When A Guest Leaves The Bathroom Filled With The Scent Of Success

by admin on January 30, 2012

I have a rather distressing and slightly off-colour dilemma and I need some genuine advice.

Recently I held a Christmas party the night before Christmas Eve for a close group of friends who hadn’t yet left to travel home for the holidays. Several of my invitees were tardy confirming their attendance and were listed as ‘maybes’. It was a casual courtyard picnic so I didn’t mind, I just made lots of food to cover the ‘maybes’.

A few maybes changed their answer to ‘not coming’ on the day of the lunch, so, as I had made so much food that I didn’t want wasted, I cast the net wider and posted an open last-minute invite to my modest group of friends and acquaintances on a social networking site, hoping to add a few hungry mouths to the abundant spread, which I happily did do. Again, it was a very casual do.

However one man who was a ‘friend of a friend’ who I had never met in person expressed his interest in attending. I will call this man ‘Tom’. We had chatted online before and I while admired the work Tom did with our mutual friend, we had disagreed on some issues during discussions online and I was a little surprised he wanted to come along, especially to a small picnic where he knew no-one. But after all it was an open invite and in the spirit of the season I told Tom to come along, warning him that it was a small group of friends he would be joining.

Tom turned up on time and graciously brought me a delicious dessert to thank me for hosting, which was very lovely. He joined my friends and seemed to socialise well with them, and although one or two noted that he was ‘a little strange but a nice guy’, everything was fine.

That is until later in the evening when we played a game of ‘pass the parcel’. Part of the fun of the way we play the game is that not everybody wins, and some win multiple times, and of course some of the gifts are entirely ill-suited to their winner. We always have a hilarious time and the jostling and gift-envy is part of the fun. Bear in mind these are all trinkets priced under $5.

When the parcel came to Tom, he opened it and received a kitsch lip gloss meant for a female winner. We all had a laugh and he graciously gave the gift to one of the girls in attendance, I will call her Susy. He did not have to do this. I even took care to ask him if he didn’t have a female friend or relative to give it to, but he shrugged it off and let Susy have it.

However later in the game when the parcel stopped at Susy, she received a ‘second’ gift of a small box of chocolates. She was chuffed and we all had a laugh at her success. Tom seemed uncomfortable however. ‘I want that back now,’ he said to Susy of the gift he had given her. We all laughed, assuming he was joking – as Sally had already used it! However Tom grew visibly upset and reached out and took the lip gloss. He rolled it over in his hands, looked at it, put it down in front of Sally again, and then took it away again. Sally looked to me with surprise and I shrugged. What could I say? He was acting strangely and if he really wanted it that badly he could have it! Finally he angrily placed the lip gloss in front of Sally and asked, ‘Where can I buy one of those?’ I told him any drug store, and he folded his arms and huffed. I assume he wanted Sally to either give back his prize or swap, but frankly I didn’t feel it fair to change the rules of the game for this grumpy man who was making everyone uncomfortable over a two dollar trinket!

The rest of the evening went smoothly, and when it was winding down and several people were leaving, Tom asked ‘his lovely hosts’ (my partner and I) – which was very sweet of him to say – if he could use the bathroom. The picnic was held in our apartment’s courtyard so when someone needed to use the bathroom we would run them into the house and unlock the door, and the relock it when they were done with the bathroom. A fussy system but as we live in the city we felt it best to lock and unlock the door ourselves to ensure it was secure. Plus we were running back and forth to the house for ice and cold drinks all through the evening so people tended to just come along when I fetched something. Imperfect, but our friends are used to this as we often entertain in the courtyard.

I offered to let Tom in to the house and went to look for some candles as he used the bathroom. Five minutes went by, then ten, then finally fifteen. I had a pretty good inkling of what was happening in the bathroom after the large meal we had all shared, but was absolutely aghast. I now couldn’t leave or interrupt to give Tom the keys to lock up himself when he was done.

My partner came in looking for me when twenty minutes had passed. ‘He’s still in there!’ I said. ‘What do I do?’ At this point we started worrying that something had gone wrong in the bathroom or that he was passed out.

Finally Tom emerged 20-something minutes after he had gone in and I quickly busied myself in the cupboard. ‘Ah there are those candles, finally!’ I said. He laughed and we walked him back out. To our surprise, Tom collected his things. ‘I just came back out to say goodnight to you all,’ he said, wished everyone well, and left.

A quick visit to the bathroom after he left confirmed my concerns – he had made it very unpleasant for the rest of my guests and I used a fair bit of Febreeze to get it to a reasonable scent. I was mortified and disgusted!

At first I thought Tom was embarrassed by his bathroom adventure and left in haste, but it seems not. He posted dozens of photos of the event online that very same evening, ‘tagging’ or naming us all in them and making ‘funny’ comments.

I now do not think Tom was embarrassed at all, just the kind of brute who saved himself looking for a bathroom on the way home (he could have gone to the bar just metres from my apartment entrance) and ‘made himself comfortable’ in our bathroom before the drive home.

