Bathroom Etiquette in a Small Office

This has just been making me chuckle, so I am sharing. To set the stage, at the Hermit Haus office, we currently have two bathrooms in the basement (someday there will be an upstairs bathroom). The church that occupied the building before us decorated the rooms in stereotypically masculine and feminine ways.

The scenic ladies’ room, complete with fake window.

But, when you look closer, each of them has a toilet, a sink, some towels, a lot of soap and hand sanitizer, etc. They function exactly the same.

The manly men’s room.

When we had Master Naturalist meetings in here, I noticed that people seemed aghast when I suggested that anyone could use either room. True, someone had stuck signs (two actually, one above the door and one on the door) on each room, hinting at the preferred users. But really, they are the SAME dang bathrooms!

Ah, there are options! You can be a lady OR a woman to use one of our restrooms.
Maybe we need THIS sign!

(Aside, they also get upset that “the toilet doesn’t work” when people repeatedly flush before the tank has refilled. I need to put up a sign saying “ancient 1930s plumbing; please be patient if you want a good flush.”)

As we’ve been working here all by ourselves (the Hearts Homes and Hands staff and me), I’ve noticed another pattern. Repeatedly, Lee decides he has to “go” and bursts in on Chris, who has closed (but not locked) the door to the men’s room as a sign that it’s occupied. When it was suggested that Lee use the other bathroom, he acted like that was not a possible option. Once again, there is the SAME equipment in each room, just one looks 1980s girly and one looks like some fancy gentleman’s dressing quarters.

This is an option, of course.

I THINK we have all come to an agreement that if a door is shut, it’s probably occupied, and you should at least knock. Preferably, just use the other one. Apparently once or twice someone closed the men’s room door after use and it confused Lee, but that hasn’t happened in months.

It just makes me laugh. At home, everyone uses whatever toilet is available. But when we get to work, the exact same group of people acts like one of the available options is poison.

Just go! Photo by @mylove4art via Twenty20.

We are so well trained! I can’t wait until there are more universal and family bathrooms around, so people will get used to it. As for me, when I gotta go, I gotta go. I can handle masculine decor, though I won’t use urinals. That’s my private business.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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