the men in our office use the women’s bathrooms … only for pooping

A reader writes:

This is something that has bothered me for quite a long time, and I don’t know if there was any way to address it differently. I no longer work in this office, but I am still close with several people there, and am at a loss that this continues. To be blunt, the men in the office specifically use the women’s restroom when they need to … take a #2. (I can’t believe I have to say that.)

It’s a small business with about 20 people and only three women. There are two restrooms, one for men and one for women. Now seeing as how there’s significantly more men than women, I would not be against gender neutral restrooms. Whatever. But that’s not the case. And here’s what’s happening: when the “gentlemen” need to use the restroom for that longer period of time, they use the women’s room. Not just a few of the guys (we started trying to get a pulse on whether or not this was one person being weird or if it was a more widespread issue, and it’s widespread). This is probably half the men in the office.

Why is this a problem? Well we have a cleaning crew that comes in once a week and restocks the restrooms and all that. We women do a little extra cleaning, make sure we have toilet paper, etc., while the men do not. If I have to use the restroom and it’s occupied by a dude taking his time (seriously, 30+ minutes sometimes), I do not want to use their gross restroom with pee on the seat that doesn’t have toilet paper in it. Somehow they are able to make it disgusting within a day of it being cleaned. And if I wait for the bathroom to open up (they will use the women’s room even if the men’s room is open), doing a potty dance at my desk, the smell is HORRIFIC. Because I lived close by, there were times I literally went home to use the restroom because I was waiting for so long.

I have no issue with the guys using the women’s room if the men’s room is in use. I get it. If you have to go, you have to go. But using it exclusively as the place you take a dump for 30 minutes is just beyond crazy to me. So we women talked to our boss (who is the CEO) and an email was sent out saying hey, if the men’s room is occupied, sure, use the women’s room, but please keep it clean and please do not utilize the women’s room when you “need some extra time.”

Did things improve? Not even a bit! And what’s worse, one day when we were potty dancing around, out of the women’s room walks the CEO! We mentioned it again, and he said he would bring it up with the manager of the tech team (all dudes) to talk to them again, but there’s been no change.

Like I said, I don’t work there anymore, but my friends do. We are brainstorming trying to come up with something, anything, to try and get through to people that this is weird and shouldn’t be done. Please Alison, do you have any advice for this insanity?

Stink up the men’s bathroom?

Two can play at this game.

I think, basically, you have gender-neutral bathrooms. Even if they’re not officially labeled that way, they’re being used that way, and you might be less irritated by this if you just choose to see them that way.

That said, the situation is particularly grating because the women are putting in extra effort to keep their bathrooms clean, and that effort is then crapped upon (ahem) by the dudes. So what if you focused on that aspect instead? Could your CEO be convinced to have your cleaning crew come in more often than once a week? Could you frame it as “look, right now the bathrooms are disgusting and unsanitary, and if you’re not willing to put a stop to the men using our bathrooms, we need you to step up the cleaning they’re getting?” If you give him an either/or choice (get the men out of there, or get us more frequent cleanings), he might pick one of those, and either would be an improvement.

Also, this.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 738 comments… read them below }

  1. MuseumChick*

    Why can’t people just be normal when it comes to the bathroom at work? I never would have guessed before reading this site there were so many to make a very normal part of life awkward.

    1. cheeky*

      There are far too many women who are afraid/ashamed to poop in public in my office, so they will sit and camp out in a stall if they know someone else is in the bathroom and wait them out. It’s so annoying. Also annoying are the people who flush the toilet with their FEET. If you’re going to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, just use your hands on the toilet handle.

      1. Zona the Great*

        hmmm…my mother taught me always to use my foot. I’ve always noticed other women using their foot. I teach little girls to use their foot. I ain’t touching that thing.

              1. Nell Webbish*

                If you’re going to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, what difference does it make to you how the person before you flushed the toilet?

                1. SavannahMiranda*

                  Because leaning over the toilet to touch the handle means putting my face over the giant sneeze-spray that industrial toilet is getting ready to wheeze into the air. I’m not putting my face over that.

                  I unlatch the door, hold it in my hand ready to exit, flush with my foot, and GTFO. I’m not standing around waiting to get sprayed with the remnants of that day’s toilet use, and I’m sure as heck not putting my face over it.

                  Just another foot flusher here. Others may have other reasons.

            1. Artemesia*

              Me too. And since I am very old and the handle in many public restrooms is very high, I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I manage to do it.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Speaking of compromises, the few times I’ve wanted to do this, in certain bathrooms that didn’t seem too sanitary, I’ve pushed the handle up with the top of my shoe. Although I suppose that wouldn’t work for some people based on height, balance, or footwear (like, not with sandals).

              1. Delphine*

                Using your foot isn’t saving you, unless you can also detach your head and throw it out of the bathroom entirely.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            You know why I use my feet? The toilet doesn’t have a lid a lot of the time, and if I bend over to use my hand (I’m tall), I get the toilet plume right in my face.

            Ima use my foot.

            1. JSPA*

              Being short doesn’t help much. Toilets in the act of flushing are huge germ plumes. Besides, I don’t pee on my hands either, under any normal circumstance.

          2. NDC*

            I really can’t see a flimsy bit of paper acting as any kind of germ barrier – something like a plastic bag would be better.

              1. IDon’tRememberWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                I can’t use the ass gasket because menopause has caused me to be so sweaty, that in the short time it takes me to pee, the thing has already half disintegrated and stuck to my butt.
                So if it’s really not that much protection anyway, that’s good to know I’m not missing out.

        1. Not Today*

          AMEN SISTER? What’s wrong with using your foot. If you are going to wash your hands anyway, what difference does it make if you use your hand to press the lever after someone has used their foot. Geesh.

          1. ComputerD00D*

            The germs get on your foot and are then tracked about. For instance, you do this at home, then walk into your bedroom and take off your shoes. Then the germs track from the floor to your feet. Then into your bed. Where they lie in wait, just biding their time until you fall asleep, touch them with your hand, and then rub them all over your face…


              1. JokeyJules*

                yeah i only do this in public. not in my home where I clean my bathroom regularly and don’t wear shoes inside because Lord knows what else my shoes picked up out and about.


                1. iglwif*

                  Maybe in the US, but not anywhere I’ve ever lived!! Shoes and boots come off at the door and stay off until you’re leaving the house/apartment again.

              2. EddieSherbert*

                I think she meant to say the germs stay with you, one your shoe, and are still with you when you go home later (unless you’re washing your shoe after flushing…).

              1. Just Employed Here*

                Not if you flush with the lid closed.

                This is the first time I’ve heard about flushing with your foot, though.

                1. CatMintCat*

                  It’s a new idea to me. I just went and studied the toilet here, and I don’t think flushing with my foot would even be possible. The buttons are recessed into the top of the tank a bit, and then there’s the issue of differentiating between the full and half flush (smaller buttons). I couldn’t do it with my shod foot, even if I was flexible enough to actually reach. I’ll just keep closing the lid – Australian toilets use much less water than in the US, so possibly there’s less “spray” happening anyway, I don’t know.

                2. JSPA*

                  CatMintCat, yes, those super low flow toilets generally have excellent suction, and don’t aerosolize badly at all. Imagine flushing a toilet with a blast from a hose, instead, to give you an extreme but not entirely inaccurate view of how many office toilets work in the US. (Oh, and the handle’s what’s called a “flushometer valve.” Looks like a 5 inch peg sticking out of something that acts like a spring loaded ball joint. Easy to press with the foot; a bit like stepping up on a ladder. )

            1. Close Bracket*

              You get germs on the bottom of your shoes anyway from the aeresolized spray that lands on the floor.

            2. Wintermute*

              the bathroom floor is covered in the same germs, caused by toilet mist from flushing. So is the wall of the stall, the handle to the stall, the toilet paper…

              There have been some pretty startling tests done that say a toilet really contaminates the entire area within a 5-8 foot radius.

              But unless someone has a highly-contagious disease like Norwalk, we’re exposed to all of those bacteria so constantly it’s not going to matter.

        2. Holly*

          This is why people wash their hands, though? You can’t avoid touching things with germs (door handles, your own cell phone…)

            1. Dandelion*

              THIS. This is exactly why I have wipes in my desk drawer. I clean my phone, keyboard, and mouse at the end of every workday.

              1. Artemesia*

                I routinely push buttons, especially in hospitals, but elsewhere too, with the back of my knuckle. I figure it reduces the chance of inadvertently touching mouth or nose with virus laden fingers. And wiping down phones, handles, remotes in hotel rooms and publicly used computers can dramatically cut colds and such.

                1. Dandelion*

                  I’m sure I do all sorts of things like this. I work with kids and the public all the time and have learned germ avoidance well! I know I push swinging doors with my feet (respectfully) and pull them open in really odd spots so as to avoid where everyone naturally grabs. I’m not in elevators often, but I tend to use the tip of my car keys on those germy buttons! Public toilets is the TP on the flusher and sink knobs, of course. Elbows for light switches. I’m THAT person who wipes the shopping cart handles. And just thinking that I should use my keys on ATM pads now. Is this overboard?! I mean, I do have an autoimmune disease.

            2. SignalLost*

              I just always want to say “do you not want an immune system? Because exposure to germs is how you get an immune system!” And also then carry on about how gross basically everything is and everyone touches it anyway.

              1. whingedrinking*

                I used to work in a coffee shop where we had a regular who would not drink from the ceramic mugs and always got a paper cup, because he insisted it was gross to “share” mugs. I wouldn’t have minded so much – we’ve all got our hang ups – except that he had a tendency to go on and on about how vile it was to drink out of a cup some stranger had used (FWIW, the commercial sanitizers used in your typical restaurant are pretty much the closest thing to an autoclave you’ll see outside of a hospital). Had I been slightly less keen to not get fired, I would have asked why he was okay with “sharing” a door handle, which certainly did not get cleaned with boiling hot water every time it was used.

              2. Happy Pirate*

                This completely. Germs are everywhere and part of our bodies complex makeup. And do all the paranoid germphobes actually think they are healthier or get sick less often because of this? All you do is weaken your immune system and cause exaggerated responses to small infections.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Right? Like…flushing with one’s foot seems weirdly performative tbh. “Ew, icky, I can’t touch that!” Okay, do you open doors with your feet, too? Push elevator buttons with your toes? Just…wash your hands and use some hand sanitizer, the rest of us seem to manage okay that way.

                1. SKA*

                  Same. But then again, it was only earlier this year that I became aware of “hovering” or putting toilet paper on the seat before sitting. Which apparently MANY women do.

              1. AnonNurse*

                Nope, I think it’s assuming a lot to say most.

                And really, unless you have open sores on your hands, it’s completely safe for anyone to flush with their hand. Then you wash to take care of the germs. I also don’t hover because my butt skin is made to keep germs out. Washing the hands is the safest way to protect from germs.

                1. Gloria*

                  I usually don’t hover either. But occasionally I sit in wetness that wasn’t previously spotted and then I regret my choices.

                2. Rana*

                  Gloria, same.

                  I prefer to use my knee for flushing. Less awkward than a foot. But I’m not averse to using my hand if the knob is fussy.

                  Hand dryers, however? Those things are GROSS. So gross.

                3. J*

                  Wait, what’s wrong with hand dryers? (I feel like I’m going to regret asking this, haha.) I usually push the on switch with my elbow if it’s not automatic.

              2. Jadelyn*

                Having literally never heard of anyone doing this until today, I’m pretty sure it’s not some kind of universal norm.

                1. MattKnifeNinja*

                  We had a war at my work place between the foot flushers and people who don’t.

                  So people would crap in the toilet and not touch the handle because the other coworkers would use their feet to flush.

                  We had those old school toilets with the handles you pull. They would get broke “allegedly” because the coworkers would press the handle back too hard with their feet.

                  Then some just to the chase and pooped on the floor.

                  Primates have more sense.

              3. Tetrarch*

                Not only have I have never used my foot to flush a toilet, I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Just wash your hands.

                1. Anna*

                  This. I mean…all those people saying you should use your foot because yuck, aren’t you washing your hands after anyway, so what is it saving? For those of you making the aerosol argument…you do understand that aerosol means it is in the air whether you lean over to flush the toilet or not? It’s just a weird and pointless place to make a stand.

              4. JSPA*

                Don’t think I’ve ever known women in the US who don’t foot-flush the flushometer-style handles. That’s not quite true; we had one roommate who didn’t, but her own mother was shocked that she hand-flushed, and apologized for never having taught her to foot flush. Seen it done in anything from hiking boots to stiletto heels.

                1. UK*

                  I have literally never heard of this foot-flushing thing in my entire life. But I’m not in the US. *Reads thread in fascination*

                2. Tara*

                  I have never in my life flushed a toilet with my foot and I’m as American as apple pie. And I’m born and bred in NY–land of disgusting bathrooms.

                  Wash your hands, weirdos.

            1. Marissa*

              I open doors with my foot (push doors AND pull doors), but it has nothing to do with being grossed out and everything to do with it being way more fun that way

              1. iglwif*

                I often hip-check or shoulder-check push doors (you know, gently), especially if I’m carrying stuff but it’s definitely more fun that way ;)

                1. Marissa*

                  I just straight up aggressively kick the door open so I don’t have to have it run into my shoulders at all.

                  I also sometimes stick my foot in those like push-down handles (not knobs, but not just a pull handle), twist, and pull the door open, but it’s not as useful as kicking doors open because it’s a lot harder to do with my arms full of stuff.

            2. pleaset*

              I flush with the feet if the bathroom is nasty looking, otherwise the sides of my hands. Never the fingers. Bathroom doors with the back of hands or my palms, never my fingers.

              Elevators with knuckles as much as I can.

              My fingers touch my eyes and mouth, so I try to avoid them touching things in bathrooms.

            3. Scarlet*

              I was starting to feel like an alien, looking at all those foot-flushers… I also admire their flexibility.

              That reminds me of someone I saw on the underground one day, who was making a big show of not wanting to touch anything and kept nearly falling on all the other passengers. Like, you’d rather hurt yourself or someone else than using sanitizer after you step off the train.

        3. NW Mossy*

          The toilets at my job are actually designed with a foot pedal to flush them rather than a handle. It’s pretty great, and I’m not sure why this style didn’t catch on. They’ve been in place for decades, so it’s not as if it’s just new and fancy.

          1. Anon7*

            Probably because it’s not accessible.

            Just saying, as someone who is disabled and can’t use their feet for anything, that style of toilet/sink/whatever would be a huge inconvenience, if not prevent me from using it entirely.

            1. Helena*

              Yes we have those. They are so sensitive that they also flush when you lean forwards to get a tampon out of your bag…. Surprise bidets are not something I want, personally.

              1. JSPA*

                they do it when you lean forward, lean back, twist around or sit still too long; can’t wipe from front or back, wastes gallons and gallons. Hate them with a passion.

          2. Pam*

            Imagine if you are in a wheelchair. Now you are leaning right over the seat to press that foot handle with your hands

        4. Bagpuss*

          Do you at least wipe the handle after you have put your foot on it? It seems a pretty inconsiderate thing to do, unless you clean it off afterwards (and if that’s what you do, wouldn’t it be easier to just use a bit of paper so you don’t touch it directly?

