There’s No Talking In The Men’s Room!

Men's Room - Vista House, Crown Point, OR via Acroterion | Wikimedia Commons

Men’s Room – Vista House, Crown Point, OR via Acroterion | Wikimedia Commons

Hubby and I have been involved in a long-term (and very informal poll) about Men’s Room Etiquette.

It all started in a counseling session a few months back when I made the stray comment wondering “what men talk about in the restroom.”

My husband and the counselor said in unison: “Oh, there’s no talking!”

Having never been in the men’s room (except when it’s empty and I’m desperate) I was completely surprised. Lord knows, women are running their mouths a mile a minute in the ladies room.

I pressed on. “NO talking? Really??”

They both assured me it was a serious etiquette breach to do any discussing while you’ve got the business in hand. Sometimes, depending on the person and the situation, it might be acceptable to make chit-chat at the sink while you’re washing your hands.

“But don’t you look? Kind of check out the competition so to speak?”

“No! (said in unison again – it was eery) There’s no looking either. Maybe if you’re gay, you look, but in general it’s considered to be really bad form.”


My hubby isn’t remotely homophobic so I really took his word on this one. However, being the inquisitive sort that I am, I took it to a broader range of guys. I’ve been asking all my dude friends and they all agree: “There’s no talking!”

But I hadn’t asked my gay friends until this weekend, when we attended our monthly church dinner. (Hey, don’t judge me. This is the same group that got me talking about the Almost X-Rated Garage Sale. You’d have to be there.)

We had 6 men in attendance, including my honey and some of the group was gay, which meant I was going to get both sides of that equation.

Surprisingly enough, the vote was a 50/50 split and it didn’t split down the gay/straight line.

The man next to me said, “You can’t help but notice what everyone else is packing 2-3 stalls to your left or right.” Another one said, “Sure I look! I’ve got to see how I stack up.”

Everyone else agreed with my honey: “No talking! No looking!”

As I do with most things, I’m bringing this to the posse here at More Cowbell. If you’re female, ask a male friend if you need to, but I want to hear from EVERYONE on this one.

Have you ever wondered about restroom etiquette? Did you wonder for your own gender or for both? Have you ever had a conversation like this at a church dinner? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!


Have you been following the Holiday Yum Series? These recipes ROCK!!

Today, Natalie Hartford’s on deck with her easy-to-make scrumptious cheesecake. [Note: she’ll also be here for Thoughty Thursday later this week. Squeeee!]

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  • December 28:  Natalie is back with some fab New Year’s Mocktails

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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56 Responses to There’s No Talking In The Men’s Room!

  1. I asked my uncle. He said definitely NO looking, but talking is okay on special situations, such as football games. But he’s a very Christian man from the south, so it’s not really surprising.


  2. Jane Sadek says:

    Well that’s one sight I didn’t see when I was in Oregon. My guy is of the “no talking” variety, but he’s very into decorating, so there’s usually a discussion of tile and fixtures with me when he gets out of the Big Be Quiet Game zone.


  3. I had no idea! I mean, we women, if we go in with the peeps, we talk. And sometimes, if there is a line, you get to chatting while waiting. It’s a bonding thing, right? I guess it would be kind of weird, though, if we had the goods in hand. (grin) And having to do your business out in the open would change the dynamic. (I have nightmares about that. LOLOL!).


  4. I can not ask Hubster about this because I am engaging in minimal conversation with him this morning. He’s bored. When he is bored, each comment or question becomes an opportunity for a bring-a-notebook-and-pen lecture. Honestly! I will pay to have someone who wants to be managed come spend the day at our house. Email off loop if you’re into torture interested,

    I’d normally bolt for SBUX, but I’m doing humanity a favor by not taking my cold out in public today. What was the name of Eddie’s dog in Christmas Vacation? Oh, right. Snots. He and I have much in common today. I choose not to comment on the Mississippi leg hound part of his personality. IYKWIM.

    Even though I didn’t vote, I do have an opinion.

    I suspect the “no chat” claims are true. However, I think men peek at the competition even though they claim not to. Who will be the first to step forward and break this chain of silence?

    I anxiously await the arrival of our very own FBI agent (aka G-Man Zack Kullis) to weigh in on this subject. Zack, don’t lie to us. Give it to us straight. We can handle it.


  5. zkullis says:

    Jenny, I have to admit that I did not vote. I think you are missing one possibility that I would have marked. Yes, chatting is okay (with one caveat), but there is no “peeking at packages”.

    Gloria. *holding finger to lips* 😉

    This is a complicated scenario with an outcome that is driven by a number of variables. I’m going to break it down into two scenarios for the sake of simplifying the conundrum that is men’s bathroom etiquette.

    *Public men’s room: There is no talking. If there is, it is done as FAR from the urinals as possible, and you usually drop your voice an octave or two and growl slightly at the end of the sentence (only half joking). There is NO looking.

