|This is not my actual favorite toilet (it would be weird for me to be caught taking a picture of my real favorite toilet), but this one is a good representation.|
I don’t like using public restrooms. It’s something I got from my mom and from my inability to tell a men’s restroom from a women’s restroom—that is a different post.
Anyway, this dislike of public restrooms becomes a problem when you work in a public building and have to share the bathroom with an entire floor of offices. I have become a little hyper vigilant about my bathroom rituals now. I have rules for my restroom use:
1. Only use the first stall in the restroom.
I once read in a magazine that this is usually the cleanest, as most people tend to want to go to the bathroom further from the front door. Even as I am writing this I realize this is probably not the case any longer because hundreds of thousands of people read the same article I did and are most likely now using the first stall. I am going to have to rethink this whole rule now.
2. Use more than one toilet seat cover.
One is most definitely not enough. The slightest breeze from the overhead air intake is enough to send the cover floating into the toilet water or move it slightly off-kilter. Using multiple toilet seat covers adds weight and more assurance there will be no part of the toilet seat uncovered when you begin to urinate.
3. Find a stall with railings on the walls. (In my work bathroom, this is the first stall.)
Railings give you something to hold on to as you hover inches above the toilet seat.
4. Never actually sit down on the toilet—even with multiple toilet seat covers. (See rule #3)
You really don’t know what’s on that seat (especially since you now know everyone in the entire building uses this toilet in this stall because of a magazine article they read).
5. Dress appropriately.
Don’t put bulky things in your pockets (that could fall out) or wear clothing that is too long and risks touching the toilet seat or, heaven forbid, falling into the toilet.
6. Do not use the public restroom for anything other than peeing.
If you have to do #2 at work, you need to hold it and start to adjust your “schedule”. Try taking more fiber before bed or doing squats as soon as you get up so you can use your own bathroom in your own home.
7. If possible, use the automatic door opener—the one with the blue handicap sign on it. (Fear of public toilets is most definitely a handicap.
Make sure to use a clean piece of paper towel to avoid touching the germy door.
8. Always follow up with hand sanitizer.
9. Don’t tell anyone about your rules.
You will sound crazy.
Update: I found this article, plus many more on using the first bathroom stall. The article says things like:
But the toilet seat is actually the cleanest part of the bathroom, one expert says. ( I don't' believe it.)
The middle stall of a public restroom usually has the most bacteria because people use it the most. "I guess people like company," Gerba said. The first stall will probably be cleaner. (Thanks, now everyone knows.)