your in trouble, man…

one thing that still surprises me about our society is that…sometimes i encounter men who never got a copy of the manual of bathroom policies and procedures: men’s room edition…volume VII in the expansive body of work that concerns the ‘man code’…

it’s like they missed that day of class or never got the memo for this type of thing…

it doesn’t matter that the manual isn’t an actual publication or that it isn’t written down anywhere, for that matter…

because it’s the kind of thing that is passed down from generation to generation…it’s the kind of thing that is understood, or should be understood among all men…at least, in america…press play on lee greenwood’s proud to be an american…

what should be understood, what is so very important to understand…is…what you do and what you don’t do in the men’s room…not knowing these things (the do’s and the don’ts), not knowing the rules is a problem…and in the worst case scenarios, not knowing the rules could result in the revocation of your ‘man card’…

that should give you an idea of just how serious these offenses and violations are…

i should know…because i’ve been violated multiple times at work recently…

let me recount the tales…

one day, i walked into the men’s room at our school…

[it should be noted that our school does not have staff bathrooms…so, we have to use the same bathrooms the kids use…which means we’ve got bathrooms that look like all hell broke loose in there (this usually happens as soon as 30 minutes into the start of the school day as best as we can figure)…graffiti, trash, damaged stall doors and walls, un-flushed toilets, you name it…in all honesty, it looks like a scene straight out of the science-fiction classic escape from new york–with some of those same looking characters ‘in and out of there’ all day long…sometimes, when i’m in there, it gives me a bad feeling–the heebiejeebies…like…i’m not getting out of here alive]

and, i found my urinal…it’s the one that is located against the far wall…on one side of my urinal is a second urinal (there’s only two) and on the other side is the wall i just mentioned…behind me (if i’m facing my urinal) are two stalls…on the other side of the urinals are two sinks/mirrors…

anyways…i’m at my urinal, doing my business…alone…a moment of contentment, you know…

when the door creaks open…

and ‘a fellow’ comes in (all males in this post shall remain nameless, to protect the innocent)…then it happens…he does the unthinkable…

he saddles up to the urinal next to me and starts doing his thing (violation #1)…

then, he commits a second violation almost immediately…he starts talking to me (violation #2)…

let me break this down for you…these are two things you don’t do in the men’s room…especially, in tandem…these are two blatant and reckless violations of the ‘man-code’…

first, let’s address violation #1…any man who knows the manual…knows that if there are just two urinals (as in this case)…and one man is already at one urinal…the ‘open one’ is not really open…especially, when both stalls are free…in this case, the correct move for the new arrival is to take one of the vacant stalls

[this is true in just about every men’s bathroom situationbut the exceptional cases, the outliers…the rare cases where there are exceptions to the rules…which we’ll get to in a moment]

it’s known, it’s understood…

at the same time, this guy adds insult to injury by trying to talk to me…this is a big “no-no”…this isn’t a time for a casual chit-chat like we’re having a coffee at starbucks or enjoying a big ginger at the local irish pub (one of the best bars in minneapolis)…this is a time when you’re exposed and vulnerable…it’s it place of privacy–and it’s no place to start-up a conversation or make ‘small talk’–you’ve got to respect the space, man…

it’s known, it’s understood…

or so i thought…

unbelievably, later that same day…another ‘fellow’ committed the same exact offense, with the same exact one-two punch: 1) he took the adjoining urinal when there were two open stalls and 2) he tried to talk to me?!…and later that week, the guy who had violated me the first time–got me again (and then, it all became quite clear to me–this guy, missed that day of class…this guy, never got the memo)…

anyways, what happened was…i had just passed him in the hallway–he was talking someone…and, i thought–i’m safe…boy, i was wrong!  i had barely got to work and he was there, right next to me–again!  by the third incident (sixth violation) i was so rattled that i was hugging my urinal like it was my last true friend in the world…like tom hanks gripped wilson in castaway…if i was any closer, i would’ve been standing in the basin

so, nowadays, i survey the scene completely (immediate area and nearby hallways) and have only come to accept a “no visual-contact” radius (for those two characters) of 100-yards as my safe zone

anyways, if you’re an up and coming man, a young lad (this includes you, jack)…pay close attention to what’s been said here…and to the few rare exceptions below…and don’t ever forget what you’ve been told…

urinal decorum: exceptions to the rules (situations where it’s o.k. to take the urinal next to a man who’s already ‘in position’)…

  • you can take up a position next to an occupied urinal if there is a partition between the urinals
  • you can take up a position next to an occupied urinal if there are no open stalls and you ‘can’t wait’
  • you can take up an adjoining position if you are at major event like a football game, concert, etc…where there is a trough urinal (the over-arching rule in this situation is: get in and get outquickly!)
  • in such cases where there are multiple urinals and multiple men in position, you will, to your best efforts, attempt to keep one urinal between you and any other man in position 
  • the only time you can talk to someone at an adjoining urinal is when a) you are drunk and/or b) when the person taking up a position next to you is your homie

[the policies, procedures (and exceptions) have been included in this post with the expressed written permission of the international coalition of men’s men]

*the term violation refers to a norm violation…a norm is defined as an unwritten rule for socially acceptable behavior…other such violations would be sitting next to someone in a movie theater when there are other available ‘open seats’; farting in church; eating off of someone else’s plate; etc (many others of which were highlighted brilliantly in the show seinfeld)…

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