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Phoning in from the Bathroom

March 23, 2009
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You’ve had this happen to you.

You’re on the phone with a significant other or friend. You’re talking, laughing, blah blah blah…and then you hear a toilet flush in the background.

You have to ask. “We’re you…going to the bathroom?”

“Uh, yeah.”

Perhaps you’ve even been the perpetrator at times. The question is, is this practice acceptable? Point/counterpoint follows after the poll.

Yes: It’s not like you’re actually taking the person into the bathroom with you. They’re on the phone, possibly hundreds of miles away–they can’t smell or see what you’re doing. Maybe they can hear it if you’re on speakerphone (I’d advice against speakerphone in the bathroom). It’s a smart, efficient use of time. You’re multitasking. In a way, you’re honoring the person on the other end of the line by saying, “I’m so comfortable with you that I’m going to include you in the highly intimate act of moving my bowels.”

No: First off, you just brought your phone into the bathroom. That phone is going to come out of the stall slathered in bacteria. Try tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder while wiping your butt. You’ll strain a back muscle doing this, and you might drop your phone in the toilet. Secondly, could you really not wait to do this until you got off the phone? If you’re in a meeting at work and you have to use the restroom, do you excuse yourself and scamper off to the urinal or do you ask everyone in the meeting to join you? There’s a reason for that. The same reason bathrooms have doors. Other people don’t want to be involved in what you do in the privacy of the bathroom.

Only Texts: With texts, you’ve taken away the element of sound. Most of the embarrassing things that happen in the bathroom involve sound. Remove that factor, and it’s a neutral experience for all. The other person has no way of telling the difference. Sure, you’re exposing the phone to the elements, but you come into contact with germs all the time. The bathroom is no place special.

Cast your votes and share your opinion. Thanks to Gabby for suggesting this poll.

See also a posting for any office bathroom and a posting for stalls where people don’t flush.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Trevor permalink
    March 24, 2009 6:56 am

    The “see also” reminds me of a sign I saw when I visited Virginia Tech during Freshmen year of college. It showed a picture of a cow and it read, “What’s the difference betweeen cows and the guys on our floor? Cows don’t jack off in our showers.”

  2. Bryce permalink
    March 24, 2009 9:08 am

    Dude, do you read David Sedaris? He has a great story about talking on the phone in the bathroom. Actually, story isn’t so much “about” bathrooming phoning, but it definitely involves bathroom phoning. I can’t remember which book though. I’ll look it up for you.

  3. Lori permalink
    March 24, 2009 12:29 pm

    Whether it’s a public or private bathroom matters.

    If it’s a public bathroom, you have to take other bathroom users into account, and my answer’s a “Hell, no!” I don’t want to hear most people’s conversations on the train, let alone in the bathroom. Plus, it takes ordinary embarrassment over bathroom sounds to a whole new level.

    Private bathroom? Well, friend, that’s between you and your phone. I’m still a “no”, but not in a judgmental way.

  4. March 24, 2009 5:20 pm

    Good point about public versus private bathrooms. It always unnerved me to hear someone talking–even texting–in the stall next to me.

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