Thursday, November 15, 2007

Charmin Jurl

Charmin is introducing a brave new world where you can have "strong" toilet paper or "soft" toilet paper. What the hay? What if I want my toilet paper to be strong and soft? And how strong are we talking? Strong enough to clean up a toddler's butt in one swipe? Strong enough to do windows? I shudder to think of the testing that went on to discover that what America needed was stronger toilet paper. Now, softer is always appreciated. Especially after you've pretty much destroyed your nether regions by pushing out a couple of kids. After two vaginal births I'm going with stronger.

I recently had a heated debate with some of my girlfriends about the best toilet paper only to find I had no idea people had such strong opinions about their toilet paper. I've added t.p. to the list of topics you should just avoid with friends-religion, abortion, politics, and toilet paper. Turns out there are Charmin people and Cottonelle people. Make that Cottonelle with ridges people. Oh, and some believe strongly in the double roll while others go for broke with the quadruple roll. My house actually ran out of toilet paper the other night and we had to turn to the baby wipes for salvation. It's kind of amazing that I would run out of toilet paper considering how focused I am on all things bathroom related.

Here's where I might lose a few of my more genteel readers because I am fascinated with bathroom behavior. Fascinated. I don't know why. Probably because I grew up in a house where my mother never shut the bathroom door. And I do mean never.

The ladies room in my office is a classic study in human bathroom behavior. It's one of the foulest places on earth because it has been abused and violated over and over again. The wall paper is literally peeling off the wall. In my scientific research I have discovered that women are grosser in the bathroom than men, but men tend to wash their hands less often than women. I've actually had to use the men's bathroom at work when the ladies' was out because I couldn't make it upstairs (remember, I can't hold my pee thanks to the bowling balls I passed through my baby chute) and I found it to be a pristine oasis.

Meanwhile, in the ladies restroom I'm having to deal with all kinds of peculiar behavior in addition to the stank and tank (stank as in rancid smell and tank as in utter destruction). For instance, the building actually sent us a bill for repairs because they'd had to roter rooter our pipes so many times.

There are four stalls and on the rare occasion I find myself alone I go for the oversized handicap stall because I like room to kick back and it has a taller toilet to so you don't feel like you're crouching on a toad stool. Without fail someone will enter the restroom and choose the stall right next to me despite the fact there are enough empty stalls to allow for some personal space. It makes me feel like we're peeing on top of each other and it ruins my bathroom time.

Another phenomenon of our bathroom is the Mexican Stand Off. Say it's about 2 O'clock and the cheese enchiladas you had for lunch are starting to rumble so you head for the bathroom praying for private time. You enter thinking you're alone because it's quiet enough to hear a pin drop then just before sweet relief someone coughs and you realize someone has beat you to the post lunch potty. Now you start to sweat because you just can't do what you need to do while another human is within ear shot and you know all the courtesy flushes in the world won't make this right, so you wait. And you wait. Then horrific understanding sets in and you know you're locked in a silent battle of the blow-out. After what feels like an hour, but in reality is a minute and a half, you throw in the towel. Disgusted with yourself you give up and exit the restroom with plans to return later when you can be alone (God willing). It's a sad, uncomfortable walk back to your office. I'm always the loser in a Mexican Stand Off because I just can't bring myself to do THAT with other humanoids present.

Another odd behavior is The Dawdler. This person realizes someone is in the bathroom trying to have a private moment, but takes their sweet ass time about vacating the premises. The Dawdler will wash their hands for five minutes, dry their hands with fifteen paper towels, then primp in front of the mirror for another 15. Hey! Get out! An office bathroom is no place to put on a second coat of make-up, it's a place of business, blow-out business!

Last but not least, is the Just Don't Give A Damn. This usually happens with some of our older ladies. Either they just don't care so they unleash a torrent of toilet trauma regardless of the size of their audience. Or they're so old they can't hear or feel what's going on down there. Uh, the result is the same-- a cacophony of machine gun fire and a toxic green cloud that could take down a rhino.

So, when in a public restroom be a good jurl and follow these simple rules:

1. If space allows, leave an empty stall between and your fellow bathroomate.

2. A courtesy flush is always a must.

3. Don't dawdle when someone else is silently sitting in the stall of shame.

4. Don't make eye contact-- no one is proud of what they're doing in there.

And as far as the paper goes, use whatever makes you feel good, jurl.


ATLGAL said...

Why DO people go into the next door stall when there are others available which leave a buffer zone? A major pet peeve of mine also. Its like someone sitting right next to you on the couch on the right-next-to-you couch cushion when there's nobody else on the couch and there's plenty of room down at the other end.

Elle Woods said...

You forgot to discuss the most annoying dawdler of all, those who brush their teeth -- and sometimes floss -- for a full 15 minutes while you're trying to take care of business. Oh, and you know I'm right - Charmin Ultra Quadruple Roll rules!

Mom to the Taveling Circus said...

I too am a Charmin Ultra Quad Roll supporter.
As far as restroom etiquette, I would like to add - Please do not mask the odor, it does not help and only makes it much much worse. We were out for our anniversary a while back, when I entered the restroom, all stalls were taken. When a woman exited(about the age of my mom)I took the available stall, not expecting to be assaulted. Said woman had done the deed and tried to cover it up with at least half a bottle of Elizabeth Taylor's Passions fragrance. I will NEVER be the same again, and anyone I pass wearing Passions to this day sends panic into my sniffer.

Anonymous said...

Cottonelle is the only way to go. It's a clean sweep, if you know what I mean! I am HORRIFIED by people who brush their teeth in the public bathroom. Personally, I try to have as little interaction with the facilities as possible, always keeping a barrier between myself and anything I might touch. The mere thought of my toothbrush accidentally encountering anything in the foul pit we call our ladies' room is enough to make me vomit.

Claudia said...

we have a toilet paper crazed lady in our office. no matter what she is doing in there (#1 or #2) she incessantly pulls through the TP as if it's going out of style. Then she flushes a gazillion times during her visit. I'm all for the courtesy flush, but this is ridiculous!! Oh, and you always know when she's going in there to do serious business because she shamelessly walks throughout the office to the bathroom carrying her private Lysol can saying hello to everyone. That is one secure lady!

ATLGAL said...

I must tell you that I was discussing all this with my hubby as we were carpooling in together this morning and he said that we women are too sensitive and "its a bathroom, you go in to do your business, why all the sensitivity?" He then told me that he had a conversation with his CEO yesterday while the were seated side by side in neighboring stalls going #2. I laughed out loud- I asked for details of the conversation- he said it went like this:
Hubby: "hey man, you sound a little stopped up."
CEO: "yeah, I've got a cold"
Hubby: "yeah, spending a lot of time on planes will do that to you."
CEO: "I hear ya, man."

And etc. Hilarious. I assume when hubby said "stopped up" he did mean nasally and not otherwise, but given the venue if I'd been the CEO I might not have been so sure...

Men- they are so indelicate!