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It’s All Your Fault That My Client Heard Your Toilet Noises

At the time this happened, I was working for a big financial institution.

I have a pet peeve regarding people speaking on their cell phone while in a public restroom. I feel that it is rude to the other people using the facilities as well as disrespectful of the person you are speaking with.

One day, while using the facilities at work, a co-worker came in talking on her phone. As I am standing at the sink, washing my hands, the following conversation happens:

Miss Rude Co-Worker:  “You know, I don’t appreciate you being so loud while I was on the phone.”

Me: *mimicking her tone of voice* “You know, I don’t appreciate you being on the phone while I’m trying to pee.”   0131-13

Whoa!  Your co-worker had the audacity to rebuke you for body noises you made while in the toilet stall while she was on the phone?  Oh….oh my.  That’s a new one.   Guilt manipulating others with warped accusations of ill manners to assuage their own poor judgment is nothing new, of course, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this excuse to justify cell phone usage in an operational bathroom.   Too bad you did not use the facilities to the fullest extent of your internal organs and let loose with an auditory fusillade of epic proportions or loudly asked, “Does anyone have some extra toilet paper?   Mine is out.”


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rhiannon January 31, 2013, 11:33 pm

    Hmm, with everyone’s insistence that there is absolutely no place for mobiles in a bathroom, I have to disagree. As a frequent traveller, in stopovers I often kill time by spending as much time as I need in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup, as I usually have somebody I haven’t seen in awhile picking me up. Even though bodily sounds are normal and expected in a bathroom, I’m aware some girls look at me awkwardly when it’s just me and them in a large empty space, where any noises are echoed and amplified. My solution being, to play soft but audible music on my phone so that everyone goes about their business with no complaints. Of course it’s completely un-offensive music, think Maroon 5.
    But I wonder, could this be considered rude?

  • KB January 31, 2013, 11:43 pm

    I’ve always considered it encroaching on the privacy a person should get when using the restroom to hold an audible phone conversation.

    The worst example of this that I’ve run into was recently at the college I attend. I had just gotten out of class and had ten minutes until my next class, but I really badly needed to use the restroom, so I went in. There were two stalls. One had just been taken by someone else, and the other was occupied by a girl who wasn’t even using the restroom. She was using the stall to hold a very personal phone conversation (which was very easy to hear). I waited five minutes and she didn’t leave the stall, end the phone call, or make any indication of actually going to the bathroom, and the other girl was taking her time, so I ended up stuck in an hour-long class focused more on my need to use the bathroom than the lecture.

    • Asharah May 19, 2015, 12:15 pm

      I think if I really needed to go, I would have been banging on the door and yelling at her to have her [blank] important conversation somewhere else, cause I need to pee!

  • SunnyDi February 1, 2013, 12:23 am

    I used to work with a woman who would spend her entire breaks in the bathroom SCREAMING obscenities at her boyfriend! Pretty much every day! It was just a normal occurrence to come in there and hear obscenities flowing freely if you shared a break time with her. We knew everything that was going on in their relationship whether we wanted to or not! I just found it extremely rude. Why would you want your coworkers to hear you speaking that way to the man you supposedly love?

  • SunnyDi February 1, 2013, 12:24 am

    Ooops! I meant to add screaming obscenities on her cell phone! The boyfriend wasn’t in the potty with her! LOL!

  • NostalgicGal February 1, 2013, 1:23 am

    To GreenHall, that was priceless, I printed it to stick up next time I need to in a public john.

    I have had to on a rare occasion stay on a call and tend to nature as I have medical that means I often can’t wait when I have to go. In that case I will explain carefully I might have to mute a few times here, but please continue, and do what I have to quickly and also NOT SCREAM INTO THE PHONE like those on cell calls often seem to do. Only a few times though! And not by my choice. (yes I mute and I flush!)

    Those that think the universe should revolve around them so they can conduct loud and professional business in the bathroom, such as the OP noted, yes I’d be in the crowd to flush a few times loudly and even yeah, do the comment about being out of paper!

