Pointers on male toilet etiquette abound. Only look straight ahead, don’t make conversation – or if you do it must only be about sports – yada yada.
What though, of the lesser explored area of female toilet etiquette? And specifically, ladies’ toilet etiquette in the workplace?
You might think none is required. I mean, it’s all very straightforward. There are cubicles. Each person goes into a cubicle and locks the door. They do their business, wash their hands and leave. Simple.
Unless of course, someone throws a spanner in the works. Riddle me this:
I was in the (fairly small, two-cubicle) toilets at work on Tuesday morning washing my hands. A colleague who I know only vaguely walks in and asks me how my meeting was. I tell her yes, it was fine and she asks another work-related question.
So far, so what you might ask. BUT – between question one and question two, she has walked into a cubicle and locked the door behind her. I am thrown. Am I meant to continue normal workday chit-chat while she’s in a cubicle? All rules have gone out the window.
I answer question two and hope that signals the end of the conversation. I am wrong. She continues to chatter at me from the other side of the cubicle door. I mumble a non-commital closing remark and hastily exit the bathroom.
Is this normal? Are people in offices so used to a don’t-waste-a-minute multi-tasking frenzied approach to the day that they now conduct conversation while performing their routine bodily functions? What’s the correct erm, toilettequette?
(As an aside, it turns out I’m not the only one who has hit on the HILARIOUS! word, “toiletiquette.” Check this out. Perhaps someone needs to suggest a “No talking please” sticker.)