    *Men’s room with buddies (at work, etc.): There IS quite often talking. A typical conversation while standing at the urinal might start with “How’s it going?” (even though the guy has probably asked you that same question 3 times). A common reply is “Well, the water is cold.” (referring to the water in the urinal, hint hint), to which the other might answer, “It’s also deep.” Seriously, though, there is talking and chatting in small doses. However, there is NO looking.

    Let’s address the peeking while in the bathroom. I’ve only seen this once. It happened to me, and the guy was “peeking” in a very obvious way. This kind of restroom shenanigan (on the rare occasion it does happen) appears to be used to gauge which way a guy swings. I don’t swing that way, so I took my bat and left….. 😉

    Do guys peek at another dude’s machinery? Sure. But it usually happens in the gym shower/changing area where the peek/curious-comparison is hardly noticeable. Why is it okay for the gym and not the bathroom? If you are doing it in the bathroom, chances are you are going out of your way too ogle somebody’s johnson. There are no spectators in the bathroom.

    That is just my two cents worth.


    • Did you just tell me to “hush,” Zack?

      It’s okay if you did.

      I’ve grown immune to taking that as an insult — much less listening to it.

      It will come in handy when I don my Trench-coat and Fedora for an under(NO space optional)cover investigation of men’s room practices. Yes, I trust your veracity. But, I like to test some theories first hand.

      Did you realize you were in full fed-speak mode early in your response and eased back into civilian-speak later? Must be busy at work today.


      • Jenny Hansen says:

        Oh my God, Gloria is going in! To the men’s room… That sounds like a fantastic undercover assignment! Would you like to report your results here at More Cowbell? I’ll give you a Monday AM spot for this. 🙂


        • A coveted Monday a.m. spot? Really?

          I did go into the men’s room at Bucca de Beppo a couple of weeks ago, Jenny — with the express purpose of taking pics…

          …of signs on the walls. Boooooring by comparison to the ladies room. I have several I may blog about one day. Especially if this new undercover op is approved by management (me).

          Perhaps for this assignment, I should sneak into one of the booths and surreptitiously peek from beneath the stall to see who is looking at what.

          I know what I’ll be looking at.


          • Jenny Hansen says:

            “Perhaps for this assignment, I should sneak into one of the booths and surreptitiously peek from beneath the stall to see who is looking at what.

            I know what I’ll be looking at.”

            Cant. Stop. Laughing.


      • zkullis says:

        Please don’t take that as a serious hush, Gloria. It was much more playful than it looks in black and white.

        Full fed-speak consists almost entirely of acronyms punctuated by coffee-enhanced gesticulation, but it did sound pretty bad, didn’t it?!? (not to self, keep on eye on Gloria)


        • Phew! on the “more playful,” Zack. [Note to self: decode intent.]

          IDK about full fed-speak. FWIW and IMHO – sounds like a SNAFU kind of day with FUBAR results.

          Let me know if you need the GPS coordinates for your own note to self. Santa already has me on his naughty list. Just sayin’… <==== Is it my imagination or do those two Jenny words let me get away with off-the-wall comments?

          My imagination? ERK!


  6. Fascinating stuff, Jenny. How funny that women are known to talk even more in the restroom, though not often/always stall-to-stall. I’ve learned some interesting things about restroom etiquette while traveling abroad. Did you know, for instance, that in public bathrooms in the French countryside in which you stand over a hole, facing the wrong direction sends a yellow pee river flowing outside of the stall…? Glurgh.


  7. I didn’t vote. It honestly never occurred to me their rules would be different than ours. I texted the hubs…he hasn’t responded though. Goodness – no talking in a public restroom? Where would you hang out at dances? Where would you go to gossip about your date? How terrible that must be 😛 I mean, they only use the bathroom as a restroom? Thanks for the laugh.


  8. I’ll have to ask the husband, but it sounds like Zack has it covered. Not sure why you wouldn’t talk, I mean, doesn’t that take the pressure off? Having at least half of your brain engaged should help the “flow” so to speak. As for checking things out, as a woman in the locker room, I try very hard not to look at anyone, no how, no way. I hope by engaging in the “Don’t see, Don’t tell” attitude no one will be looking at me! Happy to have individual shower stalls in our gym even if it means sometimes I have to wait. Hubby says the woman’s locker room gets all the special treatment, and he’s right!


  9. OK – Hubs said *ahem* quote: “NOT LOOK! :O It’s fine to talk if you know each other if not :x” lol


  10. I asked my hubby, and he’s on the “definitely no looking, no talking, no acknowledging that anyone is even in the room” side of the argument. They don’t chat in the restroom, they chat just outside it. Too funny. I remember one time at work we had a safety drill for tornados and the shelter is of course the bathrooms…well one of the guys came into the girls room with the girls (nobody was going to pee during the drill anyway). He was shocked at the chairs to sit in, and the nice touches around the mirrors, etc. It was funny how little he knew about the ladies room, and how little we knew about the men’s. I mean, they do fulfill the same biological functions but somehow they’re treated completely different.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I truly had no idea that there was such defined men’s room etiquette, Melinda. And it seems like it’s universally known.