    Back in earlier days when cells were bricks so I’m talking landline, I was working while DH was in grad school, in different cities. I often would come home from work and take a nap, then get up and do a few hours of something in the evening and go to bed. It didn’t seem to matter *when* I needed to use the facilities in the evening, he would call me right in the middle of business. And be mad if I didn’t answer! Calling him back was no good either, he wanted to talk to me NOW. I had a phonestore a few blocks away make me a custom 112′ plugin cord that I could snake from the only jack in my apartment along the wall down the hall and into the bathroom, and when I went to ‘go’, I’d take the phone base with me and plug it in at the end of that cord. Trust me, this was 3 1/2 years of this and I think I had two calls from him in that entire time that weren’t when I really had to do nature’s business! He got explained to about it and that was just the way life went. That also wasn’t really a public restroom and expecting everyone else to listen to my phone business and be quiet so the other person didn’t know the one on this end was in the bathroom!

  • Bint February 1, 2013, 4:44 am

    Rhiannon – it’s not clear from this whether you mean you’re using your mobile or it’s just with you. It’s not rude to have it; it’s rude to make or take a phone call from it in the bathroom. People don’t want to hear you ringing from there, and the people in that bathroom don’t want to have their noises broadcast down your phone line.

    Hanging around bathrooms for ages is your right, if annoying or mildly creepy for some people.

    Playing your choice of music aloud on your phone isn’t a solution I’d use. I don’t think it’s any better than playing it aloud on a train.

  • Barbarian February 1, 2013, 7:08 am

    Years ago I worked in an office that had one small in-office restroom. The owner liked eye candy, so he hired two incredibly immature women in their 20’s to answer his phones and run his front office. They did not have the professional demeanor to work in a professional office, but their looks and party life style bolstered his middle-age ego. One day I went in to use the restroom and locked the door behind me. A customer called and asked for me, insisting it was urgent. These two women stood outside the door repeatedly shouting that the caller was on the line and I needed to get out of there pronto to take it. I treated them exactly like my 3-yr old son when he pulled such antics when I was in the bathroom-I ignored them until I was done. After that, I used the office building’s public restroom. The other owner asked why didn’t I use the one in the office and he just shook his head when I told him the story. I changed jobs rather quickly.

    Another topic-it blows my mind when I hear folks on their cell phones in elevators give out passwords and access codes to various IT systems. Just to be malicious, I waited for one guy to exit the elevator and casually stated, BTW, I now know that the password to your system is>>>>>>” Don’t know if it fazed him.

  • The Elf February 1, 2013, 7:43 am

    Rhiannon, the rude part isn’t *really* using the cell phone in the bathroom, though I could argue that it breaks the custom of silence so that everyone can go about their business in peace. The really rude part is twofold:

    1) It’s rude to the people on the other side of the conversation because bathroom noise is inevitable, and no one wants to hear it.
    2) In this story, the cell phone user went one further and demanded everyone else be quiet!

    Why can’t you use the phone in the gates or baggage claim? That’s when I use mine when traveling.

  • Claire February 1, 2013, 8:18 am

    I completely agree with Lexie. Who wants all those e-coli bugs and what ever else all over their mobile phone? Yuck.

  • Meegs February 1, 2013, 9:45 am

    I personally couldn’t care less if someone is using their cell phone in the bathroom. But they better not dare criticize anyone for doing normal bathroom things in the bathroom because they are on the phone.

  • MidoriBird February 1, 2013, 9:50 am

    Using one’s phone in the bathroom is not only rude, it’s unhygienic. Not only would I never touch the cell phone of anyone I know of who’s done it, how many people don’t realize that they wash their hands afterwards, but not their phone, the very same phone they were in the bathroom stall with and touched with the same hands they were using before that hand wash? You’ve just undone all your handwashing efforts.

  • Yvaine February 1, 2013, 10:38 am

    I once heard of someone who dealt with this by feigning horror and saying, “Oh no! I thought this was a restroom! Did I just pee in a phone booth again?” Probably rude, but funny.