            1. Miso*

              You people do realise that you’re making it dirty and disgusting for others, right?

              Seriously, who thinks of stuff like this…

              1. Jadelyn*

                Seriously! I’ve never had second thoughts about (gasp!) flushing a toilet with my hand, until today, and now I’m getting kinda grossed out that people are putting their FEET all over the damn things. What if you stepped in dog poop on your way into the building? Now that’s on the handle for the next person. Thanks.

                (But, of course, this is what hand-washing is for in the first place. So I guess I’ll just continue to rely on that as I always have.)

                1. AnonNurse*

                  Just continue with your hand!! Unless you have an open sore, your skin is made to keep out germs. If you wash right away, you are doing the best thing you can do. :-)

                2. Meagain*

                  You do know there is probably poop on it already, and not dogs. Most of these bathrooms don’t have a lid, and I’d say a lot of women wipe, pull pants up and then flush, and so dirty water is spraying up. I for one do not like the water particles spraying on my butt skin.

          1. Zona the Great*

            No. I don’t feel I need to wipe anything covered in other peoples’ (and my) poo-particles.

          2. Artemesia*

            The hands that touch the handle before the feet are much more likely to be filthy having just been used in performing normal restroom wiping. Do you wipe the handle with tissue after touching it with your hands?

            1. Anna*

              If you wash your hands anyway, what exactly are you accomplishing by flushing with your feet? This is one of those things that solves itself if you are actually washing your hands after you go to the bathroom. All things being equal, your shoes are just as gross as your hands and your shoes aren’t likely to be washed immediately after.

              1. JSPA*

                flushometer handles often release / squirt a bit of water, or have condensation on them, or both. I don’t really want to exit the stall with liquid on my hands / wrists / cuffs. Not to mention leaving water on the stall latch for the next person to grab as they’re locking it.

          1. Lissa*

            I feel like I’ve heard of it but had no idea it was actually widespread and considered a reasonable thing to do! I mean, I don’t particularly care since I wash my hands afterwards. Just another incidence of the AAM comment section making me feel like a gross person, lol. I flush with my hand and eat food at potlucks! Livin’ on the edge!

            1. Perpetua*

              As for “making me feel like a gross person”, whenever something like that comes up and people are appalled that other don’t care about the same things as much as they do, I’m actually grateful that those things don’t bother me and my life is easier for it.

              I mean, I worry and get anxious about many things, so it’s a relief that hand-flushing/potluck-eating/etc. aren’t among them, if that makes sense? :D

              1. Lissa*

                Oh yeah very true, overall I am fine with my non-germ-fearing self. It’s more that it constantly interests me how many things that just…would never really have occurred to me until I started regularly reading the comments here, and how common some views/attitudes are here that are really different from what I encounter in my “real” life. Not that they exist – life is a rich tapestry and all that, but how things like not wanting to eat potluck food due to hygiene seems like a majority view here, whereas IRL most people I know are like, bring on the free food. Maybe I just know a lot of broke people with good immune systems.

                1. Iris Eyes*

                  I feel like watching Kitchen Nightmares and hearing comments from people who have worked (or done maintenance/install work) in restaurants disabuses me of the notion that professional kitchen = hygienic/clean/safe.

                2. Tau*

                  I think there’s a confirmation bias effect that can happen where the people who feel strongly about doing things in a particular way will comment to that effect, while the people who don’t really care are less likely to. I know I’ve stayed quiet about e.g. not minding potlucks, or quite enjoying a lot of company events, because I don’t care that much and don’t feel like arguing with people about it. The result is that certain viewpoints look far more prevalent than they actually are.

                3. Leslie knope*

                  I think the commentariat leans generally toward the introverted side which informs a lot of the way discussions go here (see: any post about spending time with coworkers, or parties, or talking to coworkers, or…). I think stuff like potlucks falls into that category too.

                4. C Average*

                  It’s funny: I’m utterly unsqueamish about bathroom stuff, but I am so, so prissy about anything food-related.

                  Maybe it’s due to several long stints in food-services jobs, but I’m acutely aware of how often home cooks don’t come anywhere close to proper food safety standards. I’m not touching anything at the potluck unless it’s store-bought and nonperishable, or unless I know the cook really well and have some sense of the likely conditions of their kitchen.

                  But the bathroom? Pshaw. Everybody poops. I’m not using my foot, I’m not hovering, I’m not using one of those stupid toilet seat covers to protect the precious hide of my pristine buttocks, and I’m not analyzing the trajectory of the toilet spray like some crime scene investigator. I’m just gonna wash my hands thoroughly afterward and call it good.

              2. LizB*

                I totally get what you mean! I’m the same way. I worry about many things… the germs I encounter at work aren’t really among my top worries. (I also work in childcare, so there’s really no way to avoid encountering germs.) I just handwash and sanitize as often as I should, and see what happens from there.

              3. kiwimusume*

                As an anxiety sufferer who outright left a particular site because of the number of people who were saying “I do (a particular anxiety behaviour) because otherwise I’d be a bad person”, I appreciate this perspective.

                1. Lissa*

                  Ooh yeah, that is one thing – I think people often use words like that because that’s how they personally feel for them – gross, disgusting, bad. But it can really easily come off as “and you people who aren’t worried about these things are gross/bad people.” When it’s really just that the person posting has a higher standard of avoiding germs (or other behaviour), not that the people around them are wrong in some way.

              4. iglwif*

                This exactly!!

                I have a fair bit of social anxiety and I have learned over the years to be grateful that I’m not also anxious about germs. (Like. No shade if people are! But I’m glad I’m not.)

              5. Stopped lurking to say...*

                So glad someone said this. Never heard of foot-flushing, use public transport, touch elevator buttons… and haven’t had a day off sick in over 5 years. I really think there is a lot of excessive germpobia around. I once saw a woman absolutely screaming at her kid because he’d touched the faucet in a Target restroom and now they’d ‘have to start all over’ with whatever cleaning regime which didn’t involve touching anything, she’d come up with.

                1. beckysuz*

                  That woman would have fallen over dead if she witnessed the time my then 3 year old son LICKED a trash can lid in a Tim Hortons bathroom. I can’t imagine freaking out over touching a faucet

            1. jclaar*

              I don’t ever flush with my foot that’s just gross. But then I flush before I even get up so I couldn’t anyway. I’d rather have it splash on my butt then up in the air. Plus I don’t use those silly seat covers, it’s stupid. Also no hovering, equally dumb.

          2. aebhel*


            I mean, I guess as long as your feet aren’t caked with mud it doesn’t really matter, but that’s just kind of odd. Unless you have open wounds on your hands, you’re not going to catch anything from touching something gross.

            1. Liz T*

              Yeah, I don’t see how the bottom of my shoe would make the handle grosser than it is. If you’re using your hand and washing your hands anyway, it all comes out the same.

              My office has sensor flushing, so it’s not an issue anyway. I use my foot in public rest stops and the like, if it’s the kind with the big metal stick handle.

        5. A tester, not a developer*

          Please tell me you are only doing that if you are wearing clean dry shoes… or are you leaving clumps of mud /slush/road salt and other assorted detritus on the handle (and the back of the toilet) for the next poor person to have to deal with?

          1. TootsNYC*

            I would think that by the time someone has walked through an office or store to get to the bathroom, the slush and mud has been wiped off (hopefully on a mat just inside the door, no?)

            1. Ellex*

              Excuse me just a moment…


              Ahem. OMG, I have worked with so many disgusting people who, seriously, could not even be bothered to wipe their feet at the door.

        6. Tinker*


          I’d not ever heard of this foot-pushing thing before and have been quietly baffled at the wear patterns apparent on some toilet levers.

          1. JSPA*

            You must live in a super low flush place, or have home-style toilets in the workplace…unless you like a wet mist or fine spray over your fanny (in both meanings of the word).

            1. Laini*

              I’ve never really noticed it to be honest. Plus I usually prefer to flush multiple times rather than all at once at the end…

      2. Kelly AF*

        My problem with using my hands on the toilet handle isn’t so much dirtying my hands but rather that leaning down to do so puts my face unacceptably close to the toilet bowl.

        An Unrepentant Foot-Flusher

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              You can certainly avoid it splashing on your or your face by getting some distance, though.

              1. Ella*

                There have been tests run, and that splash has a solid 15 foot+ reach. You aren’t avoiding it unless you’re somehow flushing from outside the bathroom. That said, unless you’re licking the toilet (and as long as you’re washing your hands before putting them near your mouth later) you’re not really in any danger of getting sick from it.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  I get that it aerosolizes, but I’m talking about literal drops of water splashing on you. That’s more about the ick factor than the health factor, for me.

                2. Nancie*

                  I once had splash-back hit me straight in the eye. I’m a committed foot-flusher now. (Only for toilets with no lid, of course.)

                3. Lissa*

                  This makes me think I have just never encountered the type of toilets you guys mean. I have never even come close to getting splashed with water from a toilet and do not have to lean over at all to flush.

                4. Nell Webbish*

                  It’s rather amusing to see people who are aghast at foot flushing a public toilet lecturing others about being overly dramatic and unnecessarily sensitive.

                5. Anna*

                  I don’t think I’ve ever been hit by splashing water. I mean, it can happen, but the aerosolization is just as bad, if not worse, because you’re breathing that in. At least with a splash, your skin is doing what it is actually meant to do and preventing it from getting inside you (save for Nell Webbish, who apparently was the 1 in 2 million case of getting an actual splash in the eye).

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          I always flush public toilets with my foot, I will never touch that handle with my hand or lean over the bowl. Nope nope nope.

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            Regarding leaning over the bowl – google “toilet plume” and realize in horror that it’s not going to help you.

            1. Kelly AF*

              Oh, I’m well aware of the six-foot radius of horror. That said, there’s still something extra-unpleasant about having my face near a used toilet seat/bowl.

              1. Dust Bunny*

                How far are you leaning over?? I don’t think I have to lean more than a few inches to reach the flush handle, and I’m 5’7″. OK, lots of women are taller, but it’s not like you have to bend at a 50-degree angle.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  This is baffling me, too. It’s not like it requires bending totally over at the waist…just tilt a little?

                  I can genuinely say I have learned something new today, about the way some people think about toilets. None of this would ever have occurred to me, tbh.

                2. Hotstreak*

                  New high velocity water efficient toilets are more prone to splashing. At my office the toilet seat will have maybe a half dozen drops on it after flushing, and as a taller person, I have to lean quite a ways. Having been hit on the face in the past, I am a 100% foot flusher.

                3. Amy the Rev*

                  Yeah I never even have to face the toilet when I flush- I’m usually standing with my back to it, having just pulled up my pants, and I just lean back a little and twist ever so slightly to the right and reach my right arm (almost all the toilets with flush handles I’ve seen have them on the right side) back a little and…flush. I don’t intentionally not-face-the-toilet, it’s just…how I flush? Like, it would feel like an extra step to stop, turn around, face the toilet, and flush with my left hand…

          2. Hodie-Hi*

            Agree completely. Public toilet with no lid and a stick flush handle? I use my foot every time and immediately turn my back and leave the stall. Those things can virtually erupt. I don’t want to get splashed on.

        2. GreenDoor*

          Kelly AF, I am with you. Our office toilets have no lids and the stalls are too narrow to stand aside. There’s no way to flush without your face….and your scarf/necklace/cardigan dangling over the water. Foot flushers unite!

          But no, I wouldn’t foot flush at an outdoor venue where mud, etc., could get on the handle. Nor would I do it at home/someone else’s home.

        3. Tau*

          I’m going to admit I’m getting confused about US toilet construction here. Why do you need to lean over? How can you trigger a flush with your foot without having to perform gymnastics to the point that falling into the toilet bowl poses a serious risk? What toilet handle? The logistics of the process being described are entirely unclear to me. I probably need to do a Google image search.

          1. Anna*

            So, depending on where you are, you’re probably thinking of the push buttons on top of toilets. In the US, very few toilets have the push buttons, but do have a lever to the right or left of the bowl, toward the top where the tank lid is. You push it down and it flushes the toilet. If it’s a public restroom, it might be a larger handle attached to a pipe behind the toilet bowl. If the foot-pushers here ever encountered a button toilet, I fear for what would become of them.

        4. Nicelutherangirl*

          I confess to foot flushing in certain places, but when I hand flush, my face is turned in the direction of the open stall door and I am ready to bolt through it asap. I wish all public toilets had lids for sanitary reasons, but I suppose it would increase the work load of custodians, as well as the corresponding costs of labor and supplies.

          1. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

            And the sheer number of people that can’t be bothered to close the lid.
            I’ve had to have a number of conversations with guests at my own home because they leave the lid up when they flush, despite it being down when they arrive. (I want it down because cleaner AND I don’t want my cats playing in it.)
            Also, at work, we have one bathroom with a lidded toilet and there are maybe only two of us that actually close the lid and we work in a laboratory.

            1. lobsterp0t*


              I get so mad at people who come to my house and dont put the lid down to flush my toilet. BOKE.

          2. Rana*

            The other problem with lids, in my experience, is that there is often some serious nastiness hiding under the rim that you can’t see until you put your hand in it. For small, infrequently used public toilets, sure, but the kind at airports? Nope.

        5. SteamedBuns*

          Same. I’m also 6’2″ and wear heels that add an additional 2-3 inches. Our toilets at work are pretty low. It’s easier for me to lift a leg than to put my face near stink water and risk the spray in my face.

          Never knew people to be so adamantly against foot-flushing. So long as everyone is flushing, making sure the seat is free of the three P’s (Pee, Poo, Pubes), and washing their hands, I couldn’t care less what people do in the bathroom.

      3. Myrin*

        Flushing with your feet? How… exactly do I need to imagine that?
        (I feel like this must 100% be a cultural issue; I’ve literally never heard of that before reading this comment.)

        1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

          In the bathrooms at my work, the bar to flush is basically 2 inches above the bowl. I think in every other bathroom i’ve ever been in, i’ve used my hands, but because the bar is so close to the ground i use my feet. It’s not a home-style toilet technique, it’s a many-stall-public toilet thing :)

          1. Myrin*

            That makes sense. I’ve never seen a toilet like that (and I’m honestly having a bit of a hard time imagining it); the ones I know exclusively have the handle at… waist-height, I’d say? Somewhere where I basically just have to move my hand forward to flush but would have to do quite a bit of exercising to use my foot, so that’s why I was so confused!

            1. Jadelyn*

              Right? And I’m long-legged for my height (not quite 5’8″ but standing next to my father, who was 6′, my hips were at the same level as his), so I’m picturing the level of contorting I’d need to do to get my foot up high enough to flush the toilet without also falling over…it’s funny, maybe, but not something I’d want to actually attempt.

              1. Zona the Great*

                Well, I’m barely 5’2″ and I’ve never had issues with reaching the flusher with my foot. Shift weight to opposite leg, lift leg, push flusher, return foot to ground.

            2. Tau*

              You beat me to it – I read this thread in increasing cultural bewilderment (+ wondering what kind of epic gymnasts populate the AAM comment section.)

              1. Scarlet*

                Yes! Almost all the toilets I see here in Europe have a button on the top of the tank, so I was completely bewildered.