I am disgusted and shocked that someone could behave this way at a stranger’s home while they were entertaining! It wasn’t some mad party either. Certainly none of my friends would do this unless nature made it absolutely, unavoidably necessary – and I know them all very, very well. The fact that Tom was in there so long also makes me think he could have waited till he left to ‘relieve’ himself, which makes me even madder.

A week later, when some friends and I were very casually chatting online about perhaps getting together for New Year, Tom butted in with, ‘What time? I’ll be there.’ I simply ignored him. He did it again on New Year’s day when we were making plans to visit a friend, let’s call him Greg. ‘Look’s like it’s party at Greg’s house! I’m free!’ he wrote. He had only ever met Greg very briefly at our party! I deleted the whole conversation rather than deal with Tom.

And there lies my dilemma. I want to remove Tom from my ‘friends’ list online and have nothing further to do with him rather than have to dodge his attempts to crash every party I casually mention online. However my partner feels that would be very cruel and would hurt Tom’s feelings, leading him to assume I disliked his personality rather than something he did. He even suggested I be honest and tell Tom that I was offended by his bathroom adventure, and that is why I am deleting him! That seems extreme.

What shall I do? I know you will advise that I no longer make party plans in a public social forum, but I find it incredibly convenient and normally only friends are involved. I have a very small list of online friends, most of whom are genuine friends, but some, like Tom, I mistakenly added thinking they were closer to a mutual friend than I had assumed. I usually delete people like this but Tom has slipped through and now it seems I am stuck with him and his nasty toilet habits. 0102-12

Isn’t the purpose of a bathroom to provide a private repository of bodily effluents and gaseous effluvia?   Where did you expect a guest to do this?  While you were eating in the courtyard?    I very much doubt that Tom planned a pre-meditated assault on your bathroom.  (“Hmm, I think I’ll have beans for lunch just so I can  create the most odious gas known to man tonight.”)  The kind hostess recognizes that sometimes people have epic bowel movements and they graciously cover for their guest with ample applications of air freshener.   As the saying goes, “Sh*t happens.”  To everyone.   May some future restaurant manager or hosting friend be as equally kind to you when your turn comes.  And it will. Just live long enough.

As for Tom inviting himself to your parties, stop discussing your parties in public which you knew I’d tell you anyway.  What he doesn’t know about, he cannot invite himself.  Slowly freeze him out of your social circle which, in a few months, will make it easier to quietly delete him from your friend list.

{ 131 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina January 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

The guy’s a brute for using your bathroom?
What do you use your bathroom for?

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Jane January 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I agree with Angela – did he not clean up, or simply use the facilities and leave an odor?

Not cleaning up is one thing – it’s gross and he should be old enough to know better. Simply using the restroom is another. I would be a little concerned if a guest was in my restroom for 20 minutes, but more of a “hope everything is okay,” concern. As for leaving an odor, sometimes you just can’t help it.

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Courtney January 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Oh my goodness, it sounds as if the OP was never taught the rudimentaries of proper etiquette. Just as “Tom” shouldn’t have invited himself to a party, neither should the OP spoken (or written) of a party in front of people who weren’t invited. This is something that even the youngest of children should be taught. It really amazes me how often this sort of thing happens; not only on FB but also in “real life” situations. How can grown adults not think enough to put themselves in someone else’s place?!? If only sayings such as, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and “Consider others more significant than yourself” were more widely taught to children.

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Vandalia January 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I love the title of this post. I’ll find a way to use that phrase someday, somehow.

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Victoria January 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Oh, wow, if smelling up someone’s bathroom is a hanging offense, then I should have dropped about half my social circle by now. To say nothing of the occasional guest who will clog the toilet, or will have the temerity to create such a stink when in a shared hotel room!

The lip gloss thing was definitely a faux pas. But you might as well get annoyed that a guest sneezes (politely) at your party or gets tired halfway through – these things are part of being human and inhabiting a human body. Maybe one day science will be able to make us all robot chassis and we can upload our consciousness directly into a burnished titanium frame. Until that day, however, we’re going to have to learn to deal with the fact that sometimes people poop, sometimes they poop in other people’s toilets, and sometimes poop smells. And most people probably prefer to use a nice private toilet rather than a public toilet at a bar.

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SHOEGAL January 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I thought Tom sounded weird due to the lip gloss ordeal – the story made him out as sort of creepy – so I probably wouldn’t want to keep including him in my social circle – that was the only thing that he did wrong. I don’t use Facebook and have absolutely no desire to start. All of this friending and unfriending business really irks me. Obviously, don’t discuss private parites on a public forum. Tom really shouldn’t be inviting himself but it seems clear that he is socially a little awkward and wants to be included. If the OP enjoyed his company – it wouldn’t be a big deal for him to know about future parties.

Sorry – everybody uses the bathroom. Sometimes it is not pleasant and sometimes we don’t have the luxury of waiting. The set up of letting people in and waiting while they do their business is clearly not a good one and it is actually ungracious to assume that your guests would know better than to stink up your personal bathroom and use the bar down the street!!! Tom wasn’t embarrassed because he mistakenly assumed you would be mature enough to handle it.