  • Gee February 1, 2013, 10:53 am

    It’s rude to use the bathroom for its intended purpose? That’s a new one!

    And seriously, if you can’t put the phone down for a bathroom break, I think you’re way too attached to it. You won’t die if you can’t use your cell phone for 10 minutes. I promise.

  • Angel February 1, 2013, 11:51 am

    Rhiannon, I’m sure no one has ever said anything to you so I will–it’s rude no matter what your excuse is. If you are traveling–I’m sorry there are still other places to make phone calls within the airport, train station or wherever you are. I have seen people using their phones by the bathroom sink in a public restroom, and I often think but would never say out loud, “What is so damned important that you cannot wait 30 seconds to go outside and make or take your phone calls?” Using the phone when you’re actually in the stall is just so unhygenic. I don’t get why people do this–I mean the person on the other end wants to speak to you so much that they don’t mind a few toilet noises the background? Gross.

  • Library Diva February 1, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Rhiannon, personally, I’d be really weirded out if I used a public restroom and saw a woman in there playing music for the rest of us. You can certainly use a public restroom to fix your hair and makeup, no etiquette violation whatsoever there. If you feel you really need music while doing these things, though, you should put in earplugs. And if it’s for the comfort of the others using it, I’d submit that their comfort level in using public restrooms is their own problem. If they feel awkward using the bathroom around others, they’ll feel that way regardless of whether or not you’re providing “cover music.”

  • MamaToreen February 1, 2013, 1:59 pm

    I might not have mimicked her tone, but I would have advised her that mobile phones worrk anywhere. Toilet facilities only work where they are hooked up. But then, I’m an overbearing b… woman 😉

  • WildIrishRose February 1, 2013, 2:00 pm

    I was in the ladies’ room once when a co-worker entered, ensconced herself in a stall, and called her SON. I heard her say, “Oh, I’m in the restroom but I don’t care if you hear what goes on in here.” To which I responded as loudly as possible: “WELL, *I* DO!!!!” She hung up.

  • WildIrishRose February 1, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Admin, we need “like” buttons! 🙂

  • GC Girl February 1, 2013, 3:29 pm

    This use to drive me batty at my previous job. I had to deal with recruiters who traveled across the country and they were very attached to their phones. I ended reaming out the group of them on this because I knew the company had provided all of them with Blackberrys THAT HAVE VOICE MAIL. I actually had to explain to them that nothing I was calling them for required an instant response if they were “indisposed”. Let me go to voice mail while you do your business, if what I need is urgent, I’ll leave you a message.

  • Ergala February 1, 2013, 6:05 pm

    Other than talking on the phones there is another BIG no no for bathrooms. This one makes me want to vomit every time I witness it. People who bring open drinks or open containers of food in the bathroom. I worked with a woman who would go and cook her lunch in the microwave then bring her plate into the bathroom, leave it on the bathroom sink counter while she went to the bathroom. So now I am afraid I’ll splash water on her food. I have such a phobia of bathroom germs in my food that I absolutely will NOT drink water from a bathroom faucet and I brush my teeth in the kitchen. Our toilet is right next to the sink so I think my issue is valid. Between phone calls and the food/drink issue I dread public bathrooms. I have a few stomach issues and if I have fried food or fatty good I get an extremely upset stomach within 20 minutes or so of eating the offending food. If I am in the bathroom dealing with that and someone says “Hey I’m on the phone can you be quiet” I’ll simply make every effort I can to be louder. Usually I try to be more discreet…..but if you are going to tell me that passing gas in a bathroom is rude I’ll show you rude….