        2. iglwif*

          I used to work somewhere where one of the offices (it was VERY OLD) had toilets you flushed with your foot. The flushing thing was down by the floor, below the toilet bowl.

          I have definitely never heard of flushing a regular toilet with your foot, good grief. I am not that flexible. (And I don’t see the point of avoiding touching the flush handle when 1. I am literally gonna wash my hands 5 seconds later, and 2. anything gross on the flush handle is also gonna be on the handle of the toilet stall, which is pretty hard to avoid touching.)

          I do turn off non-automated sink taps with my elbow if possible, though. Because now my hands are CLEAN.

        3. Kelly AF*

          In many public restrooms (in the US, anyway), the flushing mechanism is different than it is on a home toilet — it’s a kind of metal bar, behind the bowl, that needs to be pushed down. It’s not uncommon to stand on one foot and use the other foot to depress the bar. This obviously isn’t possible (or maybe just isn’t easy…) on home toilets that have a small flush handle mounted on the tank, or even a button on the top of the tank. And it’s not necessary on public toilets with automatic flush mechanisms, though those have their own issues….

          1. iglwif*

            I haaaaaaate those auto-flushing toilets. Invariably they flush at least once while I am sitting down and then refuse to flush when it’s actually needed, so I end up having to push the button anyway.

            1. Kelly AF*

              Right??? The ones that work well are great, but the ones that don’t, it’s like “surprise toilet-water bidet experience!” while you’re going, or else it’s “linger awkwardly kind of dancing around at the stall door to see if the toilet is going to auto-flush on its own or I need to press the button myself.” Or worse, both.

            2. aebhel*

              I mostly hate them because my kid refuses to sit on them, which has led to her wetting her pants out in public a few times, looong after she was potty-trained.

                1. Liz*

                  I pull off 2 squares of toilet paper and use that to cover the sensor. And it’s not just for kiddo either – I’m not a fan of surprise “flush while you’re still getting up”.

        4. LCL*

          There is a difference between toilets installed in public spaces (think restroom), and toilets installed in the home. The ones designed for public spaces don’t have a tank, the flush mechanism is a horizontal lever that sticks out about knee high, and is designed to be operated by the foot. The ones designed for the home have a tank, and a small lever at the top of the tank, designed to be operated with the hand. Yes, some public spaces will install a home type toilet, because there isn’t enough water pressure available to make the commercial style work.

          1. Person*

            I had heard of foot-flushing but not that public toilets were expressly designed for foot-flushing. Fascinating!

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              I would need to see a citation that this was intended in the design, especially since there are public toilets that have foot pedals located at ground level.

              1. Clisby Williams*

                I’m entirely skeptical that any knee-high handle is meant for foot-flushing – that would make no sense at all.

                I don’t recall being in any public toilet that had foot pedals at ground level, but those obviously would be meant for foot-flushing.

                1. ket*

                  Bee, one source of confusion is that what LCL describes is not what I see in public spaces at all — or LCL is 6’4”. As a short woman, the usual spot for the lever to flush in a public restroom is near my waist height. It would not be possible to use my foot if I were in tight pants or a pencil skirt, as the range of motion necessary is similar to what I use in a shotokan karate kick.

                2. Bee*

                  @ket, I don’t have strong feelings about this at all, it’s just…a thousand times easier for me to use my foot for most of the industrial style than my hand. I’m 6′, so that’s a big part of it, but between the very low height and the toilet itself sitting between me and the lever, using my hand requires contortions that using my foot does not.

          2. Myrin*

            Thanks for the explanation! I’m honestly too scared to google “american public restroom” so I’m going from your description and it’s working reasonably well. I’ve never seen something like you’re describing but that obviously makes much more sense than what I was imagining.

                1. LCL*

                  The one in the photo? That’s exactly what they are designed for. Even a tall person such as myself doesn’t like leaning over the bowl after using it.

                2. General Ginger*

                  There is no way that’s designed to be flushed with your foot. Unless all these foot-flushers are tall people.

                3. Sophie before she was cool*

                  To me, the fact that the handle is round indicates you’re supposed to use your hand. If you were supposed to push with your foot, surely it would be flat?

                1. Lyssa*

                  That strikes me as a far, far more likely outcome then catching something from touching a toilet handle with my soon-to-be-washed hands.

                2. Scmill*

                  It’s very easy to foot-flush if you were taught to do it as a child. Keeps you clean and flexible, too! Win-win! ;)

              1. iglwif*

                That’s the usual setup in public washrooms in Canada, too (when the toilets aren’t auto-flushing), and I 100% do not think that handle is designed for foot-flushing.

              2. Pandop*

                I haven’t got to the end of the thread yet, but the UK contingent are probably imaginging something like this:
                (also, my word, your loos have a lot of water in them)
                We don’t have erruptions, because we have less water:

          3. Heynonniemouse*

            That makes so much more sense. I was imagining the kind of mechanism there is in a UK public toilet – a lever at about waist height, or a flat-set button to depress – and thinking HOW?

            1. Lissa*

              Canadian here and same!! I was also really confused about why people’s faces were getting close to the bowl when they flush. I’m like…I don’t understaaaand.

            2. cheeky*

              oh, you’re imagining right. That’s exactly what I’m talking about- a waist-high lever that people are supposed to grab with their hands, but these backwards germaphobes flsuh with their feet.

              1. Hodie-Hi*

                But the lever is not waist high. It’s just slightly above knee high. It’s usually easy to tap or flick with your toe.

                1. Hodie-Hi*

                  Therefore, to hand flush I have to bend rather low, which often puts my face directly above the bowl.
                  The reason I foot flush is to avoid the geyser of droplets.

        5. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

          Yeah I was trying to imagine this and remembering some of the public toilets I’ve encountered and then amused myself by imagining people flushing one of those really old fashioned ones where you pull at a rope hanging from basically the ceiling – with their feet (they’re rare, but they still very much exist here and I think you would need to be barefoot with quite a lot of flexibility and strength to even attempt this feat).

      4. Psyche*

        I don’t understand the problem with using a foot. Everyone is going to wash their hands after anyway so if the argument is that a foot is dirtier, well then either use a foot as well or realize you are washing your hands so it won’t matter. I don’t think it is egregious.

          1. iglwif*

            Also how do you hike your foot up that high without a) straining something or b) falling over. Especially while wearing nice work clothes.

            1. Autumnheart*

              How do you not? It’s like two feet off the ground, if that. I hope I never get so out of shape that I can’t lift my own foot to knee height.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Hey now, sometimes it’s not an “out of shape” issue. All sorts of folks have mobility or other limitations that are unrelated to their levels of fitness.

                I remember the one time I wore a skirt that was not well-suited for toilet-flushing by foot (no vent, so it only allowed my leg to move about 2′ forward). It was not fun to hike up my skirt to get the mobility/range I needed. (Said suit has now been modified to add a vent, because no one has time for “tiny steps” when trying to powerwalk through a city.)

              2. AlexandrinaVictoria*

                Some of us have disabilities that preclude us from doing this. It’s not all down to physical fitness.

                1. Dwight*

                  It’s worse to crouch down and cantilever your body over the toilet bowl full of pleasantness than to move your foot about a stair’s worth height.

                2. Jadelyn*

                  Dwight, you must be climbing some seriously tall stairs! Flush handles, in my experience, are about two stairs’ worth of height.

                3. Dwight*

                  Jadelyn, if you can’t reach the second stair, then I believe you have far worse issues. FYI the standard stair height is a 7″ rise, with an 11″ run (google is your friend here), so two stairs’ height would be 14″. If you can’t lift your foot slightly higher tan ha foot, well… I’m not sure you’d be able to reach down and flush it either.

                4. Jadelyn*

                  Thanks, Doctor Dwight, for making all kinds of uncalled-for assumptions about the physical condition and limitations of total strangers on the internet. It’s probably the single most helpful thing you could be doing in this conversation. You’re definitely doing god’s work here, buddy!

                5. Dwight*

                  Jadelyn… Right…. Ok… and I suppose you’re doing God’s work I suppose by going on the internet and telling off those foot toilet flushers. Either way, I don’t pretend to do God’s work. It’s not that type of forum anyways.

              3. iglwif*

                Knee height? Try hip height, or nearly. (I’m a little on the short side … but also, sorry, many of those handles are more than 2 feet off the ground.)

                Also, there’s what I can do when I’m wearing sweats or leggings, and there’s what I can do when I’m wearing a knee-length pencil skirt or like … nice dress pants. These two sets of activities are definitely not the same.

                1. aebhel*

                  Yeah, I’m both tall and very flexible, and I’d be concerned about toppling into the toilet if I tried to flush it with my foot while wearing a pencil skirt. Not to mention the possibility of dropping my shoe in if I’m wearing slip-on flats…

                  Also, those are not designed to be flushed with a foot. Toilets that are designed to be flushed with a foot have a pedal at the base, not a rounded bar sticking out a couple of feet above the floor. I mean, you do you, but that is by no means a universal thing.

                2. Jadelyn*

                  And gods forbid heels be involved. I’m sure as hell not going to try to stand on one foot in heels for ANYTHING. They do make hand sanitizer, after all.

        1. MrsCHX*

          I’m just not sure what the point is. Okay so you use your foot, even though you’re about to (hopefully) wash your hands.

          How are you getting out of the stall? Because that door lock/handle is covered in whatever the hell it is you’re afraid the toilet handle is covered in…

            1. Hotstreak*

              It’s not all about being afraid of germs. For some of us, flushing with a foot is easier and faster. This doesn’t seem to apply for short folks or those wearing highly restrictive clothing (like pencil skirts or heels).

          1. Psyche*

            I don’t generally use my foot. I just don’t understand why it would be a bad thing. It kind of seems equal either way to me.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              because people use their feet to avoid touching the handle, but they’re just getting their own shoe-yuck on the handle for everyone else to touch.

          2. Joielle*

            Yuuuup. Everyone who flushes with their foot should go ahead and Google “toilet plume.” I don’t actually care how anyone flushes, as long as they do it, but I hope nobody is under the impression that a toilet handle is appreciably germier than anything else in a public bathroom!

            1. Blerpborp*

              I’ve always been quite amused by people who act super germaphobic in these ways (foot flushing, hovering, etc.) because the whole place is full of germs, flushing send them germs all over the place, and unless your immune system is compromised, washing your hands to avoid consuming the germs is all you really need to do. Germs, outside of your body, are actually not harming you and I don’t know how some people became so grossed out and obsessed with them (of course, wash your hands, and do your best not to spread germs so that they don’t get into other people’s bodies!)

              1. pleaset*

                So you’re saying that because there are germs in the air that we cannot control, we should not be trying to reduce the germs our hands touch that we can control?

                “obsessed with them”

                Obsessed is a strong word. Has anyone here who uses their feet used extreme language to make it seem like they are obsessed with germs? I haven’t seen that. I see people, like me, preferring to not touch something other people have touched after wiping their anus with paper. That’s a simple thing. Like the same way I like to use an umbrella when it’s raining, even if it doesn’t work perfectly. I’m not obsessed with umbrellas but I use them.

          3. Peachkins*

            This is my question as well. I’d never heard of foot-flushing before this, and I can’t for the life of me understand how it is any better. You could just grab a square of toilet paper, use it to flush the toilet by hand, and then use it again to open the stall door. And then wash your hands anyway so it’s all a moot point.

            Not to mention almost every public toilet I’ve been in has the handle near waist-level. There’s no way I’m flushing that with my foot.

            1. Kat in VA*

              I’m wondering if the handle height is more region-specific. Literally every single public bathroom I’ve been in has a roughly knee-ish level height, or perhaps a bit shorter.

              Difference between Europe and the US, maybe?

              (I’m a foot flusher for a number of reasons – I have limited bending mobility and I don’t want to put my face anywhere near a bowl full of whatever I’ve left in it. I’m aware of the toilet plume and all that – it’s more a personal preference than any actual minimization of exposure to toilet stuffs.)

              1. TL -*

                I think I’ve been in a few where the handle is around knee height (because I have foot flushed if it’s obviously that much easier to access with feet versus hand) and I know the handicap accessible stalls have lowered handles – though not knee height on me, I’m 5’3″ – but the majority of the ones I’ve used (in the USA) have been at my waist or maybe hip.

      5. Allison*

        Yep, and because so many women feel that pooping (or, more specifically, having big, smelly poops) is a shameful act, I sometimes linger in the stall so no one judges *me* for pooping, even though I think the whole thing is dumb. It’s a stupid, cyclical dance we force other women into.

        1. Blue*

          Yep. And if I realize that someone is lingering in a stall for this reason, I’ll do them a favor and get in and out as quickly as possible.

          1. GhostWriter*

            I do this too if I realize someone’s sitting in a stall, perfectly still and silent. I assume they have shy bladder syndrome or are waiting to poop in privacy.

            1. Kat in VA*

              I am one of those shy poopers you mention (I literally have one of six bathrooms in my house where I can comfortably poop, I don’t know why, I hate it, and god help me if I have to poop somewhere in “public” or “not-home”) and I am eternally grateful to you for summing up the situation and whipping in and out on the rare, rare occasion where bowel overwhelms shyness. To be honest, I would love love love to be someone who can do their business in any bathroom, anywhere, but I just…can’t.

      6. Antilles*

        If you’re going to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, just use your hands on the toilet handle.
        Especially since the very next thing you touch after flushing the toilet is either (a) the stall lock and handle or (b) the faucet handle…both of which are commonly touched by people who haven’t yet washed their hands. So even if using your foot keeps your hands momentarily more clean, that extra cleanliness is gone like 10 seconds later when you touch literally anything else in the bathroom.

      7. No Green No Haze*

        Here’s the thing. Literally the day I learned anyone else was flushing public toilets with their feet, I started doing the same thing. It’s already been potentially tainted — me using my hands isn’t going to make it cleaner. I wash my hands a lot, especially at work, and in winter despite drinking lots of water and using lots of hand lotion, I do get cracks in my fingertips. I’m not touching the soles of someone’s shoes if I can avoid it.

        1. valentine*

          Literally the day I learned anyone else was flushing public toilets with their feet, I started doing the same thing.

      8. Hixish*

        No. Use your feet. You’ll be touching other people’s excrement.
        It doesn’t matter if you’re washing your hands afterward because you’ll be touching someone’s excrement (even when tissue is used, sometimes it gets on people’s hands), then unlocking the stall door, then touching the sink handles… no. Sorry – no.

      9. stellaaaaa*

        Why is it annoying to know that people use their feet to flush? I have ALWAYS used my foot to flush a public toilet because the bar to flush it feels closer to my feet than my hands. It’s also easier on me, personally, to lift my leg than to bend over to lower my arm.

        Now if public stalls had the flushing lever on the wall up high, I’d switch to using my hand.

        1. Clisby Williams*

          I don’t think it’s annoying. It’s just inexplicable, unless the flushing mechanism is at floor level. If you have to lift your foot more than 2-3 inches to accomplish the flush, it’s just weird.

      10. Liane*

        Wow, I didn’t know foot flushing was so controversial. (I do it once in a while, for the record.) But this sub-discussion reminds me of a hilarious old Jump Start comic strip. Joe the police officer (the husband/dad of the family) is using the restroom in the station. In various panels, he kicks–lightly–doors open with his foot, foot-flushes, etc. In the last panel he goes to the sink and sees this sign–“Employees Must Wash Their Feet Before Returning To Work!”