I was offended when at a graduation party that the hosts asked if their guest would please use the bathroom in another building instead of the bathroom at the house. There were signs posted everywhere. Why is that a problem? Well -the bathroom they directed their guests to didn’t have a door and wasn’t private. When I went there – there were people in the building walking around and the toilet was at the top of stairs and just open and absolutely NOT private. If you are going to invite people to your home for a party – assume they will use your bathroom – assume the worst and be gracious about it.

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Another Laura January 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Why was I expecting Tom to have “painted” the bathroom with the lip gloss or worse while he was in there for so long? When I read that all he did was take awhile and make it smelly, I thought the OP had lost her marbles.

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LonelyHound January 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

First, OP, Facebook has messaging capabilities. This would allow you to use the convience of Facebook while being private. It also brings up the names of the people you might be inviting to said party so all you have to do is click them in.

About the “movement,” I do not see a problem. A bathroom is for just such a thing. If you are worried about stinky people have candles burning or potpourri in the bathroom. You could even leave air freshener in a location that is hard to miss so the guest gets the subtle hint. There are things you can do besides not inviting someone for using the bathroom as it was designed to be used.

I also, and this might just be me, do not understand making people go find a public restroom when they might have a stinky movement when you have a restroom, intended for thier use, otherwise. First, I am at a loss as to how one determines this. Secondly, when one hosts people at their house, while the entirety of the house is not open to guests (at our house guests are not permitted in the room where overflow coats and pruses are kept- if you need your purse ask the hostess) I always assumed the designated bathrooms were open for general use.

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Jennifer January 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Okay, the lipgloss thing is a little rude.

But the person who is super rude here is the OP. Do you think maybe the reason he spent 20 minutes in the bathroom is he ate something that settled badly? I know some people are willing to “keep it in” to avoid using someone else’s bathroom, but that’s actually really bad for you and simply impossible sometimes.

The absolute rudest thing in this letter to gossip and judge about someone else’s bowel function. Sadly, I’d guess that the OP has told someone other than just in an anonymous forum.

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Barb January 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm

In our circle we would say Tom “had a moment.”

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twik January 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm

This is one of those letters that one wants to believe is a put-on. “Nasty toilet habits”? In other words, actually using a toilet, the way it was intended to be used? What a strange way to look at it!

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Amy January 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I always thought the purpose of a bathroom was to do your business. Sounds like the OP is a member of the “Bathroom Gestapo” as I have named it, as there are two girls who I work with who have a similar attitude to those wishing to answer the call of nature in our work’s toilets!
Our shift had just finished and a load of us were in the staffroom getting our coats/bags, etc, when one the girls just says out loud “Someone keeps s***ing in the toilets, if I find out who the f**k it is I’m going to f***ing kill them! It’s f***ing disgusting!” (Yes, they did use that many profanities in one hit!)
Clearly they never go to the toilet, because they are too clean and too perfect to do such a thing!

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Libchick January 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Two words: Everybody poops.

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AnnieMauser January 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm

My dear, you opened your invitation to your entire social circle, which is not so ‘modest’ as to include only good friends, but apparently online acquaintances as well, but now you’re surprised one of them, Tom, took your invitation at face value and accepted?
Tom brings a hostess gift, but is not perfectly in-sync with your game rules, and you’re shocked he used your bathroom. I almost don’t have words. Happily, others did. As they pointed out, you are entirely incorrect. When you host people, you host them – that includes feeding, watering and giving them a place to relieve themselves. (I might add that does not require you to be the ‘bathroom police’, rushing in to administer the sniff test after each guest uses your facilities.) As another commenter pointed out, a thoughtful hostess might have candles already lit.
Now, you are apparently discussing additional parties in front of your entire ‘modest’ social circle, but again you don’t really want to include everyone? You didn’t learn a lesson before?
It seems you made a better impression on Tom than you have on any of us, and that makes me very sad. He’s clearly willing to extend his genuine friendship to you, and he doesn’t know he shouldn’t bother.
My advice, genuinely meant, is to re-evaluate your expectations of your guests (and human beings in general). You certainly don’t have to like Tom, but you do need to change your actions – discussing parties online or in person in the presence of those who aren’t invited is always rude – and you do need to expect guests to use your bathroom to all purposes for which it exists.

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Angeldrac January 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

One of the first etiquette lessons my mother ever gave me was “don’t discuss social events infront of people who are not invited or welcome”. I think that, if you don’t want all and sundry coming to your gatherings, don’t post the invite to all and sundry. Write some emails or create a private “event” if you want to use social networking sites. Isn’t that very basic manners?
Yes, I don’t like it when people poo and stink-up my loo, but that’s what happens sometimes when guests come over. I just make sure to have plenty of paper, a scented candle burning and an obvious brush handy if someone needs to clean the bowl a little.
This poor guy sounds like he was really excited to “be invited” to a party , and to do some socializing. He’s obviously a wee bit awkward, so social events are probably a bit rare for him.
OP, you could be feeling proud for doing a good turn in including this guy and giving him a chance to do some partying.

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Shea January 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I don’t understand what the problem is regarding the toilet. Of course it’s not pleasant when someone leaves the bathroom smelling less than fresh, but it’s a *bathroom*. It happens. Unless Tom clogged the toilet and didn’t tell anyone, or made a terrible mess and didn’t clean up after himself, I don’t see how what he did is so horrible. I can’t imagine he did it on purpose.

