Men’s Room Etiquette – Part II: 6 Simple Rules

A couple of weeks back, I ran a post called “There’s No Talking In The Men’s Room.” I even did a poll and the results were fascinating.

The females in the More Cowbell posse were shocked by the discovery that, not only is there a complete lack of chatting and camaraderie in the Boy’s Room, but that things could get kinda dicey for the Men’s Room Etiquette Violators.

The male comments on the post reinforced this:

Zack Kullis:
Urinal space-invaders might get the “whoops, I missed” splash on their shoes. (not making that up)

Zack continued:
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”.

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 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…..  ;)

The Bag Whore:
Um yeah. The whole spacing issue between users is uber critical. You will absolutely get “the what’s your deal dude” look if you belly up to a urinal when there is space available. Not cool.

Here’s what I want to know:
How do the guys learn these rules? Who schools them?

I asked my husband and he said, “I have no idea. Boys learn a lot of things subliminally, you know.” That’s all he had to say.

Note: I told him, “That is such a lame answer.” Usually he’s so bloggable, I really thought he was going to give me the keys to “the john,” so to speak.

One particularly interesting thing he did tell me is that men in marathons or races have to stop off and use these long troughs to pee in.

Me: They run while they pee? Doesn’t it fly everywhere?? Eeeeeew. And what if someone trips while they’ve got the business in hand?

Him: They don’t run while they pee. They walk by the trough and pee as they go so no one has to stop the race.

Me: But don’t they have all their cash and prizes strapped in to prevent bouncing or  chafing? How do they, um, get it out while they’re walking? You know, without showing the people on the sidelines all their junk?

Him: *long-suffering sigh* They manage.

Me: *thinking loudly* Geesh. I’m just asking, dude. It’s not like I’ve got to worry about the twigs and berries.

When I came up empty on the details with hubby, I had to hit up my brother, the Bag Whore. (Y’all have heard me mention him here and here.) He had a LOT to say. Not only was he kind enough to give me the low down on “The Dude Potty Rules,” he also shared this handy video:

Just to recap:

  1. Minimize neighbors. There must always be a urinal in between pee-ers, if available.
  2. NO looking! Ever.
  3. Talking is only okay on special situations, such as sports events or concerts (conversations limited to 5-10 seconds).
  4. Loud noises are not cool. Example: loud grunting, even in the stalls, is distracting and a breach of etiquette. Some quiet grunts are acceptable, but loud moaning and grunting? No.
  5. The final two rules are the same in the ladies room: “always wash your hands” and “always flush.”

p.s. If you want the etiquette explained in a way that is sure to make you laugh your face off, click here.

Hopefully this post cleared up any lingering questions from the female set. We still can’t believe you don’t chat between stalls, visit the restroom in pairs, or speak to strangers in the loo. Cuz, um…we do. All the time.

Are there any other sorts of etiquette issues we need to explore here on the blog? (You know, I’m always open to tackling those “sensitive issues.”) Which rule above made the most sense to you? Which one made the least? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


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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26 Responses to Men’s Room Etiquette – Part II: 6 Simple Rules

  1. K.B. Owen says:

    So glad you expanded on this one, Jenny! What a hoot.

    I’m actually not surprised by this, because the guys don’t have the visual privacy that the women have, so they have to find some way to manage. My pop psychology, anyway. I went to a French restaurant in DC this weekend, and the bathroom was a little disconcerting. The sink area was totally open – no door to separate it from the bottom of the stairs – and then there were little single-stall “rooms” for everyone! No “ladies only” space to chat, check your makeup, brush your hair, etc. Took a little getting used to!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wow, Kathy…that French restaurant sounds like a date so congratulations on that that! So, there wasn’t like a private front door to this restroom? You just walked down stairs and you were in “the business area?” Trippy.


  2. Karen Rought says:

    And women wonder why their lines are always shorter than ours! It’s all business in there.


  3. Jane Sadek says:

    I’m with K.B. If the guys had more privacy, they’d probably be happier about their visit to the facilities. Back in the day, the Staark Room in Dallas had it all figured out. The men’s room was the most popular hangout in the place. The stalls were all private cubicles (private as in completely enclosed). In what would have been the urinal section, there was a sofa to hang out on. They had a guard standing outside the men’s room, so no unwanted women could enter, but all you had to do was find a guy to say “She’s with me” and you were in. The place was so crowded, the guys went over to the women’s room to use the restroom, but there was no furniture, so no one hung around. Ah, those were the days…to be young again!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wow, Jane! So the Ally McBeal co-ed restrooms began earlier than I thought! That’s hilarious. Is the Staark Room still there?