      11. Akcipitrokulo*

        With a foot?!?!? OK, conpletely stunned now!

        Main thing is… um… how? Even when I was in better shape I was never that flexible! Or do you stand on the seat?

      12. AnonForThis*

        I don’t have a large bowel (removed a couple of decades ago) so I tend to wait because when I go, it cam be loud and that’s embarrassing. But we have 4 cubicles and I’ve never seen all in use at a time. If there were a queue, I’d just do it.

      13. workingforaliving*

        hey I would welcome people who flush the toilet…period. Hand, foot, pocketbook, walking stick…… whatever they use it’s better than what I usually see in the women’s room. People have forgotten how to flush a toilet apparently.

        1. Kat in VA*

          This. Also to be lumped in with women who are too precious to either put a barrier of paper between them and the seat if they have Concerns or the even more annoying types who hover and sprinkle all over the seat. I get it, they’re too precious to wipe up their own pee* when they’re done, but apparently I’M not too precious to wipe up THEIR pee. This enrages me to no end. Why are people so sloppy and lazy sometimes?

          *And I’m definitely not too precious to emit a string of curses when I’m in a hurry and sit on someone else’s pee. That escalates from rage to outright fury.

          1. nym*

            This passive-aggressive note appeared in a restroom at work a few months ago:
            If you sprinkle
            when you tinkle
            be a sweetie
            and wipe the seatie

      14. Lucille*

        Why is the method one uses to flush the toilet annoying to you? I’m trying to imagine what the problem is … are people in your office walking through mud or sand in order to get to the toilet?

        1. Nobby Nobbs*

          Yeah, people here are being really judgmental about how strangers flush the toilet today. Oh no, foot germs! The horror!

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            I’m just impressed with gymnastic ability! I probably could do it eith foot when younger but middle aged and not in great shape me would struggle.

      15. Emily K*

        Oh my gods, this is the bane of my existence. I have paruresis (a shy bladder, I can’t urinate in front of other people) and find it physically impossible to void my bladder when I know there’s someone sitting 20″ away, separated from me only by a divider that doesn’t even reach the floor or ceiling, in total silence. Even when I have to go so badly that it hurts, my body refuses to relax enough. It’s not severe enough that it affects me under normal conditions when people are just coming and going and minding their own business, but a silent person is completely different because you know they are listening for you to leave so they can resume their business, and the knowledge that someone is listening to me use the bathroom triggers my paruresis.

        I have learned a lot of psychological tricks that can sometimes help relieve mild cases (doing complex mental math is one of the big ones) but I’ve never been able to go when there’s a silent pooper lurking in the room. I end up having to give up eventually and see if I have any better luck in the bathroom at the other end of the building. Once I ended up in tears because there was a silent pooper in both bathrooms and it was physically painful for me to be holding it in but I couldn’t relax enough to go and had to just go back to my desk and wait 5 minutes before trying again.

      16. Melissa D.*

        About 7 years ago my manager broke her foot at work. No one could figure out what happened, but she eventually confessed that she slipped when foot flushing and landed really wrong on the foot-flushing foot. My thought was “well, that’s sucky luck”, while others in my office where AGHAST that she flushed with her foot. Most hand-flushers didn’t know that foot flushers existed. It turned into a whole office week-long discussion about the pros and cons of foot flushing, and robust research into the percentages of foot vs hand flushers in the U.S. (if I remember correctly foot flushers outnumber hand flushers). It was an eye opening week and people had very strong opinions on the matter.

      17. FootFlusher*

        “If you’re going to wash your hands after going to the bathroom”, what difference does it make if others flush with their foot?

    2. TooTiredToThink*

      I worked as a part time janitor in college. Literally nothing about this surprises me. And, unfairly, that is how I found out just how gross men can be. Until I started working at NewJob. Of course, I’ve never been in the men’s bathroom at NewJob, but there are some women at NewJob that are absolutely disgusting.

      1. LCH*

        i’m so sorry. i saw horrific things in the restrooms the last time i worked at a college (poop in the middle of the floor!! not EVEN in a stall!! why?!)

        1. TooTiredToThink*

          Right? I just don’t understand. I mean, I know sometimes things happen beyond your control. And you might be too sick to take care of it yourself; but otherwise? No, just no.

          1. valentine*

            Vandalism. They manage, after all, not to leave used toilet paper around and, if it weren’t deliberate, they could call a custodian without admitting guilt.

        2. General Ginger*

          I worked retail back in the day. I’ve seen lots of poop where it didn’t belong. Poop in dressing rooms. Poop on the walls of dressing rooms. Poop on the mirror in dressing rooms.

      2. iglwif*

        My spouse used to work in facilities management. He has told me some … interesting … stories about washrooms.

    3. Much anon*

      The comments flow on this topic is rather amusing though. If I scroll fast enough all the text blurs into the sound of a flock of disturbed chickens.

  2. Levy Tate*

    I immediately thought of Creed Bratton, too.

    Start leaving sanitary products in both bathrooms. Just a little tray or something. For some reason those are so off putting to some men, someone will likely complain. Then that’s a perfect opportunity to jump in with a rebuttal regarding their stench and cleanliness vs. pads/tampons just sitting around.

    1. Lena Clare*

      This is perfect^. You can literally “accidentally” fling an unused wrapped tampon at them and they will scatter as if they’re bullets. :)

      But yeah, what Alison said.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        I would be fully prepared to go defcon 5 (Er, defecate 5) with pads and tampons as retaliation. Could they name and shame and sent out an all-company email calling out ‘John’ for his crappy behavior when it happens? Maybe a small female lynch mob waiting outside the bathroom to scold the offender when he emerges?

        These are all over the top—I’m not being serious. I think.

        1. BethRA*

          Seriously. Start smearing a bit of fake blood on the seat (make sure the other women know what’s going on). Watch them run.

            1. New Age Earth Mother*

              This was the first thought in my warped little mind too. Except I would put it on more than the seat……

              1. Tiny Soprano*

                Not bothering to tidy up after a moon cup change ought to do the trick… I don’t know how I always manage to make it look like the final scene from Carrie, but I guess I’m just skilled?

          1. Mike C.*

            Yes, faking biological fluids on the bathroom fixtures and making a huge mess for the janitors sounds real mature.

            1. Hills to Die on*

              So is using the women’s restroom for 30 minutes at a time only for pooping, and then refusing to be courteous or respectful to others. Also, where’s the huge mess? That’s not what I implied or inferred from any of those comments.

                1. Hills to Die on*

                  They are being gross and disrespectful to the women. They should be held accountable, and since they aren’t then I can absolutely see why the women need to do something different to get their attention.

                2. Mike C.*

                  Then hold them accountable without treating your cleaning staff like sh!t, why is this so difficult to understand?

                  Why must your janitors be caught in the middle of your unprofessional fights? Why do you completely ignore them and the amount of extra work you’re creating for them? They’re people too, even if they don’t make as much money as you do, don’t speak the same language or don’t wear the same sorts of clothes to work as you do.

                3. Hills to Die on*

                  Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I don’t understand what you are saying. You are a giant fusspot, and you are rude and condescending so until you behave like a nice person you really have no business telling someone else how bad they are.

                4. Hills to Die on*

                  Don’t see janitors as real people? My dad had a janitor company growing up so I was cleaning toilets before I could ride a bike. Literally. You can calm down and stop acting like you are the only person who has ever worked hard.

            2. BethRA*

              YOu’re right – they should let the cleaning staff know it’s fake, too.

              (better fake biological fluids than the real thing the guys in this office are apparently leaving for them)

                1. BethRA*

                  Having had jobs where cleaning bathrooms was one of my duties – I would take a little fake blood over actual bodily secretions any day. I’d have taken a month solid of fake blood over some of the one-time clean-ups I had to deal with.

                  For as wound up as you are about someone joking about fake blood, and how mean we are to cleaning staff – I don’t hear you worrying about how the actual messes made by the men in this office are disrespectful to the cleaning staff. Interesting.

              1. Mike C.*

                Why are you folks so sh!tty to cleaning staff? I get that they aren’t ~*~white collar professionals~*~ but there is no reason for including them in your dumb and frankly unprofessional fantasies.

                1. Hills to Die on*

                  #1, the cleaning crew is only there once a week so this doesn’t target them as much as it targets the offenders.
                  #2, The men are causing this issue so get angry with them
                  #3, you’re having quite the over-the-top reaction to this. Looks to me like someone has a little habit of pooping in the women’s restroom.
                  #4, Frankly, if I were the OP and you wrote this to me, I’d definitely put fake blood on the toilets out of principle (oh, fake blood on a toilet! Oh, the humanity! The janitor will have to wipe the toilets down when they are cleaning!! …what? They do that already? Oh, ok, never mind.)

                2. Kat in VA*

                  You realize that it’s hyperbole and they aren’t actually encouraging OP to do this, right?

                  Lighten up, man.

          2. EddieSherbert*

            Honestly, this was my first thought as well. It’s not very mature, but I would consider it if everyone keeps being so unreasonable about this very reasonable request.

            1. Tiny Soprano*

              Exactly. And knowing the dynamic from the LW, it probably wouldn’t take more than a week of the shoe being on the other foot for the behaviour to change.

        2. Andraste's Knicker Weasels*

          Love it! Though for DEFCON levels, lower numbers are more severe than higher numbers. Your idea is probably more of a DEFCON 2. ;)

        1. Hills to Die on*

          How have I made it this far in life without one of these? (*adds a stuffed animal lobster to Amazon wish list*)

    2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      Oh – or you should just hang tampons for the ceiling of the ladies room. And put a big poster of a buff, shirtless dude in there. And whenever a guy comes out say “Oh – you were admiring Fernando. Isn’t he majestic?”.

      1. Letter Writer*

        YES! FERNANDO! Ok, in seriousness, I think that might actually make a difference and if anyone complained they would be outing themselves as using the women’s room all the time and then… well Bob, let’s have a conversation about why you’re in the women’s room all the time? This might be my absolute favorite. You have won the interweb.

      2. Jake*

        I really dislike the idea of using homophobia as a weapon like this. Even if it mostly targets homophobic people, it still normalizes the homophobia. It’s gross.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      From having worked in a small office where the women’s restroom was being commandeered by dudes who would then pee all over the seats—this totally works. You can do the fake blood thing, but honestly, just including signs in each stall about how to dispose of feminine hygiene products, along with stocking visible pads/tampons at the sink area (or in little baskets on the tank, if you have toilets with tanks) was a GREAT deterrent for guys. There were 1-2 men who still used the restroom, but they didn’t destroy it or commandeer it for #2 time.

      I’d also stock air freshener in a hidden location. It’s not a solution, but sometimes it can allow you to survive the stench.

      1. KC without the sunshine band*

        This reminds me of when a convenience store owner wanted people to stop loitering outside his store. What did he do? He started playing all classical music on his speakers, inside and outside the store no more loitering.

        All that to say, get creative. Feminine hygiene products are a must. A little device that tells you “You are Superwoman!” in a very motherly voice every time you leave the bathroom would be fun. Get all pink paper towels, pink heart shaped soaps, a mirror with female power messages. girl it up~

        1. Jadelyn*

          Guys who have that whole fragile masculinity thing going on can be such a pain, but on occasion it can be weaponized against them, and it’s so deeply satisfying…

        2. Just Employed Here*

          Yeah, some train stations do the classical music.

          My local convenience store does some kind of yoga-esque chanting, it’s pretty weird when you’re only in there for a lunchtime sandwich. Definitely better than the previous manager who had signs saying they’ll put up pictures of thieves on their Facebook page (I stopped going there once I saw those, until the management changed and took down the signs).

          1. Elizabeth West*

            There used to be a gas station downtown here that did that. It was just pumps, a manned kiosk, and an outside restroom you had to get a key for (to keep people from camping out in it). But it also played this weird ambient music outside to discourage loitering. We called it the New Age Gas Station.

        3. NoNameJones*

          I think standing outside the restroom and loudly applauding every man who exits might make them hesitant…

        4. That aggressive dyke is lashing out again.*

          Worked for Joe Arpaio, amirite? How is “weaponizing” misogynist disgust over women’s bodies any better than doing the same thing except with homophobia? “Ewwwwwww girl cooties!” and “Ewwwwwww GAY cooties!” are the same strategy, just aimed at different levels of anxious masculinity.

        5. Paige*

          To get creative, can we first acknowledge that these men aren’t using the women’s room solely to have a clean seat without having to clean it themselves? In a workplace with so few women, these men’s practice implicitly, viscerally says, “Your place here is to clean up my shit.” Since management is also doing it, any attempted verbal negotiations with these men will likely backfire.

          So why not bring in the women the men have to negotiate with: their significant others. Forget tampons. What if these women occasionally applied a bit of floral scented bath oil to the seats, planning it so that they know when they themselves need to wipe it up first and reapply after they’re done. Let those men try to explain to their wives/girlfriends why they come home smelling like roses: “Honestly, honey, I don’t know how I got this scent on my butt. No, there’s not another woman. Phbt, the women in the office don’t smell this good. What do you mean ‘how do I know’? Wait! I probably got it in the restroom. At work! I was in there taking a dump. I swear! Yes, by myself. Because I was in the women’s restroom!”

          Would that maybe lower the number of men using the women’s restroom without the women having to resort to direct confrontation/negotiation and without having to respond to one disliked bodily excretion with another?

      2. Catleesi*

        I love this. Even the sight of a clean, unused tampon is apparently terrifying to a lot of men. It might not resolve the problem but I am willing to bet it would help.

    4. Tardigrade*

      Add some doilies and those crystal bowls full of weird old soaps that nobody ever seems to use, and hang pictures of Precious Moments or other keepsake brand. If they feel like they’re in their grandma’s loo then maybe they won’t wreck it.

    5. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      Add a poster or two on how to self-check for breast lumps, a poster outlining the signs of cervical cancer, almost anything related to women’s plumbing especially with full colour diagrams.

  3. Myrin*

    Alison, can I just note how admirable (in a weirdly hilarious way) I find your willingness to answer bathroom-related questions again and again even though I believe you’ve said in the past that you’re actually easily grossed out by them?

  4. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    NO WAY! I just watched the clip AAM linked. People ask me why I didn’t and still won’t watch The Office. Because it’s not fun. It hits way to close to home; it’s like they’re watching me at work! Not funny. Stresses me the hell out. With that said, if I’d seen this clip before today, I would’ve said they really pulled that idea out of thin air. Who thinks of that? Who would ever DO that? Oh, never mind.

    1. Miss Fisher*

      It took me a long time to get into the office because Michael Scott infuriates me. In no way should that man ever been promoted to manager.

      Anyway, my bathroom issues at work are more so that some women are completely disgusting. I don’t see how they can leave a stall that way. I guess this goes with what OP said about the men’s room. Why can’t people clean up after themselves?

      1. Lauren*

        I’ve rarely had an issue with other women, only men. Mainly that men pee on the seat and on the floor, and then don’t clean it up. I hated having gender neutral bathrooms for that reason alone.

