Male workplace restroom etiquette leads to scientific breakthroughAugust 2, 2006
In an exciting scientific breakthrough, I believe I figured out how to slow down the passage of time at my office on Monday. It’s complicated to replicate the conditions, so pay attention: for whatever reason, yesterday as I’m headed to the Men’s room at work, I notice that this co-worker who I don’t really know all that well is headed in at the same time as me, and purely aribtrarily, I end up walking into one of the stalls, instead of standing at the urinal, which is where he ends up.
As I’m in the stall peeing, I think, “I wonder if he thinks it’s weird that I didn’t stand next to him. I wonder if he’s taking it personally?” As we both finish up and head to the sinks to wash up, I decide maybe I’ll tell him it’s nothing personal, and that I just randomly decided to pee in a stall for an exciting change of pace, but then I re-think that idea, because telling another guy your pee location strategy provides too much insight into the inner workings of your mind, at least, according to Sun-Tzu.
So I don’t say anything, but then it’s really weighing on my mind, that he’s probably sitting over at his desk, thinking, “Jonathan’s a creepy urinater,” or he’s probably calling his friends and telling them. Or maybe he’s prepping an email to the whole company, and then going in and unselecting my address, to let them know that I’m pee-shy and have to hide in a stall when others are present (which is totally not true, I can pee anywhere, anytime!).
So in the end, I feel like the only thing to do is send him an email; but I realize that doing so will just be extremely queer, so I decide to go way over the top with it, and maybe, just maybe it’ll be so bizarre that he forgets the original incident that necessitated the email. So I write “Hey, I hope you didn’t think it was weird that I went into a stall just now instead of using a urinal; the thing is, I have a really unusually shaped penis & I didn’t want any of my co-workers to find out. So, now that you know… just don’t tell anyone.”
And I hit send. And then I wait… and wait… and eventually, after 90 minutes with no response, I realize he’s probably prepping a lawsuit, or maybe he’s already in with the HR lady. So I get up and go over to his desk, and he looks up at me, and as I’m waiting for him to speak, I realize he’s wondering what I’m doing there, like, maybe I’m there to show him my penis or something. So I blurt out “hey, just so you know, I don’t really have an abnormally shaped penis“.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you slow down time. What felt like three minutes passed over the next few seconds before he stammered out, “I have no idea what you’re talking about”. Apparently, he hadn’t even read the email, because he’d been in a meeting & gone straight to lunch afterwards. I explained, which I’m sure made everything 100% better. Later on, we all looked back on it and had a good laugh, or rather, one of us wrote about the incident in his blog while the other one filed a report with Human Resources.