Author Topic: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?  (Read 5028 times)

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flickan

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privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« on: October 30, 2013, 09:43:49 PM »
I've dealt with the "small office" bathroom (think 2-3 stalls, everyone knows everyone) for a long time and there is a thing that happens often enough that I can't help wondering if I'm the only one who thinks it's out of line.

Does anyone else get bothered by coworkers talking to them when they're in the stall?  It has always struck me as a serious breach of etiquette to attempt to converse with a coworker when they are indisposed.  I knows guys don't talk in the men's room.  I know women sometimes talk to their friends in a public bathroom.  But don't female coworkers respect the stall as a blind spot and a privacy zone?  You're not supposed to know who's in there unless you saw them go in, right?  And even then you're supposed to pretend.

I'm not particularly close to any of ladies I work with so it isn't a friend scenario.  The most glaring example was a while back when I had a coworker call me out in the stall (I guess she saw my shoes?) and ask me a work-related question.  It was not by any means urgent and it felt terribly intrusive.

Then the other day I was taking care of business when suddenly a voice from the stall next to me called "psst, Flicka, is that you??"  I was so startled I tensed up and shot back a not-very-polite, "What's wrong-- what do you want!?"  I thought maybe something bad had happened and then I thought maybe she ran out of paper.  But no, she continued with, "Sorry if you hear any noises, okay, please ignore them!"

Are you kidding me??

I mean, I was in zen mode and taking care of business and now my coworker is not only calling attention to the fact that we're both attending to needs but prepping me for embarrassing noises that I am usually thrilled to pretend aren't happening.

I was so flummoxed I just stammered, "Yeah, great, okay, whatever," and bolted from the bathroom.

So I could have been nicer about it, definitely.  No points there.  But it really shook me up.  I had to wait until she was gone so that I could creep back into the bathroom and take care of things.

Taking into account the fact that I am extremely introverted--is this rude or are my expectations out of order?   

shhh its me

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 09:54:32 PM »
  Except for "I'm out of paper can you please pass me some?" or something along those lines THERE IS A CONE OF SILENCE.   

Zizi-K

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 10:02:07 PM »
I've dealt with the "small office" bathroom (think 2-3 stalls, everyone knows everyone) for a long time and there is a thing that happens often enough that I can't help wondering if I'm the only one who thinks it's out of line.

Does anyone else get bothered by coworkers talking to them when they're in the stall?  It has always struck me as a serious breach of etiquette to attempt to converse with a coworker when they are indisposed.  I knows guys don't talk in the men's room.  I know women sometimes talk to their friends in a public bathroom.  But don't female coworkers respect the stall as a blind spot and a privacy zone?  You're not supposed to know who's in there unless you saw them go in, right?  And even then you're supposed to pretend.

I'm not particularly close to any of ladies I work with so it isn't a friend scenario.  The most glaring example was a while back when I had a coworker call me out in the stall (I guess she saw my shoes?) and ask me a work-related question.  It was not by any means urgent and it felt terribly intrusive.

Then the other day I was taking care of business when suddenly a voice from the stall next to me called "psst, Flicka, is that you??"  I was so startled I tensed up and shot back a not-very-polite, "What's wrong-- what do you want!?"  I thought maybe something bad had happened and then I thought maybe she ran out of paper.  But no, she continued with, "Sorry if you hear any noises, okay, please ignore them!"

Are you kidding me??

I mean, I was in zen mode and taking care of business and now my coworker is not only calling attention to the fact that we're both attending to needs but prepping me for embarrassing noises that I am usually thrilled to pretend aren't happening.

I was so flummoxed I just stammered, "Yeah, great, okay, whatever," and bolted from the bathroom.

So I could have been nicer about it, definitely.  No points there.  But it really shook me up.  I had to wait until she was gone so that I could creep back into the bathroom and take care of things.

Taking into account the fact that I am extremely introverted--is this rude or are my expectations out of order?

I'm an extrovert, and this would annoy me/skeeve me out to no end. I have no idea what you can do about it, other than continue offering only terse replies. To the woman who asked you a work-related question, I might have said - "Um, Sally hows about we talk about this once I'm out of the bathroom. I consider this to be private time. Thanks!"

Jones

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 10:17:20 PM »
Definitely reminds me of Elliot Reid in Scrubs, who has an ongoing problem with speaking to people who are standing outside the door and trying to have a conversation while she "takes care of business" inside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3mFZFVuYwc

In one episode, JD tries to express his love to her and she screams at him, because she's on the toilet! Couldn't find that clip though I tried.

I personally don't talk to people while I or they are using a toilet unless it's the aforementioned request for TP.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 10:26:06 PM »
Or maybe emergency feminine products. If you really have to have a conversation in the bathroom, wait until you're outside the stalls.

Library Dragon

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 11:26:32 PM »
A cone silence indeed. 

Happened to me Monday at city council.  In the ladies room an acquaintance was on her phone.  She then started talking to me while I was occupied.  What?! Are you talking to me while on the phone?  I admit that I pretended I didn't know she was talking to me. 