        1. Gumby*

          It doesn’t solve the LW’s problem, but if someone came up with some way to dispense one cheerio into the bowl before each use it would provide a target for those who have trouble aiming…

          1. My wife used to manage facilities at a college*

            Some urinals actually have a fly painted into the ceramic for exactly this reason. Also the main benefit of urinal cakes. Apparently men can be tricked into being neater by giving them a target.

      2. Not Paul Hollywood*

        Michael Scott was a fantastic salesman and that’s why he got promoted to manager. Peter Principle in action.

      3. Patty Mayonnaise*

        I think Michael Scott is a perfect example of something that happens in real life that Alison talks about here: someone who’s good at the task of his job (in Michael’s case, selling paper) being promoted to manager when he has no talent in managing. There are moments throughout the series that show Michael was actually a good salesman, and since he is super-dedicated to the company as a manager, the higher ups probably saw him as a loyal go-getter who was bringing in a lot of business as a salesperson, so they moved him up to management without realizing he would be a disaster (plus, they were apparently underpaying him, a plus for them). As a salesperson he could direct his boundless energy into selling paper, as a manager he has nowhere to direct that energy and it leads to disaster. But overall I can see how it happened that he became manager.

        1. Dankar*

          And yet his branch is always the only one turning a profit. I’m watching it through for the first time and this is the number one thing that I cannot wrap my head around. How is it possible that Michael is somehow creating such an optimal work environment (in spite of himself), when he’s so obviously bad at his job?! It’s so far-fetched.

          I’m loving the show, though. I told my partner that the only reason I didn’t enjoy it when it was first on the air was because I didn’t work in an office. Now I soooo get it.

          1. Dorothy Zbornak*

            I think Dwight was presented as a major reason the Scranton branch was so profitable – he was consistently the #1 salesman in the company by a mile. And even Jim, who never gave his job 100% because it bored him, probably did well by skating by on charm. Throw in a couple solid old-timers with consistent business like Stanley and Phyllis and that probably explains it! (As does a willing suspension of disbelief that such a dysfunctional workplace could ever do so well!)

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I tried to watch the US one but couldn’t get into it. The UK version is hilarious, even though David Brent is just as infuriating.

        I feel you–there used to be someone at Exjob who would wash their hands and splash water everywhere. They never wiped it up. I guess they just figured it would evaporate, but we’re talking large puddles all over the counter. At least they were washing their hands!!

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Creed being so far out was less stressful to me than Dwight’s rule following and Michael’s mismanagement. And everyone adjusting to the weirdness, like, “oh, that’s just how [character] is.” It was an office full of broken steps. I don’t think it was a bad show. Probably a great show. I love Superstore, but if I worked in Walmart or Target, I don’t think I’d be able to watch that either.

    2. Jadelyn*

      I couldn’t watch Weeds, for the same reason. The air of desperate upper-middle-class suburbia was just too real – it was like watching a documentary of my childhood. I watched like 2 episodes and noped on out.

  5. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I’m assuming these are single stall restrooms, but that’s not totally clear, and if not, then this might not work.

    The easiest thing is to make them both officially gender neutral and follow Alison’s advice to ask your CEO to have the cleaning crew come in more frequently, but also outfit both bathrooms with poopurri and maybe those paper seat covers.

    1. Antilles*

      That was my interpretation too – these are single stalls, with basically one toilet, one sink and the door. In which case, I think it’s really more of an issue with the company policy than the men in question:
      1.) With only 20 employees and that skewed of a ratio, these probably shouldn’t be gender-specific restrooms. Just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to have one restroom near constantly in use (17 people) while the other barely gets used.
      2.) Cleaning once per week seems absurdly low for 20 people. I’m not in facilities management so I don’t really know the stats, but the places I’ve worked with 15-20 people generally had the restrooms cleaned at least twice per week and the places I’ve worked with 50+ generally had the restrooms cleaned every day.

      1. JustaTech*

        Goodness, at my work the day porter wipes down the bathroom sink and refills the toilet paper at least twice a day, and then night janitors clean the toilets every night.

        Once a week is clearly not enough, if the women are having to re-stock the toilet paper themselves.

      2. Alienor*

        Once a week is nuts! I clean my bathroom at home once a week and only two people use it. With 20 people, I think someone should at least be wiping down the counter and sink + restocking supplies every day, and cleaning the actual toilet 2-3 times a week.

    2. Kelly AF*

      Make them gender-neutral with one being the “sit to pee” restroom and the other being the “stand to pee” restroom. Men, use whichever one you’d like, but if you’re in “sit to pee,” I expect not to see pee all over/around the toilet.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Yeah, see, I admittedly don’t spend much time in men’s restrooms, but the pee on the sit thing happens A LOT in women’s rest rooms with the “hover to pee” people.

        But also, making the bathrooms gender neutral also removes any potential issues if you have someone on staff who is transgender or gender fluid.

        1. Kelly AF*

          Agreed! If I were Emperor of All Earth, single-stall gender neutral restrooms would be required everywhere. While I’m at it, I’d probably get all my best engineers on designing them so that they are automatically sealed off and hosed down after every use, too.

        2. Tiny Soprano*

          Oh man the hover to pee people used to drive me nuts at my old job. I don’t care which position you care to pee in, but for the love of all things sanitary please wipe the seat afterwards. It got bad enough that I used to joke someone was secretly a cat and was doing the ‘rage pee beside the litter tray’ thing.

        3. Vicky Austin*

          Sometimes, accommodating the trans* community has its perks for cisgendered people, too. For instance, the ladies’ locker rooms at my gym now have curtains on the showers, a small space outside the shower to change, and a curtain in front of the small space so that no one else has to see you naked! This makes it more comfortable for everyone. I don’t want to see a trans woman’s penis OR a ciswoman’s vulva in the locker room.

      2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

        The problem with Men’s restrooms is generally not peeing on the seat, but peeing all over the damn floor. Both genders have gross bathroom behaviors, but I think we are more used to our own gender’s problems, so are more grossed out by the other genders issues. I can deal with pee on the seat, but if the floor is all sticky I freak out.

      3. DrivingOn9*

        “Make them gender-neutral with one being the “sit to pee” restroom and the other being the “stand to pee” restroom.”

        Where does the neutrality come in?

        1. Cat Fan*

          Yeah, It doesn’t quite make sense. Real gender-neutral would be having a toilet and urinal in both bathrooms.

              1. General Ginger*

                If they can’t aim correctly at the toilet, urinals won’t solve anything. You’re just going to end up with a perpetual puddle in front of the urinal. Ask me how I know this :(

            1. M-omelette*

              I asked about having gender-neutral bathrooms for a church renovation project,and the building code would require a urinal in each, even if they are single stalls.

        2. Kelly AF*

          What I meant was more like “butt on the toilet seat” vs “butt not on the toilet seat” which is entirely unconnected to gender (even leaving out all the ways in which genitals don’t match conventional gender mappings). That way, those who stand or hover can pee on seats and floors and sides of the toilets to their heart’s content, and those who put their butts directly on the seats don’t have to deal with wet seats and sticky floors. (Plenty of men and/or penis possessors sit to pee, for the record.)

    3. Psyche*

      Yes. If they are single occupancy that is by far the best solution. If there isn’t one “nice” bathroom and one “urinal” bathroom then maybe they will not leave it as disgusting.

    4. Kate R*

      Agree. I don’t really understand assigning gender specifications to single person bathroom anyway aside from the cleanliness aspect, and men are perfectly capable of keeping bathrooms clean just as women are capable of making them gross. At the very least, make them unofficially gender neutral by just using whatever restroom is available. The OP and her female colleagues should not ever be doing “the potty dance” because their restroom is being used by a man. Use the men’s room and let the women’s inconvenience spill over to the men. If someone called me on that, I’d just explain, “I had to pee, and Bob’s pooping in the ladies’ room.”

      It does sound like the cleaning staff need to be hired to come more than once a week though, or at least they need to leave more supplies when they do come. For an office of 20 people, once a week is really not that much. Working for a small business myself, I know that CEO’s do a certain level of penny pinching, but someone needs to impress upon him that the current arrangement isn’t suitable.

  6. NCKat*

    Do you have clients that come to that office? Maybe frame the request for more cleaning as a clients being turned off by a dirty men’s bathroom.

    1. Letter Writer*

      Actually, that might be the most convincing argument to our CEO/CFO, who are insanely cheap. Having the cleaning crew come more often when the only thing that they would really need to clean again is the restroom, and just in general the CEO/CFO not wanting to spend money, the client argument could work. Clients don’t come in very often (we go to them for the most part) but when they do it certainly would be a terrible impression.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This is such a great idea. I’ve found that folks who aren’t willing to pay for additional janitorial services or to have an awkward convo about bathroom cleanliness and etiquette will change their tune if it affects outsiders/clients (with an exception for retail, grocery stores, and restaurants).

  7. Grand Mouse*

    I agree that the cleaning crew needs to come more often. I clean bathrooms daily and while I could say men or women are messier, the true factor is how often the bathrooms are used. Unfortunately because of (i assume) sexism, the men’s is used more and is messier. When I worked retail it was the women’s.

    So there’s two problems. Both the gender imbalance and frequency of use. And not to pry but 30 minutes is really unusual? I wouldn’t want to confront someone because of the awkwardness and potential health issues but I wonder if they’re goofing off in there.

    Anyway there is really no good solution for bathroom wars. I would say that if they’re taking their time in the women’s and presumably doing their quick business in the men’s, no reason you can’t go over there.

    Is this office in general fair to women? w
    Wiyh a 20 to 3 ratio I really wonder.

    1. Washi*

      Yeah I know it’s out of the scope of the letter but I have to side eye the dudes who use the women’s bathroom not because the men’s is busy but only to poop, and aren’t even respectful of the space. If you are behaving like Creed Bratton, you’re doing something wrong.

      1. Tempestuous Teapot*

        It has already been verified that the men’s room is filthy. This is most likely why the men insist on pooping in the ladies’. They know it’s messy, they made it messy, and they are not willing to clean it. The lowest hanging fruit is to go sit on the women’s clean toilet and leave them to either do the potty dance or clean the men’s room. I’m betting money the men (boss included) are astonished the women heave not figured it out yet. After all, the women are cleaning the pooping room, why not the peeing room?

        (Full disclosure, I’m furious with all the men involved).

    2. iglwif*

      Yeah, 30 minutes seems like a reeeaallly long time for just a regular poop. Like, if I personally were in the washroom for 30 minutes at a time it would be because I’m sick enough to probably need to go home for the day.

      But it also seems like something you probably can’t ask about because there are almost certainly medical issues that could make it necessary, that the person would almost certainly not want to talk to a co-worker about.

      1. But you don't have an accent...*

        Crohn’s Disease, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis are all diseases which would cause…excessive bathroom time to be necessary. They’re also not something most sufferers are even close to comfortable discussing.

          1. Lissa*

            Yeah, I know people immediately jump to a medical issue but while it’s not unlikely any single person has one of these, the likelihood of half the men having them seems…. low.

          2. But you don't have an accent...*

            Oh yeah, I was just responding to iglwif in that there are several things that would cause you to have that long of a regular poop, without needing to go home for the day (because you’d have to go home every day).

            I agree that if the majority of people are doing this, there’s a priority given to hiring people with bowel troubles (what an interview panel that would be), or much more likely, people goofing off.

            1. But you don't have an accent...*

              It should read “I agree that if the majority of people are doing this, EITHER there’s a priority given to hiring people with bowel troubles (what an interview panel that would be), or much more likely, people goofing off.”

        1. iglwif*

          Yes, exactly. Those are some of the ones I thought of, along with, for example, someone whose bathroom time involves emptying their stoma bag.

      2. Kathlynn*

        My dairy allergy leaves me on the toilet for ar least 5 minutes at very random times. (because I’m bad at avoiding dairy. Luckily it’s not a life threatening allergy. Just very painful, due to constipation.)

        So long as the person isn’t in there every day IDGAF. (when it’s everyday, they better have a medical reason to tell the mabager. But I’m retail, and sitting on the toilet that long, and not counting it as your break would impact the other employees)

      3. Winifred*

        Reminds me (horribly) of a former (horrible) boss who’d tuck the Boston Herald under his arm each morning at about the same time, and stroll off for what seemed like ages to the men’s bathroom. 2018 version: they’re reading sports or news or email on their phone while seated?

      4. not a chance*

        DH does this, 40+ minutes. I require notice to pee or I don’t guarantee I wont disturb him by beating on the door every 30 seconds begging and a few times have thrown the door open and pooped on Kleenex in front of him.

    3. Letter Writer*

      In general, no, this office isn’t fair to women. In fact other than one woman I know of in the past, they have only hired women into “administrative”-type positions. There are some very sexist attitudes that come from the CEO and CFO specifically. I once tried to help out one of the tech guys with something that I happened to have very specific training and experience in while he did not. When I offered him my help he, with a sneer, told me “well, that’s TECH work” (I, not being one of the dudes on the tech team, just a lowly teapot analyst).

      For some reason 30 minutes does not seem that unusual to guys. Like… that’s fine by them and normal. I get the impression they just like taking their time. Most of my friends are men and I’ve discussed it with them, the 30 minutes things isn’t strange to them, but the using the women’s room specifically for the purpose of pooping is something they think is extremely weird. I know of work places where one restroom is kind of designated for that purpose because it’s downstairs/out of the way/whatever.

      Anyways, the cleaning crew coming more often seems wildly unlikely. Our CEO/CFO are excessively cheap. I mean hey, it’s worth a shot and personally that would be enough to satisfy me. I just don’t want to have to use a particularly gross bathroom.

      1. blackcat*

        Ok, I this makes another solution more clear: all the women quit, leaving these men alone with their poop. The bathroom situation is just reflective on an environment that is not respectful of women (and their work/time/needs/etc). Things will not get better.

        (Like I get that that’s not possible! But…. ick.)

      2. LadyPhoenix*

        I think you have more problems then men comandeering your restroom.

        I know exactly why the men claim your bathrooms. Cause they’re clean and theyo don’t have to clean it thenselves becausE Women do it anyways (cause women are “supposed” to clean up after men /sarcasm).

        I’d tell every woman to consider potential protections for obvious cases of sexism… or leave a stink dump of a review on glassdoor.

          1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

            Like how the men are sitting and pooping in the room where the women would have some privacy? Yeah, not to hard to see their opinion of what is their’s and what is hers.

            1. LadyPhoenix*

              Or that the CEO is doing it AFTER the women conplained?

              Gotta keep those uppity women in line, afterall. /biting, bitter sarcasm

      3. Let's Bagel*

        Agreed about the 30 mins seeming normal to guys…I just don’t understand this. My husband and a lot of my friends’ husbands do this (albeit in their own homes). But it drives me crazy to no end when I’m juggling dinner and both kids and my husband is like, “I’m going to the bathroom,” and I know that means I won’t see him for half an hour.

        Taking this long at work, though? Like…aren’t you supposed to be working?

        1. Letter Writer*

          I have been told by a number of my guy friends that they get particular enjoyment out of getting paid to go to the bathroom on company time. Like they won’t do this on their lunch, it’s got to be company time.

          I don’t know. It’s a Y chromosome thing I guess lol.