  • Rhiannon February 1, 2013, 6:41 pm

    Okay, clearly most people who replied to my comment didn’t read it all the way through. I never advocated using a phone for calling, as that’s obviously rude. Please read the entire comment before ‘telling me off’ for something I didn’t say. I’d also like to point out to the commenter who said it was ‘mildly creepy I choose to hang around bathrooms’ that using the clean and usually separate area of mirror and bench space isn’t the same as just sitting in a stall for ages. I could set up a mirror in the waiting lounge and do my makeup there for fifteen minutes, but then I’m sure you could argue it’s not correct etiquette to self-groom so extensively in public.
    @LibraryDiva, yeah that was my original thinking as well. I don’t really pay any attention to others in public restrooms, but after noticing quite a few (namely young teenage girls) give me deer in the headlights looks when entering, I figured breaking the silence might be more comfortable for them. Its something we used to do in school when one of our friends hated using public restrooms – we’d just play music or use the hand dryer loudly. But you’re right, I think next time I’ll just put earphones in.

  • Mishy February 1, 2013, 11:28 pm

    Rhiannon if you play music to cover up the stark silence whilst I was in the bathroom I would very thankful.

  • keloe February 2, 2013, 6:00 pm

    Unfortunately, I got used to people using phones in bathrooms. However, few days ago I saw something that almost floored me.
    I entered a shower stall at the gym. I heard a voice from the stall next to me. I thought the lady was just chatting to someone further along the row, when she suddenly announced loudly: “Of course I’m not washing my hair, you can’t do THAT while on the phone!”
    Yup, all the time she was on her phone. The silhouette is sort of visible through the stall wall, so I could see she was kind of leaning back and holding the phone to her ear with her shoulder. She was not trying to keep her voice down in any way.
    Then she proceeded to exit the showers and go back to the locker room. I was at the other end, but I could hear her voice all the time. When I was drying my hair, she (dried and fully dressed in outside clothes) stopped by the mirrors to put her hair up, still on the phone, and I’m pretty sure still having the same conversation (considering the fact that she didn’t stop talking for even half a minute).
    It was not an important, life-or-death-matter conversation. I generally tune out other people talking (sharing a room at work with 5 people is good practice), but she wasn’t keeping her voice down in any way, so I overheard enough to figure put she was having a flirty conversation with some guy.
    I’m not sure if it qualifies as rude, but it was definitely odd.

  • Bint February 3, 2013, 5:33 am

    “I’d also like to point out to the commenter who said it was ‘mildly creepy I choose to hang around bathrooms’”

    But I didn’t say that. Ironically, after you complained some people hadn’t read your post properly, you didn’t read mine properly either. I didn’t say it *was* or that *you* were anything. I said *some people* find it mildly creepy when *other people* hang around in bathrooms for ages. Some people do just find this creepy. Or annoying. And they wish you’d just finish putting your mascara on and get out of there because they need to make a lot of noise that your music won’t cover. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, by the way. I did actually say that as well.

    “I could set up a mirror in the waiting lounge and do my makeup there for fifteen minutes, but then I’m sure you could argue it’s not correct etiquette to self-groom so extensively in public.”

    Well, you’d be wrong. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t see anything wrong with putting on makeup in a public bathroom either – there’s a mirror in there, for heaven’s sake. We were talking about using mobiles in bathrooms. No, that’s not ok. No, playing ‘soft music’ to everyone in there is not really ok either. That was it. That’s the point. You could stay in there for six hours if you want to do your makeup and you’d be fine. Other people wouldn’t like it but no faux pas there.

  • Cerys February 4, 2013, 8:05 am

    Michellep, was it really necessary to criticise Hannah2’s writing style? A simple ‘I’m not sure if I’m interpreting your post correctly’ would have been clear enough. Accusing her of poor writing and spelling mistakes was both inappropriate and unfair – especially since the one (one!) really obvious spelling error was clearly a typo.

  • Library Diva February 4, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Keloe, that’s a new one on me! She was actually using the phone while in the shower? Forget about etiquette violations, isn’t that not only seriously bad for the phone but potentially dangerous for the user, too?

  • Enna February 4, 2013, 1:15 pm

    This lady was rude to the OP, OP may have been childish but I think the lady was being far more childish.

