On the Workplace Bathroom

Warning: this post contains toilet topics that may offend the easily queasy or those about to eat.

This isn’t meant to be an angry rant but a humorous take on the bathroom at my school.

Alright , let me tell you about my workplace bathroom.(I know you really want to hear!) I just don’t know how to react sometimes to the situations I find myself in.

The teachers’ bathroom in my school is small , 3 stalls with two squatter toilets and one western style toilet. The stall with the western toilet is marked for males , the two stalls containing the squatters are marked for females. It seems no big deal to as which sex uses which though. Last winter the men’s western toilet was broken for a good three months leaving me only the squatters. Now in case you are new to this blog and/or the squat toilet references haven’t clued you in yet , I’m in China. Oh yea, and I’m the only male teacher in the whole school.

So not only do I have cross-gender bathroom etiquette issues I also have cross-cultural issues to deal with as well.

1. Open-Closed Door Issues

Granted the bathroom is small with only 3 stalls, and I don’t want to hog the place but isn’t it reasonable to expect a little bit of privacy when I close the outer bathroom door? Can I not ask for a few minutes if I’m dropping the kids off at the pool? I see you everyday , I work with you. I don’t want you knowing how my shit smells and what noises I may or may not make , especially after one of the fouler school lunches.

In this situation after the door has been opened the smell usually doesn’t keep the others way. Come right on , take the stall right next to mine , and piss away. If it’s not an emergency which I gather usually isn’t can’t you just wait a few minutes?

When the bathroom privacy has been breached , I really don’t want to clarify that it is indeed me inside the bathroom. I will wait until the other person is done -but that can also be a danger since surely the other person will not re-shut the door- or try to make an escape while the other person is still in. Keep in mind these other people being entirely women.

Now on the other hand , if the bathroom door is left open , I enter , and find the stall occupied , is it weird to walk in , make noise , leave again , and then proceed to hover like a phantom near the entrance?

2. Sanitary Issues

Women , y’all can be quite disgusting. Listen , I know guys are also gross but at least I clean up after myself in the school bathroom. Now this is a squatter toilet being used by a woman. A woman who has been peeing like this for years and years. If you are poised a few inches above a wide porcelain bowl , how do you miss? Why is their piss pooling and running on the tile floor? Perhaps most importantly , why don’t you clean this up?

At other times it’s a bloody trail leading to the small garbage pail (no flushing toilet paper) and a fresh from the slaughterhouse tampon sitting in plain view proudly flaunting itself to the next comer. This inevitably leads to wondering which of these lovely -or old- lady coworkers deposited this beauty. Usually it’s not just one tampon so then before these disgusting thoughts can be wiped out, I can’t help but ponder who started the hormone rage that is spreading through the school?

3. Chatty Construction Workers

The bathroom door is closed , the western toilet is broken , and I’m trying to squat to take care of business. A pounding on the door floods my soul with fear. (For the sake of understanding I’ve translated the following into English , just imagine it’s still in Chinese)

“Is anybody in there?”
“Uh , yea. I am.”
“Man or woman?”
“Yea, it’s a guy.”
“Well alright then! I’m coming in! The more the merrier , us guys can shit together!”
A week whimper of protest emerges from my mouth.
Mr.Construction worker barges in , takes the adjacent stall , and a mere two feet away , inadequately separated by a mere inch of plywood, unleashes the full force of the stinky , rotten , putrescent dragon that has been brewing in his gut. Noise and smell combine to torture me , I imagine I can hear him laughing and taunting me. All I wanted was five minutes. I feel sick.

Anyone know what I’m talking here?!?

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