          1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

            Well, I don’t have Y chromosomes that I would know of, and I prefer not to use my lunch break pooping. In my country 30 minutes lunch break is the norm and you just need most of that time for eating. If the lunch break is longer it’s a different thing, but if it’s short and I’m allowed to use the bathroom at other times, I will!

          2. General Ginger*

            I didn’t realize this was a gendered thing! Everyone I know is familiar with the rhyme rule for this :)

        2. Dankar*

          I totally, totally agree. I am not spending a minute more than I have to in the bathroom. It is not where I would choose to spend my free time!

          But a part of me does understand hiding from responsibility/drudgery. I’ve been known to sit in my parked car and catch up on the news before heading into the house after work.

        3. Julia*

          Or if you only have one bathroom and your husband is hogging it even though ate and drank the same amount at the same time…

  8. turningheads*

    We had similar complaints at my last job, and as a manager, I simply said i was far too busy to be the potty police.

    This letter writer sounds extremely petty and afraid of confrontation.

    If someone is leaving a mess in the washroom, politely ask him or her to clean it.

    I rolled my eyes at one woman who complained other people were leaving the women’s room too smelly.

    It’s extremely bizarre to expect the staff at a workplace can do something about other people making bad smells in there.

    Secondly, what do you think a public washroom is going to smell like?

    1. Levy Tate*

      I don’t think it’s petty to want to be able to use a clean restroom. The OP said she’s had to go home to use the bathroom because someone was taking THAT long in the women’s and the men’s room is filthy (who wants to sit in someone else’s urine?)

    2. LadyPhoenix*

      wow. Talk about rude

      1) The bathrooms have been assigned as Men/Women. While men can be allowed to use the women’s room to do their business if the other is filled, women bave the mtop priority.
      2) Men are not just using the women’s room, they are MONOPOLIZING IT.
      3) Don’t turn bathrooms into nuclear dunps. A small mess is one thing, but leaving piss over the seats and the stench eveywhere is super rude to the next occupants AND the people whose offices are around the restroom. Flush twice, get some poopurri, turn the fan on, and close the door.
      4) Don’t monopolize bathroom material too.

      1. LadyPhoenix*

        Just cause it is a bathroom DOESN’T mean it should automatically turn into a gas station bathroom. Show some effin respect.

      2. Washi*


        The problem isn’t that poop smells sometimes, the problem is that 1. the company is too cheap to have the bathroom cleaned frequently enough and 2. a certain group of men is worsening the problem by making both bathrooms disgusting

        It is not functional, particularly for women, to have one bathroom be the pooping forever bathroom and one bathroom be the pee standing up because the seat is too dirty bathroom!

        1. teclatrans*

          “It is not functional, particularly for women, to have one bathroom be the pooping forever bathroom and one bathroom be the pee standing up because the seat is too dirty bathroom!”

          This gets to the heart of the matter, I think. (Along with the ‘women keep this clean for our butts aspect.)

      3. Letter Writer*

        Thank you. This is exactly how we looked at it. Really, it does feel like the women’s room is being monopolized by the men. If the men’s room is open, then they should be using it. If you take the last of the toilet paper, go get more. Don’t pee on the seat or if you do, then wipe it down (we kept Lysol wipes and stuff in the restroom right on top of the toilet tank). I don’t think asking that much is too much!

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          I agree it’s an issue. But a tip – lift the seat to squat and pee. Makes it easy to hold your pants there is no chance of getting urine on you. Bonus if you stroll out of the men’s room after peeing and leave the seat up. I have done this on many an occasions. With a huge line to women’s and no one in the men’s room.

      1. turningheads*

        I AM dismissive of her.

        It’s not worth causing conflict over because, as my grandma said, “sh*t happens”, so there is really no way for a manager to prevent the smell.

        I never defended making a mess in the washroom. It grosses me out too when the toilet seats are dirty.

        I think messes are something that the letter writer should discuss discreetly with the offenders. She sounds like an adult, so she should handle it like one by simply discussing the problem with the person.

        Managers are far too busy in most workplaces to give the bathrooms an inspection and smell test after each use.

        It’s unreasonable to expect one to keep track of that.

          1. LadyPhoenix*

            Especially geneder resentment.

            Us ladies can be pretty pissed at men who hog our assigned bathrooms is they monopolize time, supplies, and cleaniness.

            Also adds a case of sexism because they expect US to clean everything.

        1. Où est la bibliothèque*

          It’s not at all unreasonable for a firm instruction to keep bathrooms clean and to be considerate of a particular gender’s needs to come from a manager.

          “Suck it up and deal with it yourself” is not being a good manager. Aand is frankly being kind of a judgmental and heartless human being.)

          1. kittymommy*

            “Suck it up and deal with it yourself” is not being a good manager.

            Seriously. This is a transfer of your duties as a manger. Managerial duties are not always (or ever) fun, sometimes they’re super-uncomfortable, but if the men on this staff are acting like toddlers and only wanting to “poo-poo in the girl’s bathroom” than a colleague trying to have an adult conversation with them is useless (and it seems has already been attempted). Time for the CEO/CFO to suck it up and put on his big-bot pants.

          2. Hills to Die on*

            Such an odd reaction to the letter. It’s your job to manage your staff, especially when they are being so childish. As your grandmother says –sh*t happens, so go deal with it. It’s your job as the manager.

        2. Natalie*

          Wait, how is she supposed to know who is making a mess unless she is inspecting the bathroom after every use?

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Exactly! So, the LW should make it her new job to spend all day standing outside the restroom so that every time someone leaves, she can run in and inspect it?

          2. turningheads*

            She seems to know who the culprits are.

            The management should not be expected to give the room a smell test and an inspection after each use.

            The only solution is to have the rooms cleaned more frequently.

            1. MuseumChick*

              You may want to try reading the letter again. I’m getting the sense you missed a good deal of information about this situation.

            2. Cat Fan*

              Management should not be expected to do those things, but individual employees should? You expect a woman at work to follow you out of the bathroom and say, hey John come back and wipe your pee off the seat please?

            3. Micromanagered*

              The only solution is to have the rooms cleaned more frequently.

              You’re contradicting yourself here. You say this is too minor to bother management with, but who do you think arranges things like how often the cleaning company comes? (Management!)

          3. Blue*

            And it’s multiple people. Based on what she’s said here, more men do this than there are women in the company. Expecting one woman without any particular authority to take responsibility for training these men on how to behave like considerate adults is 1) pretty insulting and 2) plain unrealistic – they will absolutely blow her (or one of her friends, since she doesn’t work there anymore) off.

        3. Lance*

          Yes, shit happens. But when it happens all the time, there’s probably an issue warranting something more than just ‘deal with it’.

          Also, they’re not expecting constant policing; they’re requesting that bathrooms be reasonably accessible for use, not ‘one bathroom’s a giant mess and lacks toilet paper, and the other is being hogged’.

        4. Bee*

          I am impressed that you are able to magically divine which person peed on the seat confidently enough to confront them.

        5. Katelyn*

          If you can point out where she asked for that I think there would be fewer people saying that your response was unkind. I think you are taking personal past history and reading it into the letter in a way that isn’t there. As noted, she doesn’t even work at the location anymore and is looking for constructive advice to give to her friends who are still dealing with a lack of access to their designated washroom.

        6. Myrin*

          Hmm. I’m not a fan of that attitude towards managing people – when a problem is as severe and pervasive as it seems here, often it’s indeed best for an authority figure to step in -, but I don’ think we can see eye to eye on that.

        7. LadyPhoenix*

          If your response to someone who has to LEAVE WORK to use the bathroom because some douchebag is monopolizing the restroom is to “Get over it”, then you are a terrible manager and I sympathize with the people who work for your heartless being.

          May everytime YOU go to the restroom, you will have no toilet paper and your skirt/pants be soaked in toilet water.

        8. my two cents*

          naw man, it’s not petty at all…though your outrage seems reeeeeeally disproportionate! Bathrooms are kind of the minimally-mandated creature comfort of a working environment – it’s a Big Deal when your staff cannot even relieve themselves comfortably at regular intervals.

          These guys are going well out of their way to sully the other bathroom, as opposed to ‘their own’. It’s a weird power/control thing, and the women are unable to get them back out of even the smallest of women-only spaces. These guys aren’t in ‘need’ of the women’s bathroom, they simply choose to do it because they “can”. Even the CEO thinks it’s OK to continue using the ladies’ restroom after the female staff spoke up.

          Honestly, I think the best solution for the women remaining at that office (OP already moved on) is to put out freebie feminine hygiene products in each of the stalls or near the sinks. I’d give it 2 business days, max, before some dude complained about tampons in the women’s restroom.

          1. LadyPhoenix*

            The fact the CEO usedit speaks volumes about how this isn’t just a “bathroom” thing, this is a sexism thing. Men are dominantinf the bathrooms and demanding the women clean up—and if any woman gets “uppity”, then the CEO will join in.

            I betcha the eating area/fridge is a mess too and only the female coworker clean up (no cleaning staff for that area).

            This is just a warning flag that this place is toxic to women and if YOU can’t see that… well… expect a lawsuit in your future because that means you’re blind the the more insideous stuff happening underneathe.

        9. Iris Eyes*

          Managers however do have standing to say that 30 minute bathroom breaks are excessive, they do have an interest in doing what they can to prevent employees from having to leave work just to use the restroom.

          I’d say this is a major productivity concern for a Manager. That’s a lot of time they are paying people to poop also to clean up after other people. Not knowing what people are paid but generally the janitorial staff isn’t paid quite as well as the office staff. Why are they ok with paying staff to clean/stock the bathroom?

          It is totally reasonable to expect a manager to care about and address this widespread (not just a few individuals) issue.

          Unfortunately sometimes otherwise competent adults need to be trained and held accountable on not acting like jerks.

          1. Liane*

            “Managers however do have standing to say that 30 minute bathroom breaks are excessive”

            Yup. So, turningheads, what are you going to say when your boss gives you a sh–y review (or puts you on a PIP), because she’s PO’d at you for letting your department’s productivity go down the toilet because you permit your pet reports to take 30 minutes breaks? “But Boss–you are SO petty!”

            1. Micromanagered*

              when your boss gives you a sh–y review….letting your department’s productivity go down the toilet

              I see what you’re doing here lol ;)

        10. CommanderBanana*

          I think being dismissive and snarky about something that’s bothering your employees is a GREAT way to manage!

          Hahaha just kidding, I assume at some point we’ll see a letter about you here.

        11. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Your comment (and follow-ups) have been crazy rude, lack empathy, misrepresent OP’s frustration, and make aggressive, gendered and unnecessary personal attacks on OP and other women who share her frustration. None of that is helpful, it’s unlikely to get anyone to agree with you (even if they might agree with your core message), and it alienates letter writers and readers.

          Please reconsider how you frame your feedback.

        12. Common Welsh Green*

          Au contraire, my dear turningheads. It is actually quite easy to control bathroom odours. It’s called a Courtesy Flush. The key word here is “courtesy”, which is one of the most basic keystones of a civilized society. Cleaning up after yourself instead of expecting the magic potty fairies to make everything clean again seems pretty basic grown up behavior to me.

        13. Smarty Boots*

          If every or almost every guy is leaving a gross mess, then it’s unreasonable for the OP to have to sit down with every guy and discreetly talk. In addition, the CEO already told the guys to not make a disgusting mess. Why should the OP have to repeat that message? OP is not asking for the management to sniff the ladies room all day long; OP is asking management to address a legitimate problem, which is that the majority of the employees are making a disgusting mess in the bathrooms. It’s disrespectful to the other employees, makes it hard for other employees to use the toilet and/or makes it necessary for SOME of the employees (all of whom are one gender, so that’s a problem in itself) to clean the bathroom.

          Yes, it IS the manager’s responsibility to make sure that all employees are treated respectfully, that all employees follow minimum standards of behavior, and that facilities such as bathrooms are used appropriately and kept in good order. That’s NOT the OP’s responsibility.

        14. GreenDoor*

          “Managers are far too busy in most workplaces to give the bathrooms an inspection and smell test after each use.
          It’s unreasonable to expect one to keep track of that.”

          Yet here you are, turningheads, expecting the *OP* to “discuss directly with the offenders.” You don’t think your employees are also too busy to have to chase coworkers down and ask them to clean up after themselves or to refrain from having the $10 burrito lunch special every day?

        15. Tessa Ryan*

          Turningheads, being dismissive as a manager is not something to be proud of. You should try to see the situation from another person’s perspective. Just because it only affects the minority of people in an office doesn’t mean it isn’t worth addressing.

    3. DC*

      This is unfair to the letterwriter- they clearly said they don’t work there anymore, and they did speak to someone about it repeatedly while there. As it wasn’t working, they are now looking at ways to improve the situation. I think they’re handling this in the best way that can be expected.

    4. Kes*

      I don’t think it’s petty to object to the guys deliberately monopolizing the washroom labelled as the women’s room when they know they’re going to take a long time and smell up the place – ie, when they don’t want it to happen in their own bathroom.

      Also, half an hour is a long time to have to wait to use the bathroom if you need to go.

    5. Seacalliope*

      Is anything actually more petty than pooping in a place that is specifically delimited for use by other people? It is literally how animals assert dominance. So no, the letter writer is not petty. The men of the office are.

      1. LizM*

        This is what gets me – that this is a assertion of dominance. This is the only place in the office specificly for women, and men are literally dumping on it.

        This isn’t about micromanaging individual employees’ bathroom habits, it’s about managing the overall office environment. Managers should step in when a group of employees are treating another group with utter disrespect, especially when it’s gender based.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          They certainly should! Too few just look at one side and neglect to put themselves in another person’s position. It helps to know why someone is upset—who wants to be disrespected? That manager really isn’t listening or getting it at all.

    6. Roxy Heart*

      And I’m rolling my eyes at your dismissiveness. Having to deal with a smelly, messy bathroom in let’s say a shopping center is expected. But I think it’s reasonable to expect better bathroom etiquette in a professional setting. Also, how are the women in the office supposed to confront every bathroom destroyer unless someone watches the door all day?

      I think a temporary solution would be to store a box of Clorox Wipes and Poo-Pourri in each bathroom with a cheeky note.

    7. Où est la bibliothèque*

      You wouldn’t do your job as a manager to help improve your employees’ comfort but you think they should track down a mess-maker to ask them to clean up after themselves? Aren’t you special and courageous.

      Please accept this internet eyeroll.

        1. LadyPhoenix*

          So turningheads is essentially telling their employees that it is THEIR job to be managers without manager’s pay.


    8. Psyche*

      Wow. That’s uncalled for. I feel sorry for people who work for you. You are very dismissive, and it sounds like you make it habit to be dismissive and condescending when you hear complaints. The main problem that the letter writer had was not the smell. It was the fact that she had to choose between unreasonable wait time for the women’s room (because the men are using it) or using a very dirty bathroom (because the men pee on the seat an do not clean it). That is an actual problem and not “petty”. Some problems do not have an easy fix, or sometimes they cannot be fixed. That does not make the problem petty.

      1. MuseumChick*

        Reminds me of the LW who created an exclusive culture on her team that lead to one employee being singled out and leaving. That LW didn’t understand why what they did was wrong and was shocked when upper management found out and fired them.

