by Billy Clouse
Maybe it’s just me, but public bathrooms are the most awkward places in the world. Do you socialize with the other people? Do you keep your eyes on the ground the whole time? How do you pass the time when there’s a long line?
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I have three general tips on how to negotiate this strange environment.
1. Don’t talk
Perhaps the worst thing you can do in a bathroom is try to make conversation with someone else. It might be different for women, but most guys don’t want to have a conversation with you while they’re literally holding their dick in their hands.
You might think it eases the tension, but I can assure you it doesn’t, especially if you’re a professor. Most people don’t talk to their teachers if they can avoid it, and the restroom isn’t the place to start a professional relationship.
2. Wash your hands
A lot of people tend to not wash their hands despite scientists showing us that it’s a bad idea, and I’ve seen that this problem is especially prevalent among guys who use urinals.
They walk in, undo their zipper, whip it out, do their business and leave. Yes, it’s more efficient and less gross to you personally than using a stall, and that’s great, but I don’t know why guys would think that it would mean they don’t need to wash their hands.
If you don’t, anytime someone touches a door handle that you’ve touched, they are indirectly grabbing your penis. And maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather not have someone’s genitals all over the school.
3. Don’t ask someone about their gender
Bathrooms are awkward enough for everyone involved, and it’s even worse for transgender individuals. They, like everyone else, just want to get in and out as quickly as possible and with as little interaction with others as they can.
There’s only one person who knows what gender an individual is: themself. You are not the judge of how someone identifies, so as long as they’re leaving you alone, you need to leave them alone.