Spare a square?

I think it’s pretty common knowledge that women talk in the washroom. They’ll often go there together and it’s not for moral support. I was surprised to learn that many women don’t know that men tend to not talk in the washroom. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say most men will actively avoid talking with other men in the washroom by any means possible.

I don’t know exactly why this disparity exists, but gabbing up a storm in there seems strange to me. I’m busy, already. Do I really want to associate a topic with the time I was standing at the urinal holding my junk? That could be part of the reason.

Some men talk to each other while they’re standing at the urinal. Most do not. There’s even an etiquette, the most important aspect of which is to avoid using the urinal immediately adjacent to a urinal already in use if another is available. A buffer-space, you could call it. Virtually no man will talk while in a stall, whether to someone ‘next door’ or outside, except in an extraordinary circumstance. Hell, if someone acknowledges my presence while I’m washing my hands, I’ll nod and perhaps quietly say, “hey,” hoping it ends there.

This topic came up (don’t ask how, I have no idea) while I chatted with a friend† and her husband. She didn’t believe me and thought I was stringing her along. She turned to her husband and he confirmed my claim. She was incredulous, saying that women not only talk, and not only about everything, but sometimes carry on conversations between adjacent stalls. The thought makes me shudder with awkward discomfort. What topic could we possibly discuss for which washrooms stalls would be the appropriate venue? I suspect that if a man got into this habit, he’d have the washroom all to himself most of the time.

Note that this applies only to public or workplace washrooms. A man will certainly talk to his wife/girlfriend if they happen to find themselves in the washroom at home, but I still think she’d be the one far more likely to start a conversation.

Names withheld.

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  1. Lori
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 13:15 | Permalink

    Possibly, the disparity exists because us girls have walls of some kind while we do our business. That and we don’t have to ‘hold our junk’ while we do it.

  2. _don
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 13:25 | Permalink

    I really don’t think the holding of the junk is a part of the equation. A body needs some quiet time to do ones business.

    What the hell are we talking about here!?!? Let’s change the topic. 🙂

  3. Posted August 18, 2008 at 13:40 | Permalink

    I could go with the walls and ‘hands-free’ aspects as reasons…except guys don’t always use the urinals. Our stalls are the same as yours, and we still don’t talk.

  4. Lori
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 14:07 | Permalink

    I’m just saying that the awkwardness starts with the ‘junk holding’. If men didn’t have to ‘hold the junk’, they might find themselves slightly more comfortable in saying ‘hey’. Besides, it’s not like women just gab to just anyone in the bathroom. I think many women feel that they should at least nominally know the person before jumping into ‘over stall’ conversations!

    Besides, Rick brought it up!

  5. _don
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 14:22 | Permalink

    > I’m just saying that the awkwardness starts with the ‘junk holding’.

    > If men didn’t have to ‘hold the junk’, they might find themselves

    > slightly more comfortable in saying ‘hey’

    I would agree. But we still won’t converse between stalls, whether I know my neighbour or not. 🙂

    > Besides, Rick brought it up!

    Nothing like a little toilet talk on a Monday afternoon.

  6. Lori
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 14:36 | Permalink


  7. Bradley
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 09:54 | Permalink

    I’ll add one to the bathroom etiquette … if you accidentally make eye contact while at a urinal, give the nod and look away 😛

  8. Posted August 22, 2008 at 21:43 | Permalink

    I lol’d.

  9. Jonathan
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 11:52 | Permalink

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