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Men's Public Bathroom Rules and Etiquette

Updated on January 3, 2012

When it comes to public restrooms, guys generally know the rules and follow them. Maybe that’s why when one guy doesn’t, it seems like such a big deal. It’s almost as if he has violated a sacred covenant that was given after the Ten Commandments, when Moses and God shared an awkward moment as they searched for a bush to relieve themselves behind.

For men, the bathroom is a sanctuary, holding almost religious overtones. At home, we have our own custom setups - magazines, books, essential oils (just kidding). So when we use a public restroom, we generally want to get in and out quickly, avoiding interactions.

Because the violations of the Men’s Bathroom Code of Honor have become more frequent, I have decided to codify the Rules.

Used with permission.
Used with permission. | Source

Never Stand Next to Another Man at a Urinal

If there are three urinals, and a guy is at the far left one, you are commanded to choose the far right one, leaving one urinal in between them. If you are the third one to walk up to two urinals in use, it is ok to use the middle one (especially at sporting events).

This rule applies to toilet stalls as well. If there are two stalls and one is occupied, find another bathroom (unless it’s an emergency).

This brings us to our next rule, which is especially important if you are there to use the urinal:

Never Make Eye Contact with Anyone

Do not look into any man’s eyes. Especially if you are holding your member. Even if you are walking in and you see another man looking at you, look down at your shoes. We do disgusting things in bathrooms. I don’t want to know who is responsible for what smell, or that questionable dribble.

If you can make it in and out of a public restroom without looking at a single soul, you have succeeded.

Always Flush the Urinal or Toilet

I read in the Bible that if the urine of two men mix, then a baby angel becomes a devil.

You don’t want to be responsible for this, do you? When you are finished peeing or pooping, please flush the toilet or urinal.

I don’t think this is too much to ask. A man should never have to clean up after another man, especially in the bathroom.

Never Talk to Another Man in a Public Bathroom

If you are following the eye contact rule, this shouldn’t be an issue. But sometimes you run into a coworker who doesn’t respect the ancient covenant. If they try to engage you in conversation, try to deflect them with as few words as possible.

If he asks you about that assignment you are working on, smile and tell him you are going to crap your pants and you’ll stop by his office after you are done.

God forbid a stranger tries to talk to you. If they are a weirdo, just ignore them. Politeness does not apply in the inner sanctum.

Talking on Cell Phones in a Public Bathroom - NO!

Do not talk on your cell phone in the bathroom. Period. This is the most disgusting thing you can do, aside from pooping in a urinal. I don’t want to hear you try to talk yourself out of an argument with your girlfriend.

You are allowed to play Angry Birds if you are sitting on the toilet, but do it with the sound off. If I hear a man’s phone making strange noises, I am expecting to see it poke over the top of the stall to take my picture.

People who are obviously on their phones are one step above toe-tappers.

Please stop.

Men's Bathroom Rules - Please Respect Each Other

For men, the bathroom is a solitary experience. You will never see us gathering up our friends when we need to hit the urinal or the crapper. In fact, when I have to go number two, I will take an elevator in my office building to a floor with low traffic, so I can do my business in peace.

Because we believe in the solitary and reflective nature of the bathroom, we hate it when someone tries to turn the bathroom into a social experience. At my office, only the women have couches in their bathroom. I can say this without certainty: if there was a couch in a men’s public bathroom, I would not sit on it. Especially if it were made of cloth.

I hope that if you are a violator of these rules, that you will wise up and respect the God-given Rules of Men’s Public Restrooms. If you are female, I hope you have gotten an amusing peek into the inner world of men’s public restrooms.

About the author: John is the founder of, a personal finance and lifestyle design blog geared towards helping younger, married couples get out of debt and build the life they want...together.


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    • profile image

      Kevin 2 years ago

      If the individual is deaf and blind, I can unadsrtend how they might not realize if the toilet were automatic or manual. They get a pass.But anyone who can see and/or hear should be able to detect whether or not the toilet has automatically flushed. If your excrement or urine remains in the toilet bowl the toilet has not flushed automatically. If you haven't heard the sound of flushing, flushing hasn't occurred.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 2 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Very amusing,

      A dodgy subject treated well.

      I couldn't resist visiting this hub again... and once again it made me smile.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ubhies 2 years ago

      I find this difference beteewn men and women in public restrooms rather amusing. A guy will walk in and take a dump while there are other people in the room. Women will wait for the bathroom to be totally clear before even farting. So what happens when a woman enters a public restroom to drop of the kids at the pool while another is already there to do the same? It's like the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. You hear the whistle and a tumbleweed rolls by the stalls. Eventually one woman will flush and leave without taking care of business. (Discovered, tested, and verified while tinkle-texting at work.)