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Lauds

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2013, 12:37:48 AM »
I don't mind continuing a conversation that was started before one/both participants entered a stall (and neither was in a stall when the conversation started) but even then you ignore any other sounds. And even I find it weird starting a conversation if you're in the stall already. Only exception would be if you went into the bathroom with someone still in a stall and you're either checking to see if they're still in the bathroom or telling them you'll wait outside.

cicero

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 12:59:08 AM »
I hate stall to stall conversations! You are not the weird one at all. Some people are OK with it; some aren't. But this doesn't sound like she wanted to have a conversation, more that she thought (???) She was being polite by giving you a head's up.


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Pen^2

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 02:49:25 AM »
I've almost never seen this. I guess that in the places I've lived, talking while using the loo is pretty much accepted as taboo. You just don't talk to people while they're doing bodily functions. It's like talking to someone while they're sneezing or having a coughing fit. You wait until their done. It's too distracting for a lot of people to follow the conversation otherwise. And anyway, some people have various downstairs issues which require a lot more attention than others. I'd hate to discover this by trying to talk to someone and be told that they need to focus on something fiddly, like replacing their colostomy bag or whatever. If you can't see someone or otherwise be sure if they're free to talk, either ask first, or just wait the 30 seconds until they're done. I feel this is the practical way to go.

DH assures me that it's the same in the gents'. Despite what they always show on television and in films, men apparently don't stand side by side at urinals, gleefully chatting away. At least, not in the countries where we've lived.

"MmmHmm" and other stonewall answers might be the only way to go, since I can see that if you just ignored someone (it's not like you aren't busy!), they might keep asking and get worse. Maybe a stiff, "I'm a bit busy here, we'll chat later," if they just won't stop.

In the case described by the OP, though, it sounds like she was trying to be polite, but didn't think it through. We hear noises all the time in bathrooms and are all pretty able to ignore them, and for all she knew, she was anonymous anyway until she spoke. And she disrupted the OP, who was not able to be seen by her and therefore could have been unable to talk anyway for all she knew. But I think she meant well. "MmmHmm. Okay." And nothing more.

Library Dragon, was the lady in your story talking on her phone while using the loo?  :o That's just ew for the unknowing sap on the other end of the call. And is using phones in small public restrooms like using phones in lifts? Not sure. But still. Ew.

Library Dragon

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2013, 03:09:21 AM »
Snip

Library Dragon, was the lady in your story talking on her phone while using the loo?  :o That's just ew for the unknowing sap on the other end of the call. And is using phones in small public restrooms like using phones in lifts? Not sure. But still. Ew.

No, I understand why she went in there to make a call, but she was only using her phone.  :D
The hall from outside the court room (where the meeting was held) carries sound terribly and if you don't want to be heard during the council meeting you have to go outside security or into the restroom. 

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Surianne

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 10:36:12 AM »
This is perfectly normal at my workplace, most of us seem to have bathroom conversations that continue into the stalls.  I'd say I have them several times a week.

I don't know if I've had anyone talk to me when I was already in the stall but I also don't think they'd be able to know it was me -- because of the design on the doors it would be hard to see anything identifying, like shoes.

JenJay

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2013, 10:52:10 AM »
  Except for "I'm out of paper can you please pass me some?" or something along those lines THERE IS A CONE OF SILENCE.

Yep! I even apply this rule at home. It really irritates me when I'm in the bathroom for any reason and someone comes knocking for some dumb reason. I've told my kids (and recently had to tell DH!  ::)) unless there is an emergency, and I mean someone is bleeding, do not bother me in the bathroom! Whatever it is can wait a few minutes until I'm finished. Sheesh!

The people on phones are even worse. It's bad enough that we have to hear each other peeing, I don't need your friend to hear me as well, and I doubt they're too thrilled about it either. So freaking rude.

jaxsue

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 10:56:58 AM »
  Except for "I'm out of paper can you please pass me some?" or something along those lines THERE IS A CONE OF SILENCE.

That's why I always check to see if the stall has paper. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode: "I don't have a square to spare."  :)

Hmmmmm

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2013, 11:28:16 AM »
If I'm already in a stall and someone comes in, I don't want them suddenly striking up a conversation with me (How do you know who is in here anyway).

But say I'm talking with someone as I'm walking into the bathroom and we each go into a stall and she finishes saying what she is saying, I'm ok with that.

If someone is in the bathroom washing their hands and I walk in and say Hi and then go into a stall, I don't want them carrying on a conversation with me unless they are my DD, my sister, a very good friend or it's an emergency they need to tell me about.

BarensMom

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Re: privacy in the bathroom -- am I crazy or is everyone else?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2013, 11:39:56 AM »
When I first started working for Evil Oil Company, I was a very shy kid, who had been taught that it was rude to talk about anything bathroom or female-related.  So I would tell my lead when I went on break or if I was delivering work, but not when I "had difficulties" and NEEDED the restroom.  One day, I was "having difficulties" and the door bangs open and the lead shouts, "Barensmom, are you in here?  You need to tell me when you go ANYWHERE."  Everyone in that section of the floor heard her, as she was loud and holding the restroom door open.  I was so embarrassed that I ended up diapering myself rather thickly until the lead was forced into a transfer.