Thursday, June 4, 2009

Public Restroom Stall Selection

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 2:47 PM

Years ago, my good friend Jeff posed the following question to several while soliciting response in efforts to compile a statistical report:   “When using a public restroom, which stall do you typically select and why?”   So, I thieved his idea and presented this question to several.  The responses were hysterical while often inspiring new conversation.   I received 35 responses (26 female, 9 male.) Nine selected the first stall. Eleven selected middle stalls. Twelve selected the last stall. Three listed variables which prevented their selection to fit neatly into the first, middle, or last stall category. And on to the “why” portion of the show…  
Jason: “I believe that using the one furthest from the entrance usually gets you a cleaner, dryer one.  Urinals, it depends on the formation of other gents already in the room.  I think it's personal preference, I don't like standing by strangers.  The real question is why anyone thinks it's okay to have a conversation while using the restroom, especially in a public one or how old is too old to take your kid into an opposite sex restroom?”
  Heidi: “I almost always will go to the last one and work back towards the door, using the first one I spot that is cleanest… and has toilet paper.  If there’s no toilet paper, I’ll still go for the cleanest, grabbing a few paper towels on my way in and then throw them in the sanitary napkin bin when I’m done.  I don’t care for large restrooms, so I prefer to NOT use the handicap stalls.  I’d rather be as far away from the door as possible because it seems to give the illusion of more privacy… even though I know it’s only superficial. I’ll hover while holding my purse slung over my shoulder because I don’t want it touching ANYTHING.”
  Jenny: “I must say, at work I use the handicapped one because it sits taller and I got used to it in my big fat pregnant days and haven’t changed. In public restrooms: I used to ALWAYS use the 2nd one…no idea why, but always the 2nd one. A few years ago they came out with a study about the most unused stall and it was the first stall, so I started using it, thinking – not as many butts have used it…safer somehow in case the paper you set on the seat moves and your skin touches the rank bowl. Then I started thinking: others have read that and probably think like I do, so I don’t really want to use it b/c more butts probably in there than ever. now, amazingly enough – I don’t care and grab the first one I see – or usually let my slightly OCD kid pick which one she thinks is best.”
Vicki: “First, because when you got a go, you go to the closest one. Never the last, because the toilets are too high, heck who sits anyway!”
Chris F.: “Usually I head straight for the Last Stall. Typically it’s the Handicapped Stall. What’s nice about the Handicapped stall is the extra space (it’s almost a bathroom within a bathroom), the convenient floor drain, the taller toilet seat and oh - so handy steel grip bars. A big plus of the Handi-Stall is that the door to the stall is often located at a different place than the others, this is a tremendous help in avoiding the unnerving crack peeks associated with occupancy reconnaissance.”
Mary C.: “It is the first usually because I have waited too long unless of course the last person didn't flush or dribbled.”
Tracy: “I usually go for the middle stall, not sure why. It just kind of seems like the first one is where everyone else seems to be going and the last just doesn’t seem right. Crazy question and crazy answer.”
Cathy: “I use first in my office building unless I have to shit, in which case I use last and only when no one else is in the restroom. In airports, no matter what I have to do, I will go to the last 3rd of the stalls. In Wal-Mart I prefer to just take my chances and use the parking lot. Also please remind the ladies of little rock the art of the courtesy flush. I notice it's not big around here.”
Wes: “The other people are making things up...people who "always use the last one" change their minds if there is a big ole turd floatin’ in it. “

Jeff (my inspiration): “Whichever one has the most TP left, thus indicating it's the least one used.”
Kelly: “Depends on the bathroom…  If the entrance door is facing the middle of the row of stalls, I ALWAYS choose the middle because I feel most people choose the ends and I don’t want to take up the handicap bathroom on the end… Plus, if you need TP there is most likely going to be someone on either side of you to share.”
Nan: “Depends on several things:  How bad to I need to go….the first cleanest one. If the restroom is busy I try to go as far down the line so no one can look in the cracks of the doors. Generally I am pulled to the second or third.”
Laura: “It always depends.  If you have small children who really need to go, you use the first available providing it is clean enough.  If there is no urgency, you check each one for cleanliness.  If all are clean, you use the last one because it is usually the largest and you have more room to maneuver whether it is just you or you and your children that you have to assist.”
Audrey: “Honestly, I don't think about it too much but I do tend to use the handicap one a lot at work. I know, not very, umm polite or considerate to those who are handicapped. I dunno. But I've heard that you should always use the second stall because the first stall gets used the most. I've also heard the opposite though.”
Kate: “Usually middle. I think it has to do with wanting that little barrier of privacy. Now- there are exceptions- if the first one is connected to a wall I will go to it, because then I have even more privacy, and people tend to bypass that one and not try to pull on the door and bother you. The other exception is if it is nasty. I check all bathrooms before I go in. It is has not been flushed or it has a drip or a spray or its cleanliness is dubious, I will move on down the row until I find one that looks reasonably clean. In some places a clean one is hard to find. In that case, depending on how badly you have to pee, you go for the best one, use toilet paper to clean it up as best you can, or your foot to flush it, then use toilet paper to sit on. Then you wash your hands very well. Or, in some cases you just use hand sanitizer because you are afraid you will get more FROM the sink from washing than you would get not washing. Always good to carry hand sanitizer.”
Justin #2: “To answer your question, when selecting a public restroom stall I first investigate the condition of the first available stall. If no one has taken the liberty to soak the floor with urine or vomit and there are enough sh$t tickets to accommodate my need then I'll select that one. Behind that, I will sit at the furthest stall from the from any other occupant in order to mitigate the mixture of aromas that always follow as well as laughter because I think it's hysterical when people fart in the stall next to me. I'm not ashamed. Don't judge me.”
Bethany: “First of all, public restrooms are on an emergency only basis…And I check every stall until I find one that is satisfactory for my toosh to hover over. If it is a clean establishment, I’ll sit but those are far and few between. Or unless hovering is too hard for some odd reason (ahem)…I always choose the handicapped one if possible because whoever made the rule that only females with a ruler shape to their bodies can get in and out of those stalls without touching everything with every part of their bodies needs to be shot. Don’t get me started on being pregnant and going through the public restroom ordeal…”
Annette: “Usually the handicapped one if you are in a venue with a minimal amount of cripples.  The toilet is usually higher and you don't have to squat so far.  (Getting difficult for these old bones)  If one is not available, the one with the least amount of filth and stench  in and around it.  Actually, I try to avoid public restrooms.  And really, in an emergency, I am just as likely to find a bush to squat behind.”
 Thirty five is not a huge pool of polled people (say that three times fast,) so of course, statistics vary based on subjects. One common denominator, however, surrounded the notion of “least used.” In other words, “I pick the first, middle, or last stall… because it is used the least.” Ha. Seems close to even based on the group I questioned. Whichever stall (or urinal) you select, wash your hands when the job is done.

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