    • profile image

      Trusouldj 3 years ago


    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      A brilliantly well written hub. Why the hell I haven't been following you up to now, I have no idea.

      Thank you for making me smile several times... even more so, in fact.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Well, this was illuminating. Too many rules! I'm glad I'm not a guy. But mostly because I like privacy, and would detest the lack of privacy many men's rooms have.

      I hate it when women talk on their cellphones while in the bathroom. It annoys me to no end.

    • janikon profile image

      Stuart A Jeffery 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Too funny. There are some men who just don't understand the rules and they are always the ones who want to have an in depth conversation in a reststop bathroom. Voted up!

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      That sounds great, thanks for reading!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Married - I am linking this to a new hub on the difference between men and women & why women go to the bathroom in groups. Hope that's okay - I thought it would be a fun link for readers!

    • jeyaramd profile image

      jeyaramd 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      Great hub. Conversations are definitely banned in the men's washrooms. Thanks for restating the rules. These rules are especially important when there are no privacy doors between urinals. In those cases, I would rather use the stall than have someone stand next to me.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      What an interesting read about the inner sanctum. I guess I never stopped to think of what the rules are about guys restrooms before. This was enlightening and humorous.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      This was hilarious! I especially liked learning the fact that the pee of two men cannot mix because then all heck will break loose. I wonder if the same holds true for girls. I have a real time of getting my littlest daughter to remember to flush. You need to find someone who can do women's public restroom rules in response to this!

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Most definitely! Too much eye contact weirds me out, unless I know you. Thanks for reading.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Excellent hub and very unique - unique!

      Nowadays though, people should not look at each other. Unless and if you find someone interesting and want to converse with them. It's good to be alert, but anything more than that can get you into trouble these days - inside a restroom or outside one...

      Voted interesting


    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Cred2 for taking a look. It only takes one male violator to make a bathroom trip weird. We should start posting the rules

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Ah, yes, toilette etiquette. Someone needs to write a book on the subject. Most of the rules for guys anyway are universally known if not spoken about. I always wondered why women have all those lounges and magazines stacked to read. Guys want to get in and out as quickly as possible. I value my privacy and generally do not like public restrooms. A most interesting take on the topic, thanks Cred2

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Hey Hecate-Horus, thanks for visiting. I never understood why people would want to hang out in a public bathroom. I've been in some fancy ones at high-end restaurants and hotels, but even then...gross.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Great hub...don't know why us women feel the need to use the restroom as a social area. Myself personally, I just want to get in and out. Men have the right idea!

    • JoshuaDR profile image

      JoshuaDR 5 years ago from Charleston, SC

      I think all rules go out the window if Clint Eastwood is involved!

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      @ Brittany - I do think a lot of this can apply to both genders. Guess I just assumed that the women's bathroom had no stalls. Just couches, mirrors and a communal feel.

      You should do one for women!

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      @ RusticLiving - that is a hilarious story. I don't know what I'd do if Eastwood walked into a bathroom. Just goes to show you some rules are made to be broken.

      I would add: if you make eye contact with a man at the urinal, DON'T LOOK DOWN!

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Josh - I didn't even see your Hub - funny how things happen like that. I actually had a conversation with a coworker today about something weird that happened in a bathroom at my office, which inspired me to bust this out.

      Yours was good. I actually linked to it above. Hope you get some traffic to it through here.

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Hahahaha, this was a funny, entertaining and useful hub. I am not a man, but I think some of these (like the no cell phone rule) can also be applied to women. You did a great job organizing this hub and keeping your reader entertained. Thank you for sharing, voted up, etc!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Hahahaha... Well, that was illuminating!

      Speaking of "Not Speaking to Another" while in the bathroom.. I guess my friend didn't realize the "rules".. Have to share (with his permission) Retired now, he was a firefighter working on a fire near Carmel, Ca. and stopped in a restaurant to use the facilities. As he was "Standing there", Clint Eastwood walks in to do the same. There they are, standing side by side. Now my friend is 6'2", 240 (no small frenchfry)and being the inquisitive and talkative type, he kept side-eyeing Eastwood.. you know.. seeing how he..well.. you get the picture. Finally Eastwood catches my friend "checking him out" and the only thing my friend could think of to say was...... "You're much taller than I thought you were." Eastwood chuckled, zipped up, washed his hands and told him thank you for all his hard work with the fire. Now THERE'S one for the books!

      Great Hub.



    • JoshuaDR profile image

      JoshuaDR 5 years ago from Charleston, SC

      We wrote about the same thing at about the same time =)I enjoyed the read. The rules need to be known!