      • Jane Sadek says:

        Unfortunately, no. It was down in The Brewery section, next to the West End – neither of which are the destinations they used to be. The Starck Room (which I misspelled above) was only here for a few years in the mid-eighties , because Dallas is very fickle, but during those years I was there several times a month. Starck was Philppe Starck, the French designer and Stevie Nicks also had a part in it. The main floor of the club was divided into conversation nooks with overstuffed beige sofas and sheer curtains. You knew what was going on immediately around you, but you couldn’t see through more than a few layers of the curtains. Then the dance floor was below the main floor, which was the opposite of most discos. Next to the dance floor was the cold room – a precursor to all the ice clubs they have now. The room was refrigerated, a real pleasure after dancing on the packed floor, but miserable if you just wandered in unaware.

        Yep – I had some good times there. My workmates & I would head out to Dave and Busters on a Friday night and then later in the evening, when most everyone else had called it a night, several of us would head down to the The Starck Room. If it was just the girls hanging out, we’d end the night at the the place next door. I’ve forgotten the name, but it was an underground pub and my favorite band, Robert Lee Kolb and the Local Heroes played there on weekends. If the guys were with us, they never wanted to go over to the pub. I think they were jealous of Robert Lee.

        Whenever I’d walk in, wherever they were playing (even outdoor concerts), the next song they would play would always be “My Girl.” I was never sure why, because I was never Robert Lee’s “girl,” but the guys hated that. I guess I don’t have to tell you that I loved it.

        Thanks for asking. I loved the stroll down memory lane.


  4. jennysbrother says:

    There is a reason the lines are long for you ladies….boys are just focused on the task “in hand” not talking…ever…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      SOME of ’em talk…just not if they’re standing next to you. 🙂

      Thanks for all the input – this post cracked me up the whole time I wrote it because I could hear you in my head.


  5. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Wow, learn somethin’ new everyday. Too funny! I let grandson watch the video with me. 16 months old, he thought it was entertaining, but I don’t think he’s able to grasp the whole concept yet! His daddy will have to show him the ropes.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That comment is just begging for an “if you know what I mean” on the end, Lynn! I’m delighted to prove that, once again, More Cowbell is a “family blog.” LOL…


  6. And, where in the world is</strong our G-man, Zack? I miss his humor hits.

    He’s either (1) on vacation, (2) in the midst of an under(space optional)cover operation, or (3) tied up finishing edits for release of his second book.

    If number two, and with a space, WTG, Zack!

    If number three, Woo-Hoo for you, Zack!

    Either way, it’s time to put down your bat or pencil (respectively), and get your manly-man rear over here with words of snark-dom wisdom.


  7. Jenny, this is priceless! My husband did a good job teaching my boys; but now they are even “neater” in the bathroom, since they’re the ones cleaning it! Off to check on Julie’s game…lol!


  8. Patricia says:

    It just goes to show – Men are from Mars.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  9. filbio says:

    LOL! This is so awesome, and so true!

    We do learn a lot from our dads on this subject and the rest from socialization and the media.

    Some learn better than others though! 😉



  10. OMG…too funny! Do you always take a bat in the bathroom, Zack? 🙂

    Men are NOT the only one to face…um…unique bathroom situations. While in Tennessee visiting my dad once, we went to a state park for a picnic. As my daughter and I wound up in the restroom with another woman (that we didn’t know)…and we all three just kind of stood there staring at one another with our mouths hanging open in stunned surprise.

    There were only two stalls in the rather large room. And they were situated in such a way that you could not only converse with your potty partner, you could also look them straight in the eye. If they were any closer, you could have even touched knees. Fortunately they sat about fifteen feet apart. I say ‘fortunately’ because…there were no doors on either stall.

    I looked at the woman. The woman looked back at me. And I said, “Go ahead. I’ll wait.”


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That is OUT OF CONTROL. I wouldn’t have wanted to pee at the same time either. I just don’t get why they would even build those kinds of stalls…


      • I wondered the same thing. Or why they didn’t put doors on them. Even shower curtains would have been an improvement. I can honestly say I’d never had an audience to watch me perform my ‘hover’ technique. I didn’t that day…and haven’t since either. In fact, I intend to keep that skill between me and…well…me. 🙂


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