Bathroom Anthropology?

22 09 2008

There’s something about bathrooms that reveal a lot about people, not really collectively but individually. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s one of the most vulnerable rooms into which we enter, physically and potentially emotionally. Let’s say you’re in a war, and the enemy is upon your house about to raid it, which room would you want to be in? Probably your bedroom, I imagine. And I would guess most people would list the bathroom last of possible rooms. Imagine someone barging in on you while you are going number 2. You can’t get more vulnerable than that.

There are other aspects of the bathroom that reveal characteristics in people. For example the toilet paper. Depending on how specific and why you’re that specific can reveal either your OCD tendencies (or germophobic tendencies) or your oblivious filthiness. Some people who lean towards being OCD-ish are particular about the “over” or “under” arrangement of the toilet paper and if you don’t know what those are you probably fall into the “oblivious filthy” category.

The other day, I was sitting at a table at starbucks which was located relatively close to the restrooms. After watching many people go in and out of the restrooms, i noticed that even the manner of entry into the public bathroom revealed some possible characteristics about that person. For the most part, everyone fell into two categories: knockers and non-knockers. One group of people would knock before entering the public bathroom, whether it was a soft or hard knock, they would knock nonetheless. It seems that these people were more shy than the other group. They were slower and more hesitant to enter the bathroom and wanted to make sure that there was nobody occupying the room already. The non-knockers, on the other hand, as the label indicates, just went straight for the doorknob. Their way of checking was to check if the door was locked. Barring the people who really urgently needed to use the bathroom, they didn’t seem to care if they found someone in there before them, to the poeple in this category, it would be prior occupant’s fault for not having locked the door behind them. So apart from differentiating from the analytical-careful type (knockers) to the engaging-hands-on type (non-knockers), this might additionally reveal a moral dimension. The knockers, to give them the benefit of the doubt, seem to be more considerate of other people. In a sense, they are more attentive to others and their surroundings. They think about themselves less, or… do they? If I were to take away this generous benefit of the doubt, then I would say that these knockers are people pleasers. They don’t want to offend anyone and they don’t want to deal with any discomfort in their lives. Or maybe it’s just they don’t like seeing half naked people… The non-knockers, positively, are bold, and are not easily distressed or surprised by socially unaccepted visual stimuli. Negatively though, they are inconsiderate (or oblivious) and are out for selfish gain (My bathroom needs must be met quickly!).

So then, if this analysis is accepted and true (if not, then I’ve wasted my precious time), it remains now to slot everyone into the two categories. So how bout it? How do you enter the public bathroom?




3 responses

22 09 2008

great analysis!
i knock sometimes.. but most of the time.. i try for the handle.
haha i’ve had this whole thing where toilets have the worst job in the house.. =/ hehe

22 09 2008

All bathrooms are dirty compared to having a bidet at home. You should hold it until you get home. 😛

22 09 2008

I never knock. Hmm… What does that make me?

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