    Genreally speaking I think it is rude to use your mobile in a public toliet and expect no sounds from other people – it’s not private it is a public place. However there maybe some instances where someone HAS to make a call or receive a call. E.g. if someone’s teenage child calls them to tell mum/dad/whoever is giving them a lift home from the station that their train has been delayed. However if someone tried to call me in the ladies and it wasn’t something important like letting someone know that I’m safe or where to meet so they aren’t worried I would say “I am in the ladies call you back in 2 mins.”

  • Tracy February 4, 2013, 3:41 pm

    I don’t use the phone in the bathroom* and I’d appreciate it if those who call me didn’t either, but I’m surprised at those who think it’s their responsibility to make passive-aggressive, or downright aggressive, comments at those who do. As Meegs said, as long as you don’t criticize me for using the bathroom for its intended purpose, I couldn’t care less what you do in there. Well, taking up a stall just for your phone call is bad. Don’t do that.

    *I did use the phone in the stall once. I’d just received word that there had been a shooting at my child’s school, and I was waiting for an update, so I took the phone in there with me and answered it when the school called. Anyone who felt the need to make snarky comments on my behavior would have received a well-earned earful from me.

  • NostalgicGal February 5, 2013, 12:29 am

    Tracy, in the case of the school callback, I certainly wouldn’t fault you for taking the call anywhere you were at.

    I also believe you wouldn’t give me grief if I was in the next stall doing what nature intended, after all it’s a bathroom. I wouldn’t be humming and making vatloads of unnatural noise either if I overheard a call like that, that is an UNDERSTOOD on a rare priority life-call.

    The original posting is about someone giving someone the heck for doing what you are supposed to do in a bathroom while SHE was ON her PHONE and the NERVE of the OP to make those noises while She Was On Her Phone! In that case the complainer is the one that deserves an extra flush for sound effects.

  • Tracy February 5, 2013, 1:43 pm

    NostalgicGal, I was really talking about commenters who felt it was their duty to dress down anyone who dares use the phone in the bathroom, not the OP.

  • NostalgicGal February 6, 2013, 9:09 pm

    @Tracy, yes, I understand. I just wanted to point out that a) what you mentioned for a reason, is a really legit one. I wouldn’t fault you or anyone else in a situation like that. B) in same situation you wouldn’t fault me for being in next stall doing what nature demands. I certainly wouldn’t be doing c) overdoing it because I could tell you had a reason and the person on the other end doesn’t need to hear me being a prat about it (making noises on purpose.)

    I just pointed out in the last bit, about the OP’s post, to get back on topic… my thoughts on it.

  • Michelle C Young February 7, 2013, 1:03 am

    KB – Since I have a tiny bladder, and an auto accident has done something to the nerves that give me sufficient warning, basically, once I get the urge to pee, I need to go NOW. So, if someone is hogging the only toilet available, you bet I’ll be dancing and saying loudly, “Oh, boy, I really need to PEEEEEE. I sure hope I can make it!” And if that doesn’t get the girl to take the phone out of the toilet booth, I’m afraid, I’d have to ask her outright to please vacate the stall, and let me use it for its intended purpose, before there’s a puddle on the floor.

    We’re such an indoor population these days, that if you want privacy, your best bet is to go for a walk. Tiled bathrooms just make all the noise reverberate and seem louder, so there is no privacy there, at least not for conversations.

  • Mabel February 10, 2013, 1:29 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    When people are on the phone in the bathroom, I’m always very tempted to start making really loud obnoxious fart noises. I don’t do it, but it’s there in my head. 🙂

  • Jackie February 12, 2013, 2:23 pm

    I don’t normally call out cell phone users in the bathroom but let’s face it- there are very few instances where you need to be on the phone while using the facility. And in the days before cell phones, we got along just fine.

    Now, to kick it up a notch- if you complain that my bathroom noise is interrupting your phone call, you will be called out and duly shamed. With extreme prejudice. As it should be. And you, feeling foolish, will skulk away with a valuable lesson learned.