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.)
You turn your back for one blog posting and before you know it six months have whirled by and lots has happened.
Still, that is all by the by, as my mission here – which I have woefully neglected recently – is to tell it like it is. And this I will endeavour to do from now on. It’s good for the soul (not yours, mine).
I will merely recap my past half a year in pictoral form. Here’s a selection of what went down:
That’s that – normal service will be resumed shortly.
Another day, another Britney-ism. She really does just sum up “life” through the medium of song. We should never forget that.
Anyway, what I have gone and done is re-entered the world of the tax-paying, employed masses. Yes, sometime in the near future I will be oiling the wheels of the corporate machine once more. What all this means is that certain things will have to be put on hold, namely:
My career as the nation’s next Nigella. Just as my lemon drizzle muffins were set to take the world by storm.
My “relaxed” daytime attire. Goodbye to going to the shops at lunchtime in an “I heart Guam” T-shirt and Robinson Crusoe-style cut-off trousers. (Sainsbury’s checkout man: “What is Goo-am?”)
My rise to (near) the top of the Celebdaq charts. Does anyone still play this? I must have missed the boat first time round but have become a bit addicted recently. Also provides a very sound reason for buying trashy magazines and reading gossip sites.
The clock’s ticking…I’m off to get some Diamond White.
Have you ever seen a more unlikely headline?
OK, perhaps I am being unfair, but like Britney said, that’s my prerogative. Over the last month or so I have had the dubious pleasure of taking a peek into the wonderful world of the recruitment consultant (“RCs” – actually quite a fitting acronym).
Now, to put things into perspective for a second, what these people are dealing in – day in, day out – is a person’s livelihood, their career and the source of their fulfillment, motivation and moolah. So you would expect a certain level of diplomacy, tact and general care. Not always.
Here are two small examples by way of illustration:
- An RC sends an email including a link to a map of an office where I’m due to go for an interview the next day. Ah, helpful. I click on the link. A map pops up of the place I used to work, six months ago which is on the other side of town to where the interview is, with an entirely unrelated company. Hmm.
An RC asks me to send through contact details for my referees. He notes in brackets that should the company decide to contact my referees, they will “respect the senility this situation demands.” Eh?
Anyway, judge not lest ye be judged and all that. I have dealt with some recruiters who have been very professional and helpful people. And my best friend is one. And I live with one who is very lovely. So they can’t all be bad, right?
As party of my dalliance with “getting a job” I bought a new suit at the weekend. This turned out to be quite an ordeal, mainly because it was sunny and I was hungover and desperate to get to the park, but also because I encountered a total sleaze of a salesman. What follows may sound a bit “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” but really…
After enduring some of his “patter” including interrogation-style questions on what I needed the suit for and then what kind of job I was looking for etc etc I emerged from the changing rooms (why can there not be a mirror inside the room?) to find that the suit I’d picked looked fine except you could see the lining of the pockets through the trousers. Not so good. Mr Sleaze then tried to convince me that he could get the pockets removed that afternoon and attempted all kind of sales chat. I wasn’t convinced and headed back in to get changed.
Out of my earshot, my shopping companion (who had also endured much of his chat) then said something to him like, “If you’re going to spend £100 on a pair of trousers you really want them to look right straight off.” To which he replied “Yeah, especially if you’re out of work.” The cheek! I wish I’d heard this at the time as low blood sugar levels might have caused me to mention that I’m not out of work and add something about how shop assistants slogging it out on a Saturday afternoon in a branch of Reiss don’t really have grounds to comment. But I didn’t. So I’m venting here instead.
Suffice to say, I got a very nice suit elsewhere.
As an editor, I always keep an eye out for inspirational figures in the media. People doing something different and eye-catching. There are some amazing writers and editors out there and I take every chance I get to enjoy their work in books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites.
But if there’s one editor out there that’s really left an impression on me, it’s Nadine Baggot of Olay Regenerist fame. Have you seen her advert? See how she writes in her notepad! See how she points at her interviewee! See how she says long words (“pentapeptides!”). See how her face never, ever moves!
This could be me one day. I dare to dream. But what I need first is a celebrity beauty product without the celebrity price tag. Ah well, baby lotion it is.
Everyone looks forward to getting presents at Christmas, especially from people that know you really well. Will it be something special, something you mentioned earlier in the year, something that’s just perfect for you and you alone… High expectations maybe but I have to say, this Christmas I was slightly surprised to see this gift. A book of hand shadows.
Why? Perhaps this was supposed to help me in job interviews. “Where do I see myself in five years time? Interesting question. Well, if you could just angle that lamp over here..that’s it. No, no, it’s a bird, see? Flying upwards..What? I have to leave? I just got here – can I just show you the alligator? Old Mother Hubbard? No..? Call me!”