    9. Letter Writer*

      Ok, the smell sucks and all but it isn’t my main complaint. And none of us ladies sit in direct eyeline of the restroom (nor would we want to) where we could easily watch the comings and goings of everyone. I have zero intention of stopping my work in the middle of the day to try and keep track of who is going in what restroom. That would be ridiculous.

      I didn’t complain to my boss that it was too smelly or something like that. Only that we tried to keep our restroom clean and it was being monopolized by other people who do not contribute to that, who in fact actively are counterproductive to that, and that when I need to use the restroom I’m not able to. I think it’s reasonable to ask that I have access to a clean restroom. Bathrooms will smell sometimes, however the women’s room gets to be the stinky one on a regular basis because it’s being used specifically as the place to take a dump. I think that’s objectively ridiculous.

      1. Où est la bibliothèque*

        And you are 100% right. The women are getting the short end of the stick in at least three ways, by my count.

        1) the clean bathroom ostensibly assigned to them often being unavailable

        2) their efforts in keeping it clean being undermined

        3) the men making both bathrooms gross in different ways (poop smell in one, pee seats in the other).

      2. Bagpuss*

        If the CEO won’t pay for more regular cleaning or step up to make the men take their turn in keeping the place clean, would another option be to ask for keys to women’s bathroom and issuer them only to the female staff? It feels petty as, as you say, there are a lot more men and unisex rooms make way more sense, but if they can’t or won’t clear up after themselves then maybe restricting access is the way to go. It would have the benefit that it has minimal cost for the company, and if the men complain they can be told that it is because the men were leaving the women’s room in a mess and not clearing up after themselves.

        second option (unpleasant in the short term) is to stop doing anything to clear up the women’s room. Take you own paper (and soap, if necessary!) in each time. It may trigger complaints from the men which, given the dynamic of the office, might be more effective in getting the cleaners in more frequently

    10. OhGee*

      NAH. It’s on management to make sure the work environment is pleasant for their employees. You have the power to set reasonable policies, whether that means making sure a deodorizing spray is stocked in each bathroom or deciding the expense of a daily cleaning is worth your staff’s happiness. This is exactly the kind of thing that SHOULDN’T be left to individual staff members to deal with — it can make work relationships much worse. You’re not going to please everyone all the time, but belittling people because they want the bathrooms they use all day to be clean and not too stinky is pretty crummy.

    11. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      I don’t see where the LW is afraid of confrontation.
      The LW told the CEO that there is a problem.
      The CEO said that he would address it.
      The CEO used the women’s restroom, for his half hour break.
      LW again addressed CEO. Coming out of the bathroom.
      I really don’t see a fear of confrontation.
      And I really think if men use the bathroom because “there’s is in use” and women have no where to go, that’s not petty.

    12. epi*

      This reply and your follow-ups make you sound like a terrible manager, and no picnic as a person. You don’t even seem to have understood the letter, yet you feel free to insult the writer about issues arising entirely from your lack of comprehension. From the sound of it, you are casually rude, abusive, and sexist towards people whom you have power over in real life, as well.

      The way you say you treat others, and the way you address people here, is offensive to people who try to behave with kindness and respect towards others. It’s certainly not good advice, or a good moral example for anyone to follow. If this is representative of your usual attitude and behavior towards others, you need to do some serious work on your character.

    13. Cat Fan*

      Based on your lack of reading comprehension, general attitude in this thread, and your own explanation of your management style, I assume you have high turnover in your department, if you even are really a manager.

    14. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      When I play The Sims, I have to manage bathroom time and cleanliness or else the Sims throw fits and become unhappy.

      I don’t know why you think this would be different for a bunch of humans. Hell, even families have to manage bathroom time!

    15. General Ginger*

      Wow. Did you read the OP’s letter? OP isn’t afraid of confrontation, nor should she spend her time trying to catch bathroom perps. Nobody’s asking the manager to be the potty police, they’re asking the manager to manage. Plus, there is a difference between “oh no, the bathroom smells like a bathroom” and “wow, my coworkers are really inconsiderate about leaving bathroom smells.”

  9. Zona the Great*

    Nope. Someone just brought up bathrooms in the weekend thread. I worked in a place that had gendered bathrooms but the culture of the place meant the men used the women’s room as there were also only three women there. But the women NEVER used the men’s room because their’s was disgusting. When they used ours, it was covered in urine almost to the point that it seemed they were doing it on purpose (why is there pee on the side of the toilet?).

    It starts contributing to a negative workplace. It sucks holding it in and risking a UTI. While female and other sit-pee-ers sometimes have to deal with hover-pee, the issue of male urine not making it in the bowl seems widespread.

    If this were me, I’d start knocking loudly and often. Men will eventually start associating pooping in the women’s room with getting loudly interrupted and perhaps they will stop. Be Garth Algar from Wayne’s World. “I’d like to go to the bathroom please! In this century…”.

    1. Cat Fan*

      I actually think this is a great idea. Do not be shy about it. Another idea is to have a CEO start putting people on bathroom cleaning duty on the days that the cleaning people do not come in. Everyone gets assigned a day to keep the bathrooms clean. Anyone who protests or says the ladies are making a big deal out of it should answer the question, why are you unable or unwilling to keep the bathroom clean?

      1. LJay*

        No way.

        This is a job, not a college dorm.

        I’m not participating in a chore chart.

        I am not a janitor. I am not cleaning up someone else’s urine.

        People need to clean up their own messes and be held accountable for doing so, or they need to get the cleaning crew in there more frequently.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I might suggest that every time you enter the women’s bathroom and find pee or poop on the seat, toilet, wall, etc., you go to the CEO’s office to alert him that the bathroom needs to be cleaned because someone peed on seat, and then stand there expectantly waiting.

      Every time.

      (also be sure there are supplies in each bathroom that people can use to clean up after themselves. And extra TP either on rolls already, or in a stash)

  10. iglwif*

    I’m always baffled by singleton washrooms designated by gender. Why??

    As Alison says, what y’all functionally have are 2 all-gender washrooms, and to me it makes most sense to officially designate them that way — and provide all the same amenities in both, including emergency sanitary supplies.

    … and then have the cleaning folks in more often, because what you DON’T want is for the women in the office to start having to keep *two* washrooms clean between visits by the cleaners while the dudes in the office continue to make consequence-free messes.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      A local restaurant wanted to do generic bathrooms, but the town’s codes forbade it. Not sure why, my guess it went back to a time when you had to make sure to have designated bathrooms so that both men and women had facilities/at least equal numbers of facilities/whatever and there was no gender-neutral option written into the code, so it was rejected.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        Yeah I didn’t really get it either but then I was reminded that not a half century ago the US had race designated bathrooms too. Apparently we have ISSUES with where we poop.

        1. DrivingOn9*

          When there were no designated restrooms for women that essentially meant women had to stay home. Women fought to have restrooms outside the home. It was a legit battle. Not exactly the same thing as racism.

          1. Iris Eyes*

            I’m not sure I get your point? That sexism is worse than racism? I’m just saying, people are strangely concerned with where they defecate and who else may or may not have used said facilities.

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            Except that POC had to fight for restrooms out in public too. When all the public toilets in an area were “white only” then it was racist.

      2. iglwif*

        Huh. Yeah, I guess if it’s literally illegal to designate a “1-hole” washroom gender-neutral, that’s a fight not every small company has the resources to take on!

        That said, in THIS case, nobody is enforcing the gender segregation in any meaningful way anyway. Either doing that (by, e.g., issuing keys to the women’s washroom to women employees only and keeping it locked at all times) or de-gendering both washrooms would be more fair and more functional than the current situation…

  11. Ashley*

    They are cleaned ONCE A WEEK?? Maybe I’m just spoiled because I work in an office tower, but our bathrooms (a total of 6 stalls between the men and women’s for roughly staff of 50ish) are cleaned twice PER DAY. I think that the best solution in this case is to advocate for more frequent cleaning. As someone commented above… why can’t people just be normal??

    1. Natalie*

      Right? The bathrooms in our smallest commercial office buildings were cleaned nightly, and in the bigger buildings they were cleaned at night and we had a daytime cleaner that would restock paper products and deal with any messes.

      Twenty people sharing two single-person bathrooms is definitely enough usage to warrant more frequent cleaning.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Exactly. The combined use of the restrooms is probably 60x (or more) per day, or 300x per week. Someone is going to dribble on the seat or sit too far back at least once or twice. All men and women don’t need to be disgusting to ruin the bathroom. It only takes once.

      In my HOME we have 3 people using 4 toilets part-time, and people would probably think we were gross if we didn’t clean them once a week, or at minimum every two weeks when my cleaners come, and that is a much lower volume of use than this office.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yeah, once a week is not sanitary or reasonable. At a minimum this needs to be once a day, and ideally it should be cleaned twice a day.

    4. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      Same. Once a week blows my mind? How is that possible? The stalls are out of toilet paper by the end of the day, even with refilling.

    5. General Ginger*

      IDK, I work with about 15 people, and our restrooms are cleaned once every two weeks. They’re fine. We did have an issue a while ago, but the gross bathroom habits person no longer works here, so it’s ceased to be an issue.

    6. Lizzy May*

      This. I do a thorough scrubbing twice a week at home and there is one of me and I spend half of my day at work. I cannot imagine having a bathroom shared by 20 people cleaned only once a week. Disgusting.

    7. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

      Yeah – there’s ~15ish of us and we have 2 unisex bathroom stalls and they are cleaned every day. We’ve honestly never had any issues.

    8. Friday afternoon fever*

      Hmm it’s super chill that your bathrooms are cleaned twice per day but at my last job they were cleaned twice a month and it actually was… not terrible.

      Would we all have appreciated more frequent cleaning? Yep. Were any of us furious / disgusted / up in arms about it? No, because nobody was a jerk about their bathroom use.

    9. Lavender Menace*

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I work at a large well-resourced company and our bathrooms are cleaned once or twice a day. I’d understand maybe not that at a smaller company but I would expect 2-3 times a week at LEAST as a good baseline for cleaning communally used bathrooms.

    10. ronda*

      it is normal for people not to want to clean up after someone else….. so once you have one person not cleaning….. you have most people not cleaning.

  12. Amber Rose*

    Uh, do we work together?

    Just kidding, I know we don’t. But we did have this exact problem. Worse in some ways because the women had a sort of shared stockpile of female specific products under our sink and a specific receptacle for used products, and not having access to them when needed was frustrating.

    Sadly, we never did figure it out and then we moved, so all I have to offer is solidarity that this sucks, and the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that plastering the walls with feminine napkins and glitter may discourage them.

  13. Llamas at Law*

    Can you imagine the uproar if a woman forgot to flush a used tampon down the toilet, or if one was laying on top of the trash in the men’s room? I’m not necessarily advocating such behavior but it is the closest equivalent of theirs that I can think of.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Oh god….please do not flush tampons down the toilet!

      No but I always wondered the same thing. What if we just perioded all over the toilet seat?

      1. Kuododi*

        Oh GACK…. I am having traumatic reactions….When I was in undergraduate there was a “drive-by bleeder” who would leave the same toilet stall looking like a crime scene complete with multiple used sanitary products in the dorm bathroom where I was living at the time. The other residents and I quickly figured out we could set the calendar by when this disaster showed up each month however the RA nor anyone else in authority were able to stop what was happening. EEESH!!!

    2. fposte*

      That’s interesting, because my first reaction is that this isn’t equivalent–that both sexes poop, the men aren’t doing anything that the women don’t do, and pooping in the men’s room is the corollary. But maybe some of the frustration here is about the male entitlement to space, period, and that’s why people are going to a gendered response like tampons.

      1. Kelly AF*

        Pooping is gender-neutral, but it seems (at least in this office) as though the pooping-adjacent behavior is not (eg taking 30 minutes, not tidying up the bathroom, not replacing supplies, not being mindful of reducing odor, etc).

        1. Dobermom*

          I’m just here to say that I’m going to be adding “popping-adjacent behavior” into my vocabulary.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I think the visible tampon in the trash was meant to be a sally in response to the pee on the toilet seat and other assorted messiness (not in response to the pooping).

        … but it’s still not an equivalent, because pee on the toilet is something that should be cleaned up, while a tampon in the trash is the result of cleaning happening.

      3. Friday afternoon fever*

        I think it’s about more specifically the male entitlement to using women’s space for less desirable activities to keep those activities out of their own bathroom.

    3. CmdrShepard4ever*

      What a used tampon in the toilet!!!! That is horrifying, only because you should almost never flush tampons down the toilet they should go in the trash.

      1. Llamas at Law*

        Absolutely agreed, but this is one behavior that I see often (unfortunately- our toilets frequently back up because of it) that happens in women’s restrooms that would “gross out” men as well. Sadly many men are horrified by the thought of our monthly bleeding.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        What? I’ve always flushed tampons down the toilet, I thought you were supposed to? (Unless I see a sign in the bathroom that says otherwise because of bad plumbing or whatever).

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Nope! Generally, nothing that doesn’t break down in water (like toilet paper) should go down the toilet. Not even contact lenses!

        2. CheeryO*

          Noo, please don’t. They’re bad for plumbing, period (heh), regardless of whether you’re on septic or public sewer.

        3. Book Badger*

          You should never flush tampons down the toilet. Tampons, unlike toilet paper, don’t disintegrate in water, so they will clog septic tanks and wastewater pipes. Anything that isn’t paper or waste should NEVER be flushed – that includes cardboard applicators and the tampon itself. You should always use the trash can provided for hygiene products, regardless of whether you use tampons or pads.

          While we’re at it: “flushable” wet wipes are technically “flushable” in the same way that poisonous mushrooms are technically “edible.” Just because they might physically go down doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.

        4. ArtsNerd*

          To be fair to the flushers, we were lied to about this in the past. I haven’t checked packaging recently, but it used to EXPLICITLY recommend flushing.

          Side note: I wince when I use the toilet in majority-cis-dude spaces and there’s no liner of any kind on the trash can. One day soon, they’re realllllly going to regret that.

            1. General Ginger*

              Given the number of men who routinely don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve started using men’s rooms this year after a lifetime of women’s, and I think it’s easier to count the guys who do wash their hands.

          1. Millenial Lizard Person*

            YES. Put a liner in your trash can, dudes!! (I actually carry little plastic baggies in my supply of pads/tampons for just this case. But they might leak!)

          2. SweetTooth*

            Ahh I would legitimately avoid going to my husband’s apartment that week of the month back in our early days of dating because he didn’t use a bag in his bathroom trash can and I was not ready to have that conversation!

          3. Claire*

            “Lied to” only in the way that people marketing a specific product will use whatever language necessary to sell a product. See also “all natural”, “organic”, “healthy”, etc. Things marketed as “fat-free” probably don’t get specific about how much sugar it contains to make up for the lack of fat. Or vice versa. You haven’t been lied to, you’ve been marketed to.

    4. Dankar*

      Maybe a bit off-topic, but I feel like I’m doing a service here. DO NOT FLUSH ANY FEMALE SANITARY PRODUCTS DOWN THE TOILET. This is literally one of the most difficult issues they run into at the wastewater treatment plants. (A family member managed one for years.)

      And if you’re not on city sewer, they can do a ton of damage to your pipes and septic, too. Just don’t do it.

