Monday, March 7, 2011

New Rule: No Cell Phones In the Bathroom – Ever

I believe in survey karma, so recently I found myself taking a survey online about the use of smartphones.

One of the questions was along the lines of -
Have you ever conducted a business meeting or call while:

Visiting someone in prison?

Wearing only your underpants?

While using a public restroom?

Having sex?

Getting a massage?


I am not making these fascinating questions up. I’d love to see the results of this survey, because you have to believe that if they are asking, it’s because people are actually doing these things. And remember, they were asking about business calls in particular.

That doesn’t even take into account how blasé people have become about personal phone calls. Now I’ll admit, I did once have a long conversation with someone while in the bathtub. It was unplanned – someone called while I happened to be taking a bath, I answered the phone. A long conversation ensued, and I quickly regretted it. Tub time should be sacrosanct. Plus, the water got cold while I was talking and the bubbles faded.

But I have never – never – used my cell phone while going to the bathroom. The advent of technology that allows us to be reachable anywhere, and worse, things like Bluetooth that let you talk hands-free, have created a terrible slippery slope in our civil contract with one another.

I can’t count the number of times I have been in a public restroom – at the office, at the airport, at a restaurant, etc. – and there has been a woman in another stall having a nice chat on her phone.
What makes people think it’s ok to be on the phone while urinating or worse? Let’s not even talk about the hygienic risks of this practice, but let’s talk about what this says about the person you’re conversing with.

If I were on the receiving end of a toilet call I would assume you didn’t have enough respect for me to wait 2 minutes to do your thing, wash your hands and then call me when you stepped out of the bathroom. Have some respect for yourself, too. Take a few moments for yourself. Trust me, you don’t need to be that connected, to anyone.

While we’re at it, why don’t you show some respect to your fellow bathroom users. I don’t want to be thinking that your great aunt Tilly is listening to me pee. It’s bad enough I have to be using a public washroom with you in the first place.

And god please tell me that no woman is chatting with her significant other while on the pot. Ewwww.

You might argue that a call by its very nature might be so urgent and important that you absolutely have to take that call or make that call while answering the call of nature. But in my experience, in 100% of the instances I have witnessed, the calls all seem to have been personal and trivial in nature.

The offending chitchatter will be happily conversing away about vacation plans, what little Johnny did at school that day, what she is wearing, how annoyed she is that her flight is delayed etc. etc. in other words, inane stuff that could have waited to be shared, if it needed to be shared at all.

Often, the offender will even say something like “where am I? Oh, I’m in the bathroom.” Even if you don’t admit that you’re in the loo, don’t tell me the person on the other end of the line doesn’t know – the echo, the sounds of flushing, running water. Puh-leeze.

What about dudes? So I checked with my resident authority, the husband. He said he has seen guys standing at the urinal, holding the phone between their head and their shoulder so hands could be free to do their business. At the office even. I guess they should invest in Bluetooth maybe.

Anyway, I’d like to know if you have ever had a phone conversation (business or otherwise) while visiting someone in prison (I’d like this story anyway).

If you see yourself in this post and I've offended you, that was not my intent. I just feel really strongly about this. And I’d really like to know if you have a reason why bathroom phone talking would be ok.

Just don’t even get me started on intra-stall communication …
Go soak your phone.


  1. At my job people often go to the bathroom while on a conference call wearing wireless headsets. Hopefully they remember to make sure the phone is muted before taking care of business.

  2. Ewwww that is disturbing. are the headsets sanitized regularly I wonder?

  3. Ah, this makes me wish for the relatively low-tech 90's, when a guy at a certain company that produced junk mail finished his bathroom business, ran his fingers vigorously through his hair, and THEN washed his hands. Also, when a certain gal at the same company spent half the day brushing her teeth in the ladies facilities. Those things seem quaint compared to this cell phone in the stall business.

  4. By the way, Anonymous, you've given me yet another reason to loathe conference calls.