Too Nervous To Use The Office Bathroom? You're Not Alone!

OfficeBathroom_slide01Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
You've probably noticed by now that, in addition to being adorable, Zooey Deschanel is also really, really funny. So, it only makes sense that when she founded HelloGiggles, she enlisted the help of Sophia Rossi and Molly McAleer to create a hub for hilarity. Trust, the musings of HG — including this one from Jill — will have you laughing out loud.
Advertisement
No one ever told me to be nervous about going to the bathroom at the office. That subject never made it into the company handbook or official contract. My first job was at a company that was 90 percent men, so I barely ever passed a female on the way to the restroom. The thought of being nervous never crossed my mind.
After graduating college, many of my friends started their first jobs and they filled me in on their work washroom woes and bathroom fears — a topic that never came up before. In college, we all were a bit too open about our washroom habits due to the cramped space of living in dorms and tiny off-campus apartments. There were no secrets; nothing was hidden or off limits to discuss. I even had a good friend who frequently brought in her laptop and my photo albums (she already viewed hers) for all the time she spent in the loo.
My friends filled my newly created Gmail inbox with sordid toilet tales including waiting until they got home (is that even possible?), trekking to a different floor or even leaving the office to go to Starbucks or the closest location of their gym. They had secret tricks for hiding their bathroom “duties.” One friend’s trick was to create a complicated arrangement of toilet paper that hides even the largest of sounds. This was a trick that was passed onto her from her much older brother. I suppose the work bathroom scenario has been going on for decades and bound females along with males.
OfficeBathroom_slide02Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Advertisement
I thought they were all officially crazy. Doesn’t everybody go to the bathroom? We are all human. There are no surprises. My mind soon changed as I switched jobs. There were more women at my new office, most of them my age or younger. My main interaction with them happened to be in the restroom. My friends’ bathroom stories filled my head and soon I was also getting nervous about using the restroom during peak hours. I devised escape routes and schedules. I used the secret TP trick and I even snuck out to a nearby hotel. I also sped up my bathroom routine if I noticed someone was lingering in the stall. We all want our privacy, and I’ve noticed other co-workers do the same. There are a few occasions where turf wars broke out; two women sit in the stalls waiting out the other to officially start doing their business. Eventually, one woman always wins and can go in peace while the other heads out in search of a free bathroom somewhere else.
I recently had a meeting in an office where you needed to borrow the key from the receptionist’s desk. Where was I, Chipotle? Even Starbucks doesn’t use that archaic system. If I ever applied for a job there — the bathroom situation might have been a deal breaker. I don’t want the receptionist keeping a timetable of my schedule. Or worse, what if another employee needed to go but was banging on the door since I had the only key? This actually happened during that meeting. It was pretty mortifying. Five minutes later, I let her in and we shared knowing glances.
I’d love to be brave enough to create a call to action stopping this insane behavior, but I don’t think that will ever happen. I've grown accustomed to my TP tent and schedule. I realize we might all be human, but at the office there's a clear limit to how much we want to know and fully comprehend about our co-workers. Sure, we might know their family drama, apartment nightmares, menstrual schedule, or latest one night stands — but knowing they go to the bathroom? That's something we’d like to keep a mystery. To future interns and graduating seniors — let me leave you with this final piece of advice: Always use the private handicapped bathroom located two floors below you.
This post was authored by Jill Jacinto.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
Fifty percent off your purchase here. 1,000 free miles there. When it comes to credit cards, the benefits are easy to see — while the downsides are often ...
As the host of RIOT's Woke Bae, we already know comedian Phoebe Robinson is funny AF while getting serious about major issues like feminism and ...
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
12:45 p.m. — I have a dryer, rare in Shanghai, so my friend runs home to get his laundry and then does a load at my place
Ah, the job interview. Getting one always feels like a win — your résumé passed the test, and you've moved on to the next round. Writing the cover letter...
Working in the service industry is an easy way to get an (often unwanted!) glimpse into other people's personal lives. Whether you waited tables at a ...
Recently, I was reminiscing about my financial education. Or maybe I should put that in quotes: “financial education.” In 10th grade, we created a budget ...
11 p.m. — Make some more bad decisions and send a text for delivery of some illicit substances but he misses my text, which is probably a good thing ...