Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Lure and Lore of Men’s Rooms

I e-mailed a client today to find out who I should mail my invoice to, and here’s the e-mail I got back from him.

If you want, you can put my name on the envelope—I'm probably the most efficient at checking the mailboxes because they are located by the men's room.

That reply cracked me up. I actually laughed out loud when I read it and was all ready to send back a jocular reply when I realized that, perhaps, he was not trying to be amusing, but was simply being practical and trying to make sure my invoice wouldn’t languish in some female employee’s seldom-visited mailbox.

Here’s why I found his reply to be so funny. First of all, why on Earth are the mailboxes located near the men’s room? This is not some rinky-dink mom-and-pop company. I’ve worked for rinky-dink mom-and-pop companies and they had mailrooms, so what’s this place’s excuse? What kind of corners are they trying to cut? And even if they can’t be bothered to have a dedicated mailroom, who’s idea was it to locate the mailboxes by the men’s room of all places?

From what I can glean from my male friends and relatives, men’s rooms are no-go zones (no pun intended). For example, back when I worked at a place that had an actual mailroom—a big and bustling one, if you must know—my friend TG told me that he would never use the men’s room on the 4th floor, because it was deeeeeees-gustinggggg. I learned this by accident after someone had burned up a bag of microwave popcorn and it was rapidly polluting all the air on the 4th floor. TG grabbed the bag between thumb and forefinger and holding it as far away from his body as he could said to whoever had thrown it in the wastebasket, “Go throw this in the men’s room where it belongs!” That was my first inkling that the 4th-floor men’s room and, indeed, all men’s rooms, were not all they should be. Tactfully, I pressed TG for details and he told me that the floor was always wet and littered with newspapers brought in by various UPS and FedEx guys who would also park themselves in the stalls for 45 minute to an hour. According to TG, some of them ate their lunches in there!

I’m making it sound like I’ve never been in a men’s room. I have. Like most women, I’ve had to resort to the men’s rooms, say, when the line for the ladies room stretched to hell and back and the men’s room was empty. So I’m familiar with the basic set-up. A stall, maybe two; a bank of urinals; a couple of sinks; a condom machine it’s a high-class joint. But usually I’m in such a rush to get out before some unsuspecting guy ambles in, I’ve never been privy (heh, heh) to some of the more subtle details.

But I think that that microwave popcorn incident and the revelations that followed inaugurated my freakish (I admit it) fascination with the lore of men’s rooms. For instance according to my friend TC if you go into any men’s room that has a hand dryer with a button that says “Push Button,” someone will have invariably taken the time to scratch away the “-ton” so that it says, “Push Butt.” It could be the men’s room in the sketchiest possible bar or the hoity-toitiest restaurant. It doesn’t matter--if there’s a “Button” that can be transformed into a “Butt” it will have been done. Isn’t that hilarious? I think so. It's so endearingly juvenile! In fact, that little factoid made it into my NaNoWriMo novel, where, by the way, at least one scene takes place in a men’s room. I’m sure Freud would have something to say about that.

There’s more. I’ve quizzed B about men’s rooms. For some reason he is not as forthcoming on the topic as I would like. Perhaps he is troubled by my unhealthy interest in men’s rooms? But through sheer persistence, bringing the topic up no more than twice a year, I got the lowdown on urinals from him--eventually. Some urinals are just giant troughs. That alone makes me glad I was born female. Also, some men’s rooms have junior-sized urinals for little boys. How cute! And you’re not supposed to sneak a peek at another guy’s dick. You’re just supposed to stare straight ahead as if you were driving a car on the Autobahn.

I hope I’ve successfully explained why I found that e-mail to be funny. Possibly not. Maybe all I’ve succeeded in doing is demonstrating that I’m a perv.

If so, I might as well go the whole hog and post some photos I’ve taken over the past few months whenever I see a sign admonishing people to properly dispose of poop. There are more signs like this than you might think. They are, in my humble and warped and extremely juvenile opinion, pretty darn amusing.

We Already Have Enough Poop

We already have enough poop, but thanks for asking.


Don’t you love the term poo-lution?

Bury Your Poop!

Little known fact--my very first blog entry contained a rant about some numskull who had failed to follow this advice.

Willy Make It?

One of my favorite names for a port-a-potty company—second only to LepreCan with it’s cute little leprechaun mascot perched on a toadstool throne.


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