      Enquiring minds will be delving into this topic more deeply, I promise you. 🙂


  11. Julie Glover says:

    The closest church dinner conversation I’ve had to this was the “Do you wad or fold?” discussion about toilet paper. It was rather enlightening! (I wonder how we would have responded if Jesus had come back right at that moment.)

    Also, no taking the urinal next door. There must always be a urinal in between if available…or so all of my guys inform me. Whereas we gals usually pick side-by-side stalls and pass conversational tidbits and T.P. squares while going.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Exactly right! I got an earful from my brother (The Bag Whore) on this post. He gave me an entire list of rules, and the “no neighboring urinals” was one of them. ROFL…


  12. I accidentally entered the mens room at a basketball game (don’t ask) and I have to say it was pretty quiet in there, which should have been my first indicator that I was not in the right place, but I definitely did NOT look. When I realized that there was no line, I knew I was in the wrong bathroom. I talked. Every guy looked at me, but it was probably more because I dared to talk than that I had entered the wrong bathroom. I mumbled something like “ooops, sorry,” and quickly reversed direction. No one really seemed to care.

    But then again I think it’s even weirder that women talk on the phone while they are in the bathroom. Really? That’s gross. Lots of women chat away on the phone while toilets are flushing, people are peeing, or getting rid of other things, and they are yacking away on the phone. Just makes no sense to me.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  13. Piper Bayard says:

    Brace yourself. My hubby tells me that there are buggers on the walls of almost every men’s room. Also, some men’s rooms, like Borders when they were around here in Boulder county, had gay porn in the stalls.


  14. Tanya Cienfuegos says:

    Hubby says no talking and no looking. And keep your hands and feet inside the stall.


  15. Fascinating post. It would be cool to hear about more men only places 🙂


  16. ROFL!

    What I love is this is a conversation hubby and I have had as well. Well not quite but similar. You see, I am always shocked that men will “do their business” (in the stall) with another one sitting right in the next stall ALSO doing his business. When I am getting down to number 2 and a lady comes into the stall next to me, my sphinx gets paralyzed with fear and unless it’s an “explosion” ain’t nothing coming out. I either have to wait her out or come back….While hubby and a stranger at work can sit side-by-side and grunt along while doing their noisy and nasty business, come out of the stall and talk about the weather as they wash hands…

    I would die….LOL!!

    He did say the other day he had a particular loud grunter and it was distracting and a breach of etiquette. Some quiet, understandable grunts are acceptable but loud moaning and grunting goes beyond the toilet etiquette reach….

    Now I’ll have to ask him about the urinals and talking/peaking…hmmmm….


    Thanks for the UBER shout out!!! 🙂


    • zkullis says:

      Ha ha ha, I’m a bit of an instigator. I often go a bit beyond what your Hubby does with the mild grunting. When I’m in a stall (at work) and I hear a voice I recognize in the bathroom, I take it upon myself to try to create a symphony (wind instruments of course) of noise that would wake the dead.

      The reactions are almost always worth the effort.


  17. Diana Beebe says:

    I have to agree with Natalie. Skip a stall, ladies, if there are enough to go around. 😉

    What about the phone talkers? It’s one thing in the women’s restroom to continue chatting with a pal, but to force someone on the other end of the phone to listen to the goings-on and flushing is a bit strange. My husband and I have this conversation when people at our offices do this. Who talks on the phone in the bathroom?


  18. I hate it when women talk on the phone in the stalls…Jeez, give me a break


  19. Hubby Claus! says:

    Well well well…look what the cat dragged in…its Hubby Claus bring gifts to all the little bloggers out there….HO! HO! HO!

    I’m actually reading and commenting from a men’s room. Hubby Claus(yes I refer to himself in the 3rd person) likes to get his information from the source. PLUS I have to make my morning $17.50 ( $9 after Canadian taxes…$7.50 at the cash register).

    So as I sit here ‘under cover’ ….I can tell you there has been talking….lots of talking! The weather, project management, strategic planning, even one guy (likely a “looker”) as he approaches the trough “hey they say this is where he pricks all hang out!”

    There have been sneekers -the quiet ones


  20. Hubby Claus! says:

    Opps premature thumbulation on the ol post button.
    Now where was I ? Oh yes!

    There have been grunters, moaners, chatters, washers and non-washers (yuk), aggressive zippers and loud tp rippers…..

    And then there the weird guy in stall number one(that’s me) having his multitasking high tech morning $17.50 while entertaining THE WORLD! BAHAHAHAHA!


  21. Pingback: Men’s Room Etiquette – Part II: 6 Simple Rules | Jenny Hansen's Blog

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