Tom seems like a rather socially awkward individual (the bit with the lip gloss was certainly strange), and if he’s inviting himself to your parties now, that’s impolite of him. However, if you really don’t want to stop using social networking sites for party planning, can’t you create a “private” event and set it up so that only people you invite can see it? I don’t know if you’re using something other than Facebook, but I would think that other site have a similar feature. If you don’t want people you don’t know well turning up at your parties, don’t create public events.

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Goldie January 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I wonder why the OP thought it unacceptable for a guest to use a bathroom in their hosts’ apartment, but at the same time perfectly acceptable for the same guest to run into a bar next door, poop, and leave to go back to the party. Are the bar owners okay with everyone in the neighborhood encouraging their guests to use their facilities as an overflow bathroom?

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badkitty January 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’m not comfortable with the blanket “don’t talk about your party on Facebook” rule… I’ve got some friends who have (due to their line of work or travel habits) somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 friends on their Facebook; I myself have fewer than 100, because they are all actual people that I care about and who really do want to know about the random events in my life. We could call each other more often, I suppose, or just choose to live closer to one another, but Facebook works just fine. Anyway, I don’t see anything wrong with my friend who works in PR sharing pics of a party we all weren’t invited to, or asking for recommendations on everything from wine to caterers; if it was the sort of thing that would be appropriate/interesting for me, she’d have invited me. Likewise, with my much smaller list I don’t have a problem talking about my fun upcoming plans and get-togethers because I don’t have anyone on there so gauche as to be offended by not being the center of my universe – the sort of person who would be put off by finding out that I’m planning a party and they’re not invited. They’re aware that they’re too far away, or it’s not their thing, or it’s just the girls, or whatever. In person it’s rude, but we’re talking about a site where we can share everything and people can read or not read, click or not click.

As for how to deal with this person: if you don’t like him, delete him. End of. On most networks, they don’t even get a message telling them that they’ve been deleted; they just stop seeing your posts. If you want everyone you’ve ever met on your “friends” list then that’s fine, but you can’t complain that some of them are irresponsible about it.

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Radred January 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm

First of all, that is the worst pass the parcel or pollyanna or dirty santa or whatever. I can’t fathom people being left out when they were required to bring something even if it is a small trinket. Did Tom understand that concept?

Also, chances are Tom ate something terrible at the lunch and then lost control of his bowels. The happens. I discovered I could no longer drink “Brisk Raspberry Ice Tea” because I would be on the toilet all night within a few hours of drinking it. Tom probably left right away because he still had more and didn’t want to be a burden anymore – after all, he probably knew you were impatiently waiting. Then the OP is upset/bothered that Tom posted pictures and jokes about the fun evening he had??? Down to the depths of hell with him! Oh OP, your defecation doesn’t stink?

I think the etiquette faux pas is all on the OP here. If Tom wrote his side I bet he would say how hard he tried to be a gracious guest only to have the OP critiquing everything he did because he was the “new guy” not one of the close acquaintances. (Ok the lip gloss thing is weird – but why was there gender specific gifts when the receiver would be random?). Anyway, the OP comes across pompous in the writing style and overall arrogant tone. I would invite Tom. Poor guy suffered severe digestive problems from the OP’s cooking and is now shunned because of it. (that’s my theory)

STOP DISCUSSING PRIVATE EVENTS IN PUBLIC!

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TheVapors January 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Let me get this straight… the man used the bathroom for a #2 and THAT’S what mortified the OP? Really? Color me bewildered.

Here’s the line that confused me: “At first I thought Tom was embarrassed by his bathroom adventure and left in haste, but it seems not. He posted dozens of photos of the event online that very same evening, ‘tagging’ or naming us all in them and making ‘funny’ comments.”

I -thought- the OP meant that Tom had posted pictures of his “bathroom adventure” online. Turns out, I misread and it seems all he did was post pictures of the actual party. Yes?

He was a little odd with the lipgloss, I do agree. And that might be enough to not really want to socialize with him so often. In which case, that means not talking about parties in public places where he might see, and therefore feel excluded when he’s not welcome.

But, really, his grande finale of being cut from future parties was having the audacity to poop in your bathroom? This is possibly the most ridiculous over-reaction I have ever seen.

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Kate January 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I find the lipgloss situation a little odd, but if using somebody’s bathroom in that fashion is a etiquette faux pas I must go thank all my friends profusely for still knowing me!

My father and I both suffer with a large number of digestive problems, and there are times when I simply cannot wait till I get home, or hold it in, because the pain is excruiciatingly painful. And another side effect of our problems is that it doesnt always smell like roses afterwards. If I am invited to a friend’s house, and I need to use the bathroom, I would do so – and I, personally, would prefer not to then discuss it afterwards by apologising for the smell and how long I took, I’d rather move on and gloss over the situation, because I’d rather not discuss it, and I don’t want to invite questions into my illnesses. But if I have friends over, regardless of whether they have any problems, I’m happy for them to use my bathroom – it’s what its there for! It may not be the most pleasant bodily function, but it’s necessary, and everyone does it – suggesting people should use a public restroom as opposed to their host’s bathroom is just plain odd to me.

