Do you fold or scrunch? Do you hover or cover? Do you tinkle in public or only in private? I want to discuss a universal topic today: Bathrooms. You didn’t misread that word. We all need them. We all use them. We are all assaulted by unpleasant aromas or other unsavory surprises.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about germ-a-phobes. Today’s post isn’t about bacteria or hand washing, although that’s certainly part of restroom hygiene! I’ve actually wondered about the origin of the word “restroom” so I did some research. Did you know there’s a definitive difference, at least according to the websites I perused, between “bathrooms” and “restrooms?”
Apparently a restroom is in a public space, and it always has a sink and toilet (there are multiple words for this object, too!). If you use the word “bathroom” in England, for instance, you may find yourself in a room with a bathtub and sink but without a toilet! The word “bathroom” is also used to refer to the entire space. Other sources I consulted indicate the word “restroom” is a more refined reference to the place in which we do our “business.” It’s also called the “john,” “loo,” and “water closet.”
Wherever you live and whatever you call it, each of us require this necessary facility. I’d like to divide our discussion into categories similar to stalls in a restroom.
***Can You Spare A Square? I am all for recycling, composting, and living consciously. We need to find ways to reduce landfill. But I must admit that I prefer and purchase Charmin Ultra Soft rather than eco-friendly options. Perhaps I’m getting a bit personal here. Some of you may be nodding or blushing. I’ve tried less expensive and also more environmentally-friendly types of toilet paper. Either I am super sensitive…or…I will stop right there.
***The Traveling Challenge
When we travel, the texture of the paper is not always ideal. But it is what it is. According to informal analysis, I think that cost savings are negated when companies buy cheaper toilet paper. Why? It is thinner, more abrasive, and therefore, as I heard from a friend, we must use more. (I’ve clearly given this serious consideration.)
Rest stops and hotels are notorious for providing imposters. What appears to be lavatory wipes is actually sandpaper! It is dreadful. It is beyond frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. Do you ever tug at the roll, and it rips or gets stuck in that awful contraption? It makes me bonkers. I DO know folks who bring their preferred brand with them. I have learned that tissues work, too.
***Oh The Places You’ll Go!
We all need to use bathrooms. Regardless of religion, gender, ethnicity, culture, and any other variable, every human must evacuate. If you’re an avid hiker, you have adapted and live by the phrase “when nature calls…” I know some people who refuse to “go” in a public place. They will literally—I find this simultaneously fascinating and bewildering—hold it in for HOURS until they are at home. This leads me to the next subject.
***Automatic Versus Manual
Ok. Yet again we are back to the topic of conservation. I truly appreciate our modern society’s efforts toward saving our planet. We need to conserve water and energy. And I do my best to live mindfully.
But when will we figure out the timing of the flush? You know of what I speak! How many times have you been splashed unexpectedly while trying to finish and wipe? I appreciate the proactive technology but perhaps we need to add an “Are you done yet” button. And conversely, how many moments have you endured when the sensor decides to take a snooze? I wave my hand in front of it. I talk to it. There are times NOTHING works. And then we exit the premises feeling remorseful about what was left behind.
***Paper Towels Or Dryers?
This is a tough one. In theory, I love the air dry concept. In practice, I prefer to complete hand washing with an old-fashioned cloth (at home) or paper (in public) towel. I find a few scenarios in which the whoosh of the dryer just doesn’t suffice.
One example is when you’re attending a business meeting. You may already be in a rush. Your hands, especially if you wear rings, are NEVER totally dry. So you leave the restroom with clean but clammy, damp hands. As luck would have it, you are instantly greeted with a warm, dry one! It’s rather disgusting for the person on the receiving end of the handshake. I’ve often smiled and said, “Nice to meet you” while also muttering sheepishly, “My hands are clean—that’s just water.”
***Long and Lingering Lines
Is it my imagination or are the lines always longer at women’s restrooms? It does not seem to matter how many toilets there are or the size of the room. My theory is women often gather, connect, apply makeup, and even socialize in bathrooms. Men, on the other hand, have a singular mission to take care of business and get out. I’ve had some of the most interesting and hilarious conversations in bathrooms! I’ve reacquainted with old friends and met new ones, too.
Speaking of size, we must address this issue. I find the layout and space most irritating in airports. Who can possibly fit a human body and luggage into a narrow area without tripping or twisting like a contortionist? I’m grateful that I exercise regularly because lately I’ve had to use balance and muscles I didn’t know existed just to use the restroom!
Let’s also address airplane bathrooms. I know many people who refuse to use them. I drink huge amounts of water, especially when I fly, so that’s clearly not an option. I’ve reluctantly accepted the cramped ambiance of an airplane lavatory. However, I don’t love the experience. And it’s even more challenging when the flight is turbulent, particularly for those of us who squat rather than sit. Use your imagination—I will spare you the details.
I also wish the faucet would run for more than two seconds. I can’t seem to rinse thoroughly. Do you ever leave the lavatory with soapy residue? The rest of your flight results in fingers sticking to books or magazines as you attempt to turn pages.
I hope this practical and pragmatic potty post brought a smile to your face. Please connect with me and share your suggestions and lavatory stories! If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat. And kindly explain how to properly use those sanitary toilet covers! I still have not mastered this useful method—I’d appreciate your guidance! I’d love to hear from you.