How to Use a Public or Shared Restroom Since It's Pretty Clear You Don't Have a Goddamn ClueS

Don't you just love modern conveniences? Drunken nights and certain New York neighborhoods aside, for the most part, we have progressed past pissing and shitting in the street. The toilet and the sewer system! A thing of beauty. Neat, quick, clean disposal of the excrement and detritus human existence is plagued by. If you live alone, in your own home, you may do as you wish with your commode. But if you have roommates, if you work in an office, or if you visit public establishments — bars, restaurants, museums and the like — you may, perchance, need to heed the call of nature in a public or shared restroom. We have, in our travels, visited some of these toilets, and it has become clear to us that folks do not understand how to behave in them.

What follows should not be necessary. But it is, and we are deeply disappointed we even have to do this. Nevertheless, consider this a refresher course, a guide, to be memorized, forwarded and shared as needed.

Basically, a good policy is the following:

You should try to leave a restroom in the condition you would wish to find it.

Occasionally, you may enter a restroom in which the policy must be abandoned — the plastic shell of shame known as the porta pottie, for instance, or a particularly filthy bar toilet. In those cases, do not dilly-dally; just get in and out as quickly as possible and beg the gods of feculence for mercy.

For all other cases, here is your guide.

Urination

aka Pissing, aka Number 1, aka Taking A Leak, aka Seeing A Man About A Horse

Urine is supposed to go in the water inside the toilet.
"Pish posh," you say. "Everyone knows that." Oh really? Then why the fuck is there urine on the toilet seat and on the restroom floor approximately all the fucking time? A great poet once said:
If you sprinkle
When you tinkle
Please be neat
And wipe the seat

This applies to men, women, and children of all ages.

For the men: It is neither necessary nor interesting for us, as women, to understand why you can't hit the fucking target. We only request that if you do not, you clean up after yourself. This includes the floor. Wrap some toilet paper around your hand and wipe down the seat; drop some tissue or a paper towel on the floor and use your foot to move it around, then pick it up and dispose of it in the proper receptacle. Easy. Now you are a real man. Your mother would be proud. The universe will reward you.

What's that you say? You're not picking a dirty tissue up off the floor because it's filthy? Why sweat it, when you're about to wash your hands. Oh, you're not washing your hands properly, are you. Washing your hands is not wetting your hands. Washing your hands involves hot water and soap lather. You're an adult in a world of communicable diseases. Just do it.

Ladies: The instructions above apply to you as well. Maybe you're in a greasy spoon on the edge of town and you'd rather be set on fire than sit down on the toilet seat. Fine. It's not like you can actually catch an STD from a toilet seat. But whatever. If, by squatting, you miss or splatter, please, for the love of theoretical sterility, wipe the seat. And/or the floor. Piss it forward. You are a real woman. Your mother would be proud. The universe will reward you.

What's that you say? You're not picking a dirty tissue up off the floor because it's filthy? Why sweat it, when you're about to wash your hands. Oh, you're not washing your hands properly, are you. Washing your hands is not wetting your hands. Washing your hands involves hot water and soap lather. You're an adult in a world of communicable diseases. Just do it.

After urination: The ideal scenario would be to close the toilet lid, flush the toilet, wash your hands, and go on about your day. However. Sometimes there is no toilet lid. In that case, just make a quick visual sweep of the area, make sure you're not leaving droplets on the seat or floor, then wash your hands and go. Should you splash water around while washing your hands, you truly ought to give the sink counter a quick swipe with your towel as you're leaving — nothing like leaning on a counter top and getting a wet spot on your shirt because some sloppy brat left the sink area a wreck. It's a special kind of loathsome narcissism that allows people to leave a public/shared restroom a mess after a quick pee break. Newsflash: You are not the only person on the planet.

All of this can happen very quickly and shouldn't take more than 60 seconds of time. If you're worried about germs, carry some hand sanitizer. But just realize you're gonna catch something a lot nastier from the ATM machine than you are from the loo.

Defecation

aka Shitting, aka Pooping, aka Dropping The Kids Off At The Pool, aka Taking A Dump, aka Taking the Browns To The Super Bowl

Feces are supposed to go in the water inside the toilet.
Remember the policy: Leave things as you wish to find them. Should something go awry, do your very best to clean up. Don't slink away thinking, shit, I destroyed it in there. If possible, flush while pushing the wood chucks out of the hole. It helps with odor control, and if one flush is all organic waste, the next can be just tissue, cleaning the bowl as it goes down. Diarrhea? Splatter? Sorry, man. Sucks. But wipe the underneath of the seat down. Flush with the lid down. Don't be rude. If you know you're going to fuck shit up real good, take some matches with you. At work, you can keep a spraycan of air freshener in your "special" stall. Be considerate.

Skidmarks: Unacceptable. Flush again. Put a couple of squares of toilet paper in the bowl, let them get wet, and then flush them — they should wipe the bowl and clean the marks away. If the water just isn't quite hitting the turd trails, you may be dealing with one of the new, shallow, low-water toilets. You may have to wrap your fingertips in toilet paper and wipe the bowl. Done properly, your fingers will not actually be touching shit, so relax. You're gonna be washing your hands in a sec. You can also twist up a length of TP to make some kind of stick or rake, depending on what your issues are. The point is: Fucking clean up after yourself. Christ.

Other Issues

Mirrors

Don't hog the mirror. Don't make eye contact unless invited to do so. Don't kiss the mirror.

Pubes

If there's a pubic hair on the seat, it just doesn't seem clean. Are you shedding? Leaving pubes behind? It only takes a second to glance and check before you leave the stall. Don't leave pubes behind.

Flatulence

If you're in one stall and can hear someone else is ripping and tooting and making all kinds of bubble wrap sounds, just be kind and expedient and hurry and get the fuck out of there. She does not want to see you when she comes out. If you're the one farting like a ten cent whoopie cushion, time your exit from the stall carefully, keep eye contact at a minimum. It's for the best.

Menstruation

Never leave blood on the seat. There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women by wiping up menstrual blood. Wrap applicators and pads in TP before throwing them away.

Toilet Won't Flush/Toilet's Clogged

Tell someone who can help. ASAP. You can even ask someone in the next stall to do you a favor and inform a maintenance person so that when you're on your way out of the restroom, someone with a plunger is on their way in. Just say something, and don't slink away hoping for the best, you asshole.

In Closing

You know what you've done, and you know you can do better. Be the change you want to see in the world. There's no time like the present. Abandon your lazy, piss-poor, self-centered, half-flushing ways and see the light, bright and white as a gleaming new toilet bowl. We're watching you. And taking notes.