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May 2, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Put Down The Seat: You’re on My Turf

The building I work in is a very long rectangle, with offices along the window sides and offices on both sides down the middle.  Consequently, there is a path that leads all around the building…like a track, if you will.  You could do laps if you were so inclined.  Each far side of the building has bathrooms. 

On my end of the building, the bathrooms are clearly marked.  One is marked ‘Men’ and one is marked ‘Women.’  For the illiterate, the standard “Chick in Skirt” and “Dude with Stick Legs” graphics are emblazoned on the signs.  I think there are also Braille bumps, incase you aren’t convinced which bathroom is which yet.  The bathrooms are of the single user variety.

There aren’t many women on my end of the building.  So I’ve been surprised to find that the door is locked many times during the day.  This is annoying, because the bathroom doubles as a ‘mother’s room’ and when you gotta pump, you really gotta pump.  Either way, I have been mystified as to who the mysterious Bathroom Hog was.  She seems to be in there a LOT.  Maybe she is eating too much fiber.  The only conclusion I could come up with is that someone from the other end of the building must be using this side for some personal embarrassing reason.  Come to think of it, tech support sits on that end, and there are a lot of people and much more noise.  The bathrooms on my end of the building are practically private in comparison.

Wednesday, I was microwaving some meatloaf in the kitchenette, just around the corner.  The kitchenette is on the opposite side of the building, so I have to go around the bathrooms and down the hall, a big U shape if you will.  Then I heard the bathroom door open.  I quickly peeked around the corner to see who it was.  But the only person I saw was a man going around the opposite corner, to the other side of the building.  Shucks.  Here I was hoping to catch a glimpse of whoever it was using the bathroom all day.  I guess I was just curious.  But I could have sworn that when I walked by the bathrooms on my way to the microwave, it had been the women’s bathroom that had been closed. 

Today I was heading for the bathroom and the door was shut.  I reached down to check to see if the door was unlocked but then the door suddenly opened from the inside.  I was semi-shocked to see the SAME dude from the other day!  Except this time, there was NO mistaking which bathroom he was using…the skirt don’t lie.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, with a smile.  Then he went on his business.

No big deal, I thought.  Maybe the men’s bathroom is gross.  No one was around, so I cracked the men’s bathroom to have a look-see.  I was expecting the worst.  But no, shiny porcelain abounded.  It may have been a shade cleaner than the women’s. 

Then I thought about it.  Dude sits on the other side of the hallway, so he has to take four or five steps past the men’s bathroom to get to the women’s.  So I can’t even pin it to laziness.

Even stranger, the dude was presenting a brief at a meeting last week.  He was introduced to the meeting attendees as the head of a division.  So we can’t blame illiteracy either. 

I have no idea why he needs to use the women’s bathroom.  I promise you, there is NOTHING interesting in there.  I’m stumped.

So later in the day I went again and this time the seat was left up.  Oh-no-you-didn’t!  I guess now that he’s been busted, he isn’t even going to try anymore.  What do I have to look forward to Monday?  Shaving clippings in the sink?  Dirty underwear pushed up in the corner?  Towels on the floor?  Magazines splayed around?   

This means war. 


Leave a Comment
  1. Audrey / May 8 2008 7:45 am


    I read your blog on occasion and find you really entertaining.

    I feel your pain. I work in an office w/ 2 men and 2 women. We are located in a nice new building on East Park street. Very nice digs considering where we came from. Unfortunately the four of us share one bathroom. The very educated men I work with are incapable of putting a toilet seat down. My co-worker (Lisa) even sent them an e-mail stating what happens when you flush a toilet w/ the lid up…germs everywhere! Take the saran wrap test. Put food coloring in the toilet, then cover the toilet w/ saran wrap and flush. See how the colored water sprays up on the saran wrap. It baffles me that they just don’t get it.

    The other problem is my desk is located in the common area of the office, just around the corner from the bathroom. I hear EVERYTHING that goes on in there. I’m going to start to wearing earplugs.

    As of this morning, we now have an issue w/ flushing altogether!!

  2. maleesha / May 6 2008 8:20 pm

    Six foot four and an Adam’s apple. He’s a guy.

  3. Allison / May 4 2008 6:28 pm

    Hell hath no fury like a woman deprived of her pumping needs. This I recall to be true.

  4. cherikooka / May 4 2008 3:57 pm

    Lisa…that is exactly what I was thinking.

  5. Lisa / May 3 2008 4:46 pm

    Are you sure ‘he’ is a guy? Perverse perhaps but that’s what came to my mind.

  6. Eileen / May 3 2008 11:27 am

    Well, Maleesha, I find this a very interesting column you have written here. We have similar problems at our school, but I suspect for different reasons.

    A few thoughts do come to mind. What does the men’s restroom look like? Is it a private, one-person bathroom, like it sounds like the women’s is, or does it have urinals? If it has urinals, perhaps the man has a “privacy” problem.

    If it does not have urinals, and is just like the women’s, perhaps it is a “cleanliness of the toilet seat” problem. I have found that a lot of men hate to use men’s restrooms because they are always so BAD–like other men not putting up the toilet seat, and dripping on it, or just the restroom smelling BAD.

    The other problem I can think of is that perhaps this man takes LONGER than the average man, and would be more noticed by the other men taking a long time in the restroom, especially if he is locking the door.

    He might feel that since there are so few women in the company (IF that is the case)that men are entitled to use the women’s restroom.

    And the last possibility I can think of is that he might have a medical condition–two come to mind. He might suffer from constipation or diarreah (sp?) and need to go much more often then average, or spend a lot longer in there than average. He could also have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)where he needs to take a lot of time washing. Do guys habitually lock the guys’ door? (If it is for multiple guys, as opposed to just one.) Does the man seem to have chapped hands, or wrists? If so, then he might have OCD. (I know about these problems because I have family members with several of these problems.)

    I’d be very curious to know if you think any of these explanations might fit.

    And lastly, if he keeps doing it, I’d personally try some subversive techniques, such as slyly mentioning to other co-workers, “Did you know, I found ‘Mr. X’using the women’s restroom on several occassions? Why do you think he might be doing that?” Then with people gossiping, perhaps he’ll stop!

    Best regards,
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)


  1. Twilight Zone Bathroom Behavior «

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