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Catherine January 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Tom used the bathroom for its intended use, and the OP’s reaction is rude and immature. If you don’t enjoy socializing with Tom, stop putting your party invitations where he can see them. There’s nothing wrong with not wishing to invite someone to your parties – you don’t have to be best friends with everyone – but it’s completely absurd to use this bathroom non-incident as an excuse. This is equivalent to someone freaking out because a guest got silverware dirty while eating.

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majuba January 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I’m a little confused by the reference to photos at the end of the story. Did you mean that Tom took photos of your guests and posted them on Facebook…..or that he photographed his “session” in the bathroom and then posted THAT online….in that case….Eeeew, I’d definatly block/restrict his access to my facebook page. Otherwise its just a clueless party guest that acted weird then stunk up your bathroom.

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Shea January 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

You could just change the security of your posts so that he can’t read them. More sites are allowing for tighter control by groups, so you can have posts visible only to those whom are invited.

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Yet another Laura January 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Look on the bright side, OP — at least Tom made it to the toilet!

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Cupcake January 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Wow, this is ridiculous.

However, the lipgloss incident and constantly inviting himself to parties are both off-putting so I’m not surprised you want to shake him off. The best way to do this is to STOP DISCUSSING THESE THINGS IN A PUBLIC FORUM. I agree that social networking sites are really convenient for making plans with friends. They’re also really convenient for making these plans PRIVATELY, thanks to features like inbox messaging and private event pages that only the invitees can view. Assuming you use Facebook, you can even change your settings so that Tom can’t see anything you post even if he’s still your friend, or change the settings of a specific post so that only certain people can view it, meaning Tom would see some of your activities but would not read about social events. There is absolutely no need for this stuff to be made public to Tom.

You should definitely not defriend him and explain that it’s because he had the audacity to poo in your toilet like a normal human being. Word might get around and you’d come off looking a lot worse than him.

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Snowy January 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Agree on the bathroom, disagree on the parties. A group of people should not have to stop discussing social gatherings because one person doesn’t understand that he can’t invite himself along to everything. (It will probably be kinder to him in the long run.) If he doesn’t get the hint soon, someone should explain to him that he needs to stop doing it. If he *still* does it then they’ll need to go private for their own sake, until he fades from sight or gets the hint.

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jess January 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hello Hyacynth Bucket (or is it bouquet?),

I agree with another poster, rather than being rude it seems as though Tom very much wants to be accepted into a circle of friends and is very awkward about it. Maybe he is extremely shy and is trying so hard to be ‘outgoing’ that he comes off as a bit unusual. I am this way, I avoid social situations at all cost unless it is with very close friends or family as I get so insecure around strangers that I mix my words or my mind goes blank and people assume I am just weird.

I got the impression that he was so happy to be invited to a party that he wants to repeat the experience and if OP is the only one who has ever invited him he might be game enough to run with that (hence the self inviting) and risk being a little bit rude. The MAJOR rudeness lies with the OP. He bought a lovely gift to the hostess, made a slight mistake with the game and then used the toilet. WOW OP you are one judgmental human being.

I mean, not only gossiping about someone elses bowel movements, which you should have been mature enough to be gracious about, a good hostess would have helped a guest cover up a potentially embarrassing situation rather than cause them MORE embarrassment! Also, if he invites himself just say ‘we enjoy your company but this will be a private affair’ or something. Deleting a whole conversation is passive aggressive and insulting, you cant even be mature enough to just tell the man it is invite only? Delete him OP and give him a chance to find some decent friends. If you are so uptight that you forget your human and humans have bodily functions they cant control then STOP HOSTING HUMANS TO YOUR PARTIES!!! Mannequins dont poop. OR you could decide to be nice and include Tom in another party, just to help him and be nice.

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babs January 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Poor guy had a problem and that’s why he exited quickly after finishing his “business.” Blame him for being a little creepy over the lip gloss thing (the noble thing for Susie to have done would have been to offer him the chocolates), but please don’t blame him for the bathroom incident. I think we’ve pretty much all been there at one time or another. My grandmother had terrible diarrhea when the family took a trip to the Alamo and my mother swore that this is why they put in better bathrooms there the year after she “left her mark”! When you’re having a lot of people over, you need to expect the unexpected and just go with the “flow” (pun intended!).

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acr January 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I’m assuming that Tom was cooking meth in the bathroom from the OP’s ire. Clearly, she can’t have been that upset over someone using the bathroom for its intended purpose.

Also, Tom was immature about the lip gloss…but I think Suzy should have given him the chocolates or at least offered him one out of the box.

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Melissa January 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I’m sorry, but I think that it’s incredibly immature to assume that a guest will not use your bathroom for its intended purposes. Let’s face facts… poop happens and it generally stinks… and that applies universally to everyone. Expecting your guest to use a bar restroom down the street is just plain rude. I generally keep a candle burning in the guest bathroom and have some nice air freshener available for their use (just in case they do feel self conscious). The OP should be thankful that Tom would still like to socialize with her at all. Hovering over the bathroom like some sort of poop police doesn’t exactly create a welcoming environment.

