The facilities

‘Facilities’ = a euphemistic word for toilet. Yep, I’m going there. ☺

Here are some tips on what makes for acceptable behaviour within the shared toilet facilities of a typical office.

1. Paper shredding

These toilet paper dispensers — seemingly supplied to the entire, corporate world by Kimberley Clark, back in the 70s — are the former bane of my existence. Designed to retain, rather than supply, toilet tissue, they traditionally require a highly considered and persistent approach to guarantee even a marginally successful outcome. The reality of having these in place is that over the course of a typical working day, a mound of tiny pieces of redundant, shredded toilet tissue forms, underneath each dispenser. Obviously, when you’re mid-stream/push, and you discover the shortcomings of your particular dispenser, you’ve had it. The battle for supremacy begins, while the emails and calendar requests back up (pun fully intended) thick and fast.

Verdict: triple-check the efficiency of the dispenser prior to committing to 
a particular cubicle and starting your business. Be prepared to try another cubicle, or a different set of toilets, until you hit the jackpot. Forewarned 
is forearmed.

2. Bogey/booger

For some unknown reason, when people spend time in a toilet other than their own, they turn into a wanton creature of ill repute. One of the manifestations of this behaviour is the down right filthy tendency to ‘decorate’ the walls of a cubicle with various substances they produce within said environment. The most prevalent of these is the common old bogey, or booger. Yes, that’s right, you’re sitting on the toilet, contemplating life, you dive on in to clear out the nose, you ignore the gargantuan amount of toilet tissue (trapped) in the dispenser next to you and you paste it on the wall, sitting back to admire your handiwork. Gross me out.

Verdict: NOT acceptable. On. Any. Level.

3. Snuggle in

If there is any man alive out there who hasn’t yet grasped this concept, then please read on. You don’t snuggle up next to a compadre when there are several places at the urinal to choose from. It is not, repeat not, a social and shared experience. Nor is it the ideal opportunity to give in to your competitive urges to know who has more to brag about. Remember the adage: size really isn’t everything.

Verdict: give the man some space. Go into the cubicle instead if it’s really cramped. He might assume you’re about to have a big, fat dump, but that’s a whole lot better than proximity, small talk and stage fright.

4. The long wait…

You need a poo. It happens. But you’re at work. And it might not be straightforward. Nature’s calls can rarely be avoided, so you head to the toilets. It’s rammed full of people. You begin to sweat. You lock yourself into the first available cubicle and you wait. And you wait some more, in deathly silence, desperately praying for solitude. It arrives and you start to relax. Then someone else comes in. You assume they will be quick but that’s not always the case. You may end up in a face off situation where they’re waiting too. Who will crack first? Will they recognise your shoes under the cubicle? Why do you suddenly have the urge to scream out loud and break the silence, or choke on your own saliva and utter a distinctive cough?

 1. Get in there, do your thing, and get out. If you can’t do this in a toilet, where the bejesus can you do it?! Everyone does it. Yes, even your boss.

2. Find another place, like another floor, or the good old disabled toilet — although the latter is put through its paces for this sort of thing all day long, so get in early doors.

3. Actively work to alter your ‘poo cycle’ (you do the math) thus reducing the likelihood of this situation happening at work.

5. Not flushing*

Really? Would you leave that sort of thing in your toilet at home? Would you?! Would your lovely mother be proud of your actions? Did you get a sudden, horrific bout of amnesia? No. You just couldn’t be arsed to do one last thing before you left the cubicle. There are cleaners for that sort of thing, right? Wrong. They are not your personal slaves and neither are the people who visit that cubicle after you.

Verdict: there is never a reason not to flush. If, for some reason, you are concerned about the hygiene of the toilet flush, use some tissue. And don’t add to these concerns by letting things fester. Yes, fester. ☹

* Visual supplied courtesy of a previously frequented M&C Saatchi toilet cubicle located at 71 Macquarie Street, Sydney. (Someone went to the trouble of using some extensive clipart and laminating that sign, as the problem was that bad. Just in the one cubicle.)

6. I.P.S

I’m a strategist and I come up with concepts. This one is a particular favourite. You read it here first: the concept of ‘inherited poo’ and an ‘inherited poo situation’. I’ll cut to the chase. You walk into the toilets and instantly discover that seismic bowel movements have occurred in this room. The culprit is nowhere to be seen. You go about your own business as swiftly as possible and exit the cubicle (ideally not the crime scene cubicle, as it’s usually pretty obvious which one has been to hell and back). As you walk towards the basins, someone comes in, clocks the smell, looks you right in the eye and you’re trapped, like a rabbit in the headlights. Unfairly trapped too, I might add.

Verdict: style it out, safe in the knowledge that your hands are clean (literally) and simply make an eye roll/hand whiff in front of the nose/suitable, light-hearted comment about which cubicle to avoid, for example: “Don’t go in that first one — it’s like someone’s died in there!”. Under no circumstances should you over-egg the point that it was not you. It will come across as overly desperate and a blatant lie.

Until next time,

Michelle x

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