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FREEZE! Hands in the air!

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Bathroom etiquette, unspeakable, not discussed, taboo? I don’t think it’s very fair to the general public when people don’t practice bathroom etiquette. How difficult is it to flush after bizness is finished? I think its common decency to flush followed by a wash of the hands. Is this too much to ask for? I don’t think it’s fair to have to walk in to a polluted bathroom while holding the door open for the culprit of the double crime of no flushing and no washing of the hands; I have little oxygen as it is. And after being required to play the superstitious game of holding your breath through a tunnel for so long I am worried that I have killed too many brain cells due to the lack of oxygen. I have come up with a few ideas to cure us of these crimes.

Idea #1-Hire an etiquette police so the next time there is a no flush or washing of hands the police will pull out his anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and yell, “Freeze! Hands in the air!” No handcuffs, no beating, just a simple dime-size drop of good ‘ol hand sanitizer.

Idea #2-If the building only contains manual toilet flushers instead of the self-flushers, then there should be an alarm above the toilet that sounds every time there is no flush. Then another alarm if there is no follow up of washing the hands. If the culprit evades the alarms, then a huge mechanical hand slaps a sign on his/her back that reads “trust me, don’t shake my hand” as they run out the door.

Idea #3-Have a fortune cookie dispenser (because you know you can’t resist those tasty, wisdom filled shells) that has the following piece of acumen inside all cookies “Don’t forget to flush and wash your hands, good day!”

Bottom line, if you don’t have bathroom etiquette please visit the International Center of Bathroom Etiquette at http://www.icbe.org/. And remember to never get caught with your hands in the air.

If you have any other suggestions on how to resolve this issue, I would be willing to read them.

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  • The Theory

    eh, why settle for “FREEZE! Hands in the air!” when you can just put a bullet in their head and be done with it?


  • Eric Olsen

    G, you are the bold voice of reason. Thanks!

  • This reminds me of the bit in the biography of Howard Hughes, where he, and Swifty Lazar, both germophobes, were trapped in a public washroom because neither of them were willing to touch the door handle. They were rescued by Frank Sinatra, I think (not a fact because I don’t have the book at hand), but that is what I recall.

  • Hello from Sebastopol, California, USA

    I was surfing the web for toilet etiquette articles and I saw your site and thought you might enjoy what I’ve written here.

    Many places do not have unisex toilets but you all probably have the same problems at home as everyone else with toilet seats being left up by the men.

    For as long as I can remember I have always put the seat of the toilet down and not only that but lowered the lid too.

    It didn’t occur to me until late in life that others of the male persuasion would almost uniformly leave the seat up after using the facilities….. just in case they were going to return, soon, I guess.

    Women I’ve known have taken great exception to the seat being in an up position. particularly late at night which prompted this limerick given to me early in 2003 (written by a man) I suppose.

    Her feet flew into the air
    Her face turned crimson red
    She felt both cold and wet
    And wished that she were dead
    Now the moral of the story is:
    Never sit down abrupt-
    Always look behind you
    For the seat may still be up


    My answer to this is this:

    Seat up – seat down
    An argument to cause a frown
    Lid down brings fortune good
    Fair for all its understood

    JWM 2003

    I’ve since added to this by pointing to good feng shui and the increased good fortune,pleasantness and good humor that abounds by this simple courtesy.

    I now make small tent style paper signs for the bathroom to convince people to lower the lid on the toilet for (good feng shui) which appeals more often than not to the feminine gender ……(with the lid down so is the seat), but men also like some of the limericks I offer.

    I also make some for the institutional lidless variety……a little more pointed in phrase; these adhere to the wall with double-stick poster tape.

    On a recent vacation around the U.S. I handed-out many samples just for fun.

    If you are interested and want a few samples……..GoTo:



    PS let me know if you want sample e-mailed or ……………..snail-mailed

  • Many people think they flush and wash their hands, although they really don’t. Not effectively, anyway.

    Often it’s necessary to flush more than once, particularly if your business involved leaving behind anything solid. In such cases the first flush leaves far too much behind, turning that toilet into a big smelly poopourri.

    Washing the hands is a place where once is never enough. In fact far too many people just run plain water over their hands for three to five seconds and think that makes them clean. No, no, no.

    Use soap. You might get clean without soap but it takes much longer. Lather up and scrub thoroughly, taking at least 20 to 30 seconds. Then rinse off all that soap, lather up again, and scrub again for another 20 to 30 seconds.

    This double hand wash is the minimum any competent county health department tells food service workers to do after using the bathroom. If you do this, you have some rational reason to think your hands might be clean.

    Just don’t use your newly cleaned fingertips to open the restroom door. Save your paper towel for that.