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ArtK January 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Etiquette embraces the “polite fiction.” The polite fiction in this case is that nobody’s s*** stinks. Because of that, would be extremely rude to comment on it and completely out of line to ostracize someone over it. If you don’t want people stinking up your bathroom, then don’t have guests. Ever.

In our college days, we referred to the “porcelain god,” but the bathroom isn’t a shrine. It’s a private place to do things that can’t be done in public. Some of those things can leave a lasting impression. That’s life.

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Cat Whisperer January 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Amy, I had to laugh at your “bathroom gestapo” phrase. I worked in a location where a woman (can’t call her a “lady”) in our organization appointed herself in charge of monitoring, and telling the world, who didn’t use the paper “butt gasket” toilet covers in the restroom! I kid you not, she would listen to hear if someone pulled one out of the slot in the bathroom stall and put it on the toilet seat. And if the person didn’t use the cover, she would let the whole world know!

Man, this is ‘way, ‘way more information than I want to know about people. It boggles my mind to know that there are people who actually concern themselves with such things.

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GroceryGirl January 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I’m going to hop right on the bandwagon with everyone else here:

First, Facebook: Facebook allows you to very easily limit who sees what simply by clicking the little arrow in the box when you post something. It’s a nice way to, say, hide an off-color joke from your grandma or keep an unwanted guest from seeing party info. Furthermore, this poor guy obviously doesn’t realize he offended you so you can’t turn your nose up at him for fishing for invites. It’s a little needy, sure, but not a faux pas.

The lip gloss thing was weird but I’ve heard worse.

And then there is the bathroom issue. I’m with everyone else, this is an overreaction. I have a friend who believes in very specific rules about bathroom use (like “only go at home”) and is very observant of how others use the bathroom. She has practically given me a complex about it. It isn’t something that can always be controlled and it is cruel to make such a big stink (pun intended ;) about it.

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Lexie January 31, 2012 at 3:05 am

When hosting a gathering at your home, you’re obliged to allow them to use the facilities without judgement, on the understanding that they clean up after themselves. It seems that part of the problem was that Tom wasn’t a friend you were fond of.

I agree that Tom is lacking in many social graces, but honestly, he used your bathroom. We all have to do it.

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lkb January 31, 2012 at 5:19 am

I agree with everyone about the toilet thing.
About the lip gloss thing: It sounds like Tom is a bit socially awkward. This Christmas I played one of those Dirty Santa games that sounds a lot like the one here. I prefer ones in which everyone gets something at the end, rather than those like the one here in which some people get multiples and others leave empty-handed. Sure, they’re only $2 gifts, but…
It sounds to me that Tom didn’t get the point of the game. I wonder what he contributed. Did he stop and grab a quick trinket on his way over? Did he stop and grab something nice and then end up with a woman’s lip gloss and then lose even that? Did he end up sacrificing something he happened to have in his car but still rather wanted? Perhaps he didn’t know the full rules of the game and then was miffed at the outcome. Looked at that way, I think I might have been a bit miffed too.

OP, I don’t see anything in your post that indicates you want to maintain a friendship of any sort with Tom. Quietly defriend him then.

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wolfgirl January 31, 2012 at 6:23 am

Ha this post is fantastic! I really do think this might be a fake, or else the OP has a stick so far up her butt…surely NO-ONE is actually that prissy? I can MAYBE understand (NOT justify though) her b*tchig to her other half/close friends about Tom, if they were already annoyed with him about the lipgloss incident/general oddness, about how gross he was to make such a stink, in a sort of any-excuse type way. Everyone can be guilty of that sort of meaness occassionally I’m guessing. But who would actually post for advice on how to deal with the ‘situation’! She claims to be “mortified and disgusted” as well as “disgusted and shocked”, I really hope she is real, as my inner chiled want to run right up to her and wave a bag of dog poop under her nose or something and see how she reacts! I wonder what happens when people mention bodily functions around her? I bet she has to stick her fingers in her ears and go “La-la-la-la-can’t hear-you!” : P

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amyasleigh January 31, 2012 at 7:14 am

Agree 100% with pretty well all commenters, about the toilet issue. A pet peeve of mine — people who get repressive and judgemental about folk using the toilet for their “greater bodily needs”, and the smell created thereby. It’s part of life ! — not a very aesthetically pleasing one, but it’s the way things are; and those who think that others’ indulging in it is excessive and gross, whereas their own is not: to continue with the excretory theme, those who feel that way, strike me as bat-poo crazy.

I recall an episode in a work of fiction, where the family is on holiday at the seaside; wife adjudges smell created by husband’s defectation, unacceptably nasty; so forbids him to use the toilet in their boarding-house for that purpose — he has to go out to a public convenience near the sea-front, to accomplish said business. Ample grounds for divorce IMO.

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mharbourgirl January 31, 2012 at 7:19 am

So, OP, Tom makes you uncomfortable but you don’t have the guts to come out and say it, so you’re trying to deflect your discomfort onto a very minor issue, that of the bathroom incident. Which was hardly worth mentioning, but half a hundred people have already told you that.

