What Your Ladies’ Room Etiquette Style Says About You

by Melissa Kirsch
Originally Published: 

“What’s the unspoken rule of the ladies’ restroom?”

This innocent question, posed earlier this week on Reddit, got thousands of women chatting about the dos and don’ts of public bathrooms.

Some of the answers go without saying.

Some are slightly off-color, but true nonetheless.

While others are just plain good manners.

You know how people say you can tell how generous a man will be in bed by how he treats the waitstaff? I’d like to offer a corollary: You can tell how good a friend a woman will be by how she conducts herself in a public bathroom. The ladies’ room, for better or worse, is a microcosm for the rest of our lives. Herein, a guide to certain women you’re likely to meet in the restroom, and what their behavior says about their personality outside the lav.

The Woman Who Talks on the Phone in the Restroom

If she’ll jabber away in the stall while others are trying to get about the delicate business of peeing or, worse, waiting for a stall themselves, she will definitely text while you’re at the dinner table. This is the type of friend who puts herself first in every situation. Call her in a crisis and she’s likely waiting politely for you to take a breath so she can steal the floor and make the situation all about her.

The Woman Who Warns You That There’s No Toilet Paper

She’s the same woman who says, “Don’t go in there!” when there’s a grody situation in the stall. She’s a girl’s girl, the one who wants the best for you, who supports you no matter what. She’s your cheerleader, but she will not hesitate to tell you when you’re doing something stupid. She knows how to say “the other skirt was more flattering” without making you feel fat.

The Woman Who Pretends Not to Hear You When You Ask for Toilet Paper

She’s the same one who has no problem asking you to take her carpool duty, but is suspiciously “out of cell phone range all day!” when you text to ask her to return the favor.

The Woman Who Waits For Everyone to Leave Before She Farts

You know that friend who always asks you how you’re doing first, who wants a full rundown of what’s going on in your life before she will dare offer a thing about herself? This is that friend. She’s so considerate you sometimes want to yell at her to just take the last piece of cake already, but then again, she’s such a sweetheart you wouldn’t dare.

The Woman Who Leaves Her Tampon Applicator on Top of the Little Trash Can

She also leaves little bits of toilet paper on the floor and throws her paper towel on the floor right next to the trash can. This is the friend you don’t want to lend a dress to because you are pretty certain it is going to come back with a stain.

The Woman Who Pees on the Seat

She borrows your copy of Gone Girl then doesn’t return it, even though you’ve promised it to six other friends. She always has some flimsy excuse for why she is late to everything. You once missed the first half of a play waiting in the lobby for her to arrive with the tickets.

The Woman Who Wipes Up the Seat After She Pees On It

This is the friend who stays behind after everyone’s left the party to help you clean up. She won’t leave until she’s vacuumed and every last dish is clean.

The Woman Who Wipes Up Other People’s Pee on the Seat

This is the same friend who calls you when you’ve had a terrible week and offers to watch the kids for a while so you can go get a pedicure.

The Woman Who Peeks Through the Crack to See If The Stall Is Occupied

It’s just as easy and a lot less creepy to look to see if there are feet in the stall, but she can’t be bothered to bend over. This is the friend who is always pressuring you for gossip. She wants to know precisely what happened with your friends who are rumored to be divorcing. She needs to know how that other friend could possibly afford the new car she just got. She can be fun, but you would never trust her with a single intimate detail about your own life.

The Woman Who Doesn’t Flush

She’s also eaten dinner at your house about 100 times and never once even offered to pay for your coffee.

The Woman Who Talks to You While You’re Peeing

This is the friend who will definitely call you during the Bachelorette finale and regularly texts you after midnight. She means well, but she also tends to be a bit of an interrupter.

The Woman Who Takes the Stall Right Next to You When Others Are Free

What are you doing on Friday night? Saturday? What about Saturday afternoon? You like her, but if you don’t erect some serious boundaries, she’ll have your calendar booked for the remainder of the year.

The Woman Who Hogs a Sink to Do Her Makeup

This is the friend who leapfrogs you to make plans with a friend you introduced her to without inviting you along. When you bring it up with her, she will claim to not know that she’s violated a sacred friend code in doing so.

Please note: We have all, at one time or another, transgressed in the ladies room. We have talked to a friend who’s pooping, we’ve been unable to flush adequately, and yes, we’ve peed on the seat. Just as you forgive your friends for their annoying personality quirks, so must we forgive one another for our occasional bad bathroom behavior.

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