Restroom Etiquette and the Old Man

I’m an IT guy and I work in a government call center that hires a lot of “temporary” workers. Now, some of these workers have been here for twenty years but they are “temporary” none-the-less. Because of the temporary nature of the work, most of the call agents are retirees. I imagine the average age of the people on the call center floor is above 65.

One of the unfortunate side effects of this working environ is the decided lack of restroom etiquette. I’ve spoken with several of my peers and they all assure me that my conception of bathroom etiquette is pretty much universal for our age group (early to mid thirties). Check thisout for a pretty comprehensive compendium of the rules as I understand them. I’m not sure why, and I don’t know if there is any definitive proof of this, but old men seem to regard the restroom as a sort of social club. They always want to clap you on the back while you’re standing at the urinal and discuss the latest gossip, politics, weather, or whatever. Maybe back in the 50’s and 60’s people weren’t allowed to talk in the office and the restroom was the only place co-workers could communicate with each other. That’s the only theory I can come up with. But it doesn’t stop at the urinal, I’ve had old men try to converse with me while I was in the stall. Which is the last place I want to lose focus. One time I was in the stall next to one of the old guys and having a particularly rough go of it.  Things were a bit noisy and as I finished, I hear from the next stall, in the most pronounced Texas drawl imaginable, “Heh, heh. Download complete!” I let out a deep sigh, a la Napoleon Dynamite, and left the restroom feeling sadder for humanity as a whole than when I went in.

One of the other issues I’ve noticed about older denizens of the workplace is that no matter how large the urinal, they seem to urinate directly on the floor in front of it. The restroom on my wing is cleaned something like 12 times during my 8 hour shift and yet it never seems to be clean when I go in to use it. There’s always a pool of drying urine in front of the urinal that I have to maneuver to avoid. I understand your eyesight is one of the first things to go when you get older, but does it get that bad? And even if you’re blind, can’t you hear (or feel) that you’re pissing on the floor and adjust? Maybe, if they weren’t talking and joking so much they could pay a little more attention to what they’re doing.

The only solution for these issues that I’ve been able to come up with is separate restrooms. We already have the Men’s/Women’s designation.

I am calling for the 60 & Older designated restroom. Thank you for your support.

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