Just be honest. Tom is socially awkward, clearly lonely and needy and not perfectly synced up with the rules and customs of your little social circle, and you don’t want him around. What you didn’t say, but definitely implied, is that he appears to have some mental health issues and is dealing with them as best he knows how. At least he was only mildly awkward. Be glad you didn’t know ME when I was a teenager/young adult. I made Tom look like a social adept. But it’s not politically correct to come out and say that you don’t want anything to do with people who may have mental health issues, so you have to find SOME ‘good’ reason to reject him, hence the pathetic attempt to be outraged at him using your bathroom.

See, I recognize myself in poor Tom there. I’ve always been socially awkward, and I spent years trying to force myself into social situations completely oblivious that people didn’t want me around. Eventually, though, I learned that I make people uncomfortable and it’s just better that I be friendly without ever trying to be ‘friends’. I don’t get invited to parties, I haven’t been to a wedding since I was a teenager going with my family (heck, I’ve never been IN a wedding!), I don’t even get invited along to lunch when co-workers are going out. Not that people don’t like me, they just don’t feel comfortable around me for more than a few minutes and I have to respect that. You get your face rubbed in strong rejection enough times, you learn.

I just hope you’re kinder to Tom than people ever were to me, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case. *sigh*

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GroceryGirl January 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

One anecdote I must add: while playing the game of Qwelf once a friend got a card that said “Don’t say a word. Go to the bathroom and sit there until someone comes looking” My friend sat in the bathroom for almost forty minutes because none of us wanted to embarrass her by knocking on the door.

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Lauren January 31, 2012 at 9:43 am

It’s really easy to use facebook for events and yet not make a faux pas by letting those not invited see the discussions and feel excluded. Simply use the “message” function – you can mass message everyone involved and create a private thread. Or create a private event that only those invited can see and lead discussions on the wall there. Or use the chat option. The possibilites are endless. There is no need to post about events publicly and then complain when people invite themselves over.

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Enna January 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

I agree with Admin. You admit yourself OP that after the meal it was possible that someone may need to spend longer in the tolie so how is this man a brute for using a toliet? I don’t think it was intentional unless he left it in a mess which he should have cleared up. Since you find it so coninevnat to use social networking sites to organsie your events do it in away that limits who are invited and who can see the event. Simple. That way you know who is coming.

Tom’s behaviour over the lip gloss was odd but sounds like to me he wanted the chocoaltes. So he left the toliet smelly – that is hardly a reason not to invite him anymore. Maybe leave a bottle of Febreeze in the bathroom that is easy to see? That way if a guest does do something smelly they can spray.

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missblynn January 31, 2012 at 9:57 am

The only person who was rude here is YOU, OP! Yes, Tom was a little awkward during the dreadful party game. (Seriously, if you’re going to have small presents make them gender neutral) but otherwise he made an effort to be jovial and a part of the party you kept painfully reminding us (and likely him) that he was not really invited to.

Your main issue was that he pooped in your bathroom. Seriously? I highly doubt is was a malevolent move on his part and likely just an upset stomach. It might have taken him so long because you were standing right outside the door. Couldn’t you have just gone back to the party and let him finish in peace, or were you REALLY that worried about leaving him alone in your home for a few minutes?

I’m guessing you have never had to take a shit before at a place that was mildly inconvenient.

Oh noes!! He had the GALL to post pics on Facebook and talk about how much fun he had! What an ass! Surely you should have let him know that he was never really welcome in the first place.

Poor Tom deserves better than “friends” like you.

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MidoriBird January 31, 2012 at 10:06 am

You know….I have Asperger’s. I avoid social gatherings when I can and when I cannot….well, I’m usually very quiet for fear of accidentally arousing the ire of a woman like this one. (Although the lip gloss thing–I’d have known better than that.) I have food allergies which usually results in my stomach unable to handle it, and the Admin is correct–the bathroom is there for people who need it. it isn’t pleasant to visit after someone needs to make an extended visit in there but it is a human thing.

I try very, very hard to not miss social cues and to be a gracious guest. This is hard enough without hostesses like these interpreting every minor miscue as a class-action lawsuit-worthy event and posting it where others can see it. This guy was very kind and very gracious aside from this one miscue. Should he have to live with the fear, as I do, the rest of his life that everyone is always going to shut him out because of minor missteps here and there? He went above and beyond when attending this little gathering otherwise. The lip gloss thing was a bit awkward but minor, and the bathroom thing is not something outright avoidable, and asking guests to go next door at a bar is something extremely crass.

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Wink-n-Smile January 31, 2012 at 10:19 am

Catherine said: “This is equivalent to someone freaking out because a guest got silverware dirty while eating.”

LOL! I love this!

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Xtina January 31, 2012 at 10:55 am

This story and some of the subsequent comments reminded me of some people’s odd bathroom attitudes I’ve heard of. Obviously the OP is one who has some sort of bathroom hang-up. Just two quick ones I submit for interest to illustrate that apparently there are people out there who have bathroom issues.

