, due to the nature of some of my posts.

In an effort to assuage their concerns, this post will have nothing to do with my work, although it will have to do with office conduct. Don't worry, I'll keep it respectable.

The topic for today is urinals and the mens' room.

More specifically, about the all too frequent breaches in decency that occur within.

Now I know, it's a mens' room, and we can't expect very much, even in a professional environment.

People will still throw their garbage on the floor. People will still make a mess of the soap dispensers. And for some god unknown reason, sober men will continue to...umm...let a couple pitches get away from them.

But that pales in comparison to the fact that some people, and I won't say who, but some, feel that it's perfectly acceptable to talk to you when you're in there.

Now, I'm not talking about some chit chat while you're both at the sink, and I'm not referring to a casual how's it going when you cross paths at the door.

No, I'm talking about full on talking while you're, um, occupado.

The official urinal rules for men are quite clear on the subject. They aren't officially printed anywhere as far as I know. I think it's just one of those things you're supposed to naturally understand, like how people getting hit in the crotch is funny. No one tells you it's funny, it just is.

Similarly, there are a few simple rules.

1 - When entering a mens room, if there is someone at a urinal, then you go occupy the urinal that is absolutely furthest away. I don't care if that far urinal is on fire and shooting poison darts...that's where you go.

2 - When you are at the urinal itself. There is exactly one direction to look (forward) and exactly no things that are necessary to say. None. Not negotiable.

I mean sure, we've all probably blurted out a few words when we've had a bit to drink. I'm not saying we're all perfect.

But in a professional setting, please don't approach the urinal as if it's a water cooler or coffee machine to be talked around. One could argue it's the exact opposite. Now that I think about it, if you are drinking whatever you're standing around, then feel free to chat. And if that thing happens a urinal, then talking in the bathroom will be the least awkward moment you have that day.

I say this because my peers at the firm and I have had long debates on the subject, and it frequently comes up because people keep chatting away.

Today, as I was in what I'll term the 'disengagement' phase of the process, a senior member of the firm gave me a cheerful hello. It surprised me, because I was obviously in full-on back out mode and was even giving the reverse counter-clockwise spin to avoid facing him.

Of course, he was a senior guy at the firm, so I returned his greeting, and got the hell out of there (don't worry, it was after I washed my hands)

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