While we are fortunate to live in the cultural capital of America, with 24/7 access to Chinese food, overpriced cocktails, and fad pastries, New Yorkers must also endure an unhealthy number of revolting public restrooms. The monsters who create these miasmic conditions walk among us, unidentifiable, leaving behind them overflowing toilets and soggy paper trails. Here we argue that women's restrooms are often left in the most abysmal conditions, and as part of a futile attempt to make a difference in the world, we've come up with some
Below you'll find our etiquette guide, some simple suggestions to settle our public bathroom issues once and for all. Feel free to print these out for passive aggressive plastering all over your office bathroom.
11. Stop making wet, paper-y messes! I don’t know what inspires people to do this—is it carelessness? Excitement? The thrill of getting caught? An insatiable thirst to destroy the world through small evil deeds? Whatever the reasoning, there is no acceptable excuse for using a paper product and proceeding to throw it on the floor thereafter. In the bathroom, adhere by this golden rule: deliver all garbage to the proper receptacle.
10. Do not ask another woman to take your photo inside the bathroom. I wish this didn’t have to be a rule, but a bad experience at STK has rendered it critical. (I take full responsibility for patronizing STK—it only happened ONCE.) Unless you're in one of NYC's nicest bathrooms, why do you even want a bathroom photo? I speak for all of your Instagram followers when I say that time voluntarily spent in a public dumping ground is time you’re being judged for.
9. Save your phone conversation for outside of the facilities. NYC is too loud already. For many of us, the bathroom is the sole respite from cacophony, a sanctuary where we can briefly escape the din of screeching subway cars, coworkers complaining, or teenagers existing. Keep the restroom zen—no bystander cares how weird your Tinder date got last night.
8. Settle for damp and back away from the hand dryer. It is critical not to hog the hand dryer. There are other people in the world with wet hands than you. And besides, you probably shouldn't be using those hand dryers, anyway.
7. Let criers cry. NYC is a global destination for public crying. Whether they’re weeping silently behind sunglasses on the subway, or wailing into an iPhone in the middle of the sidewalk, public criers are all around you, all the time. In any other place, you might be encouraged to ask a crying fellow-human if she's okay; in an NYC restroom, I say leave her alone. I once lived in a one-bedroom apartment with three roommates, two of whom were unemployed, so there was really never any private time or place to cry save our roof (accessible only by scaling three flights of fire escape) or our stand-up shower. Public bathrooms were all we had. Remember that.
6. Check for legs before pushing a door open, you Neanderthals. Lots of us have been treated to the unpleasant experience of hovering above a toilet seat, standing on one foot while blockading the door with the other, thanks to a broken lock. Others of us have been barged in on in a stall completely naked because we dared opt to pee in public while wearing a romper. This issue is easily averted with a little patience and consideration for your fellow man.
5. In a single-stall-in-a-busy-bar situation, commit yourself to taking only a reasonable amount of time in le toilette. How many precious hours do New Yorkers waste waiting for rainbow bagels, a table at brunch time, or an F train that's just not coming? There is no reason to add "public bathroom" to that list. All non-essential bathroom activities should be reserved for outside of the stall, or outside of the bathroom altogether. I’m looking at you, nose-blowers, makeup-doers, powder-inhalers, and Union Pool patrons.
4. Stall etiquette: If there are multiple free stalls to choose from, DO NOT inhabit one that is adjacent to an occupied stall. This piece of etiquette is gravely serious when it comes to men and their urinals, but it doesn’t get enough attention in the women’s restroom. When possible, always leave a buffer zone.
3. Hand washers get priority vanity space. Scary germs run amok in NYC. You are only to use the mirror if there is free vanity space and nobody waiting for a sink. Otherwise, makeup and hair doers gotta go, regardless of who got there first.
2. Wipe up your poorly aimed pee. We all hover above the seat and we all miss. And it's okay to miss, but it’s not okay to leave a mess! When you carelessly dribble and ditch your urine, you render an entire stall useless until some no-nonsense vigilante swoops in and cleans it up for you, and for her, and for all of us. Same is obviously true of your flow.
1. Don't leave behind a crime scene. This spreads curious smells, contributes to lines, and just generally pisses everyone around you off. If you enter the restroom aware that you are about to make a scene, flush many times, while affirming yourself, “if at first you fail, try, try again”. This will save you, me, and everyone we know a whole lot of odorous grief. It's all about the courtesy flush(es), ladies.