–On a radio call-in show, they were discussing traveling, and a man, about age 40, called in and said he was one of those people who just *couldn’t* go #2 in bathrooms other than his home one, and his parents’, and thus he had never (literally) traveled or spent a night anywhere other than his parents’ house because of the bathroom issues, in his entire life. What an odd and restricting way to live life, afraid to poop in a bathroom away from home. If I were his wife, I couldn’t live with him.

–Once, at a rock concert and in a huge public bathroom, I had eaten something bad and had to poop. I did so and there was a scent (!!!!). Some woman out in the bathroom somewhere yells, for all to hear, “OMG–someone is taking a dump!” at the top of her lungs. For pete’s sake–what is the bathroom for? That was certainly unnecessary.

Anyway–just interesting, I thought. I hope the OP will rethink her bathroom attitudes after reading all these comments.

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CJ January 31, 2012 at 11:09 am

This is why I keep air freshener next to the toliet and also one of those senor air fresherers. If the hostess did not provide these tools, I would say it is her fault this guy left a sent and made him feel unconfortable. I have been around enough men to know most of them have an after meal constitutional….and they do not have the same bowl control I have :) Poor guy, uptight woman.

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CJ January 31, 2012 at 11:14 am

And I am so glad all my friends are “wierd” and eccentric. I would not even batt an eye at this guys actions. People are wierd, I personaly dislike “normal” people. Who wants to be like everyone else. In our crazy days we have had all sorts of wierd, non etiquite things happen with guest. People have riffled through my pantry, one time one of our good friends was sleep walking to use the bathroom….I had to aim him the correct direction in his sleep. We have had anouther guy butt naked in the living room curled up with my dog (nothing nasty…just sleeping together lol) Oh and billion more. My friends do wierd stuff….it happens. I value the people more then “normal.” Oh goodness…the Op would HATE me!

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--Lia January 31, 2012 at 11:55 am

Others have done a good job on the bathroom and invitation part of the letter so I won’t repeat what they’ve said. Let me take on the part about how Tom showed his social ineptness in the “pass the parcel” game. Is it possible that he wasn’t socially inept at all and only became uncomfortable as he slowly figured out how the game really worked? I don’t understand the rules myself partly because they’re not explained but also because I don’t understand how “gift envy” can be part of the fun. Without knowing the specific rules, I’d assume that any fun game like that would be based on everyone going home with something and that the jostling would be a matter of making sure that everyone went home with something a little bit appropriate. With that in mind, I’d probably start off happily giving lipstick to someone who could use it thinking that another gift would be more to my taste. When chocolates showed up, I’d trade and joke with the idea that I’d get them. After it became apparent that the rules were stupid, unfair, and not really fun at all, I’d probably engage in the sort of uncomfortable back-and-forth behavior that Tom did. Asking where one can buy lip gloss sounds strange, but it probably only dawned on him slowly how weird the whole thing was, and he may have said it as a way to cover the awkwardness of his hosts’ rudeness to play such a game in the first place. After all, he did bring a nice hostess gift in the form of that dessert. Tom sounds like a nice guy. I’d invite him over but wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t want to go to another party at the LW’s home, especially since the LW doesn’t know how to issue party invitations on time and has a weird way of hanging around outside the bathroom door while people are using it.

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Wink-n-Smile January 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

This whole thing reminds me of a letter I once read in a relationship advice column. Sorry, I forget which one it was, as it was years ago. I just remember the gist of the letter, and the reply.

Q: I’ve been dating this guy for X amount of time, and he has invited me out for a trip. We’ll be sharing a hotel room for Y number of days, and I’m just horrified that I might have to go #2 during the trip. I mean, I just can’t hold it in for THAT long! What if he hears me? What if there is a smell? What if I hold it until the middle of the night, and go while he’s asleep, but he wakes up and *knows what I’m doing*? I’d be so mortified.

A: Everybody poops. Say it with me now. Everybody poops. You do, and so does he. If you’re that concerned to think that he might realize that you are a human being, who poops, then you’re not ready to have sex with the man, let alone go on a trip with him. Slow down.
If you can’t bear to slow down, then stuff a towel under the door, or try to time your poops to happen when you’re in the hotel room and he is not. Excuse yourself during some activity outside, for example. Or use the restroom in the hotel lobby.
Or, just get over it. Everybody poops.

Yeah, it was a great response. I wish I could remember it word-for-word. The letter writer seemed almost neurotic in her fear of discovery that she has bowels. What got me, though, was the comments. Some of them suggested she “train” for her trip, by planning the schedule weeks in advance, and then forcing her body to conform to that schedule, now, so that she’d be “regular” again by then. Ummm. . . I’m not capable of altering the timing on my bodily functions. I don’t know how they do, or how they can actually schedule toilet trips, but apparently, it can be done – by purely healthy and regular people.
Others told her to flush continually, or run the shower while going, to camoflage the sound and smell. But that just wastes gallons upon gallons of water, and it’s obvious what you’re doing. Flushing five times in a row? That means it’s time to call a plumber, and really, isn’t that even more embarassing? Also, that segued the whole dialogue into a discussion about living green and global warming.

So, say it with me now – Everybody poops!

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