      1. Amber Rose*

        The $600 bill our condo board received from a plumber this last summer would like to remind everyone that if you flush tampons and they build up in the line, it can be rather expensive to have the sewer line snaked.

        Also it’s horrifyingly gross and upsetting to have sewage back up into your building.

      2. SarahKay*

        Seconded hard!
        We weren’t on mains sewers, and Dad warned us that if he ever had to clear a blockage from our septic tank and it turned out to be a used sanitary product then we would have to clean the next blockage. I saw how unpleasant a job it was, and for sure made sure I was never in the position of carelessly causing such a blockage.

  14. Shark Whisperer*

    There was just an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia about this too! I guess it’s a weirdly common problem.

    1. kittymommy*

      OMG there was!! I forgot about it. Yeah, even more than The Office (& Creed), if an office is behaving in any way similar to It’s Always Sunny, thre are many wrong decisions being made.

  15. nuqotw*

    My inner child wants to camp the bathroom and when some guy comes out yell for the whole office to hear “WHY ARE YOU IN THE WOMEN’S BATHROOM?!” But maybe they are beyond public shame.

  16. Kelly AF*

    Try shaming them. Get an airhorn and follow them around after they leave the bathroom, loudly emitting 2-second bursts at unpredictable intervals.

    (Don’t do this.)

  17. Preggers*

    My old office was the exact opposite of this. However, in our case we only had one man and he was out of the office a lot. And the women’s restroom was next to my office. Literally my chair on one side of the wall, toilet on the other side. The only reason they used the men’s restroom was because it was further down the hall and they didn’t want me to smell them do a #2.

    I don’t see a problem with it if everyone is respectful of the bathroom, refilling tp, etc. But obviously this isn’t happening in OP’s case. Be glad you are gone.

    1. DecorativeCacti*

      I sit in a corner/alcove type thing. On the other side of both walls are toilets. There used to be a hole in one of the walls where the smells got through. The smells have stopped, but the sounds… The sounds haven’t stopped.

  18. Four lights*

    You could stick a google home in there and after 10 minutes make it start playing “Never gonna give you up.” Ok, probably not the best idea.

    30 minutes is a lot, it’s likely most people are reading. Maybe a sign/ and or email notice reminding people “The bathroom is not a break room. Please do your business and then leave so others can use it.”

    1. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I think a workable alternative could be a motion sensor light in the bathroom. For me when the light turns off it serves as a gentle reminder to get off the pot. The only issue is that the sensor need to be able to be activated by a wave of the hand from the stall. One time a bathroom light turned off on me it made it almost pitch black, I could not for the life of me get it to turn back on.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        And make the motion more than 7 minutes before turning off (have been also stuck in a bathroom where not even going to the sink turned the light back on).

    2. GhostWriter*

      30 minutes struck me as a lot too. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’m never in the bathroom for more than a few minutes unless I have a stomach virus.

      Googled this a bit and apparently, when you have the urge to go, if you don’t get to a bathroom right away or are distracted (such as by reading on your phone) the stool backs up slightly into your colon and then it’s harder to go for a few hours. So using the bathroom as a time to do reading is probably a big part of it.

      1. SignalLost*

        Ahaha no. Every man I have ever known gets their business taken care of in five minutes. Then he hangs out in the bathroom for at least another 25 reading. Like, it’s not the reading that causes them to need the time; they just want the time. I will never understand why. If you want privacy, go to your room and close the door!

      1. planetmort*

        This is something I have never, ever, understood. I know several dudes who take 20-30 minutes to crap. I don’t get it, and honestly think it’s tremendously rude in a situation with shared bathroom facilities. It would be my biggest beef with this whole mishegas, honestly. If I’m having to drive home to pee, well something is seriously wrong.

  19. Anon From Here*

    I’m not a fan of the math here: 20 workers, 2 toilets, and 1 cleaning per week. This is illness just waiting to happen.

    I’d wonder if it doesn’t comply with local building codes, too.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      It’s OSHA compliant.

      As a general rule, one restroom is required for up to 15 employees, six facilities per 150 workers, and an additional fixture for every 40 employees beyond that. Additionally, bathrooms should be placed no further than a quarter mile from employees in all industries.

      I know this because we had our own bathroom drama here, where the women’s restroom on one floor was turned into a second men’s restroom (4 floors in the building) because the men felt they were waiting too long to use their bathrooms and there were many more men than women and we looked to see if it was legal.

    2. Coldbrewinacup*

      I work in a similar situation. 30 employees and 3 toilets. I looked it up, thinking it violated some law, especially since our building isn’t on city sewers and has a septic tank that will back up and put all toilets out of commission– but OSHA says it’s okay. Believe it or not. *eyeroll*

  20. Alex*

    I suggest that the bigger problem is that one of the bathrooms regualry runs out of toilet paper and that if both bathrooms were adequately stocked that most of the men wouldn’t choose to use the women’s but they can hardly use a bathroom without toilet paper for a number 2.

    1. Four lights*

      Yes. Maybe the office needs to assign someone to restock the toilet paper daily. (I don’t say clean, because that’s a whole different and gross job.)

    2. blackcat*

      Yeah, I’m betting they use the women’s for #2 because the seat is cleaner and they know it will have toilet paper, maybe with an extra dose of not wanting to occupy the higher-traffic mens room for a long time (but 30 minutes? WTF?).
      The real solution is that the bathrooms both get cleaned more often, including stocking toilet paper, and make them both gender neutral.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        I saw 30 minutes and I was like – maybe the women need to start bringing in good tasting bran muffins with lots of prunes in them. ;)

      2. General Ginger*

        I mean, per the OP’s letter, the women’s room is cleaner and has toilet paper, because the women who use it replace the toilet paper when they run out. The men could do that, but they choose not to.

        1. Elsajeni*

          I get that, but I think it’s ambiguous whether that means “we make the minimal effort to get a fresh roll out of the well-stocked cabinet and put it on the holder” or “we go to more trouble than we should have to, take turns bringing in extra packages of toilet paper, etc.” Obviously, either of those is a level of effort that the men could also make, and it’s crappy to take advantage of other people having made the effort instead of making the same effort in your own bathroom. But I think it’s a legit point that this could be a situation where the higher-traffic restroom is just running out of supplies quicker than the lower-traffic one, or where some of the men think that’s what’s happening and don’t realize that actually their coworkers bought that Charmin with their own money for their own use, and that just stepping up the frequency of cleaning and restocking, which is probably easier than changing the hearts and minds of the rogue poopers, might make a difference.

  21. Temperance*

    I think women should start using the men’s restroom and leaving tampon wrappers etc. on the floor. Fight fire with fire.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I like this. In fact, I’d suggest you all save up a few tampon wrappers and adhesive-strip covers from sanitary pads as well.

      First start leaving those in your own bathroom, and see if it drives them away.

        1. Dankar*

          Since the industry is convinced we won’t pads unless they’re pastel (best if it’s pink!) and scented, they’ll at least know it’s some sort of feminine product. If the tampon accouterments show up around the same time, I think they’ll be able to put two and two together.

  22. Where’s my coffee?*

    I feel bad for the women but also for the men who just want to go somewhere clean. Like it’s probably a handful of guys who make it gross and the other men don’t like it either. Sounds like the company needs more supplies and cleaning staff.

  23. puppies*

    Yes OP I agree with Allison. Your friends need to think of them as gender neutral bathrooms (even if that’s not exactly what they want) because that’s how they’re being used. So they should feel free to use the mens room (and stock it with tampons/maxi pads). Also, cleaning/stocking shared work bathrooms once/week is not nearly enough. Something like that should be once/day.

  24. Dandelion*

    We have a small office (it’s a two story home, upstairs is offices downstairs is event space). We have 9 staff plus a few interns around regularly. The irritating thing for our bathrooms is that we have one downstairs that is perfectly usable but people still stink up the upstairs one that is right next to the office kitchen and meeting room.

    Why? WHY? If you have to poop, just go downstairs. Why would you spend 20 min hogging the upstairs bathroom to poop? Go downstairs already!

  25. Psyche*

    The only thing I can think of is, have you tried knocking on the door when they are taking a while? Maybe knowing that someone is waiting will make them hurry up a bit. Or even knocking every 5 minutes so that it isn’t a relaxing escape. I’m not saying pound on the door, but don’t let them claim obliviousness to the line.

    1. CheeryO*

      This was my thought. I’d give them a few minutes, then I’m knocking (and maybe even waiting outside the door if I’m feeling obnoxious).

  26. Murphy*

    I feel like you almost have to institute a process where there’s a key to the women’s bathroom that you have to ask somebody for before you can enter it. It seems like somebody actually has to police the use of this bathroom which is ridiculous for adults.

    1. Anne of Green Gables*

      Yes, this occurred to me as a possibility. Could the women’s restroom be keyed and the women given keys? I’d stop there, but you could have a spare key tht could be signed out or whatever, that would have the bonus of giving you a log of offenders.

  27. Dick Butkis*

    Guys just poop longer. I don’t know how you women can shoot a look in 2.2 seconds but guys like to appreciate the go. 30mins is high but 10-15 is normal.

        1. pleaset*

          I thought it was “drop a deuce.”

          Also, I’m a guy, and if it generally takes you a long time – like 10-15 minutes – and you don’t have specific health problems, start eating better. Seriously. Eat a salad or some fruit with meals. Have oats for breakfast. Something.

          “They’re called vegetables and you’re supposed to eat them on a regular basis. If it takes you more than a couple minutes to have a bowel movement, then your eating habits need a makeover.”

          Yup. And ketchup is not a vegetable.

    1. ZSD*

      I just Googled “are men more constipated than women” and learned that in fact, constipation affects women more than men. So I don’t get why men seem to need to sit there for forever. If 10-15 minutes is normal for you, eat more fiber.

    2. LadyPhoenix*

      Considering your username and your crappy—explanations—I doubt that.

      Also, that long on the clock (minus disabilities, obviously) is no excuse unless it is food poisoning.

    3. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Y’all need to eat more fiber or something. If you poop once a day, that’s 100 hours a year on the toilet!

    4. Autumnheart*

      They’re called vegetables and you’re supposed to eat them on a regular basis. If it takes you more than a couple minutes to have a bowel movement, then your eating habits need a makeover.

    5. Birch*

      Don’t ask me how I know this, but studies have been done and the mammal average is 12 seconds. That of course presumes no digestive illnesses, the ability to go when you need to, and a good diet. Sounds like a lot of people, especially men, need to take a look at their diets…. and probably also get off the phone games.

          1. Birch*

            This article was probably cited in the podcast where I learned that fun fact. Thanks!

            Seriously though humans. It’s not good for your butt health to strain that long. Your legs are probably already in the wrong position (sitting instead of squatting), causing more pressure on your poor bunched-up bowels and risking hemorrhoids, and your leg circulation is not going great in that position either. Eat some fiber already and stay hydrated.

  28. Goya de la Mancha*

    Add poo-pourrii to your office supply order.

    Seriously. You’re not going to change the behavior of the 20+ guys. If they’re using yours for #2, at least hopefully they are leaving the place relatively clean other then the smell? If they were using the “men’s” bathroom for longer periods, then the men who just have to pee will go into the women’s bathroom and pee all over the seat (because apparently aim and clean up are too hard?)

    1. EddieSherbert*

      If you can get them to use it, poo-pourri is pretty darn wonderful. We have it in our office bathrooms :)

    2. TootsNYC*

      but you have to count on them to actually use it. I’d put money on the idea that they won’t–they’ll think it’s “unmanly” or “too fiddly” or something.

    3. Fluff*

      Invoice the CEO for Poopouri costs monthly?

      We had a similar problem with eternal poopers (both men and women) because sometimes the loo is the only place you can go and catch a stinking break. We had such problems with the air, people started sneaking in those smelly candles and someone plopped a needlestiched poem on the toilet wall, stocked with candles and matches:
      “If you need to take a Sh*t, the candle must be lit.”

      Eventually someone realized the fire hazard and sprung for loads of potpourri. And put info graphics on the wall about e.coli on cellphones and tablets.

  29. OhGee*

    This is rude and gross but…it sounds like this office doesn’t have enough bathrooms. I’ve literally never had to wait to use a bathroom at my current job, and at my old job (2 single-use bathrooms for a 10-person office) waits of more than a minute or two were very rare. Also: poop spray, y’all.

  30. Asenath*

    The problem is really the cleaning – and it sounds like that’s not going to be upgraded. There’s far too little of it. Everyone using both bathrooms might help a bit – in my area. that style of single room toilet is, in practice, used by both sexes whether they’re in a building where they’re labeled “toilet” or in one where they’re labeled “male” and “female”, although the frequency might vary. That is, if they’re labelled by gender, people generally use the “other ” one only when their own is occupied.

    While spreading usage out more fairly between the two toilets might equalize the stink, without more cleaning, won’t reduce it as much as desired.

    One of the worst places I ever lived was a kind of communal apartment for students, which I shared with males of the “Pee outside the toilet and never clean anything” persuasion. I was too young and naive to complain – after all, I’d signed a contract to live there through the academic year, so what could I do? Now, I know what I could have done, but I’m not too hard on my younger self..

    I had no idea whatsoever that some women wouldn’t do #2 if someone else was in a public toilet (even if they were outside the cubicle), that some people use their feet to flush even a public toilet with a low handle (maybe I’m just not flexible enough for that any more), and can’t imagine what someone finds to do for half an hour in a toilet – unless they have some kind of serious medical issues. This is all very educational.

  31. Anon For Always*

    I have no advice, I can only commiserate. Where I work the women’s restrooms went from being staff only restrooms to being shared with some tenants and their clients, and it resulted in the restrooms being passable to be disgusting. When we complained and asked that the restrooms get cleaned daily (they are cleaned twice a week), our request was denied and instead signs went up. Nothing changed. I’ve given up.

  32. CatCat*

    I’d ask that a lock be put on the women’s restroom and the women be given the key. “Women do not have adequate restroom facilities here. I’ve had to go HOME to use the facilities before because men were occupying the women’s room. I request that the women’s facilities be locked and only women be given the keys. That should resolve the problem.”

    That won’t actually resolve the other problems (inadequate cleaning and stocking, unsanitary people), but it will make those other problems the men’s problems. And then, given what it sounds like this place is like, maybe those problems will then be addressed.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      I feel like this is probably the best solution.

      I am also zero percent surprised that a bunch of tech bros are ruining everything.

      1. Mia Rose*

        Ditto…I just posted my experience with tech bros down below. And I know plenty of people in tech, as well as live with one. Why are they so weird about the restrooms?

    2. EddieSherbert*

      +100 agree. I have a female friend who works construction – they get port-a-potties on job sites. In winter. In the Midwest. Her and the one other woman onsite were driving to the nearest gas station to pee until they finally got a new port-a-potty with a lock for the women’s bathroom!

    3. General Ginger*

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to have 20 people have to share one bathroom when only 3 share the other.

      1. CatCat*

        It’s also not reasonable to have men using the women’s restroom for extended periods of time when the men’s restroom is available (they just want to use the ladies’ because it is cleaner).

        The OP has described the culture as a sexist one, lead from the top. As such, the ladies’ complaints are basically being ignored. That is also not reasonable.

        So a solution which makes the bathroom situation the men’s problem instead of the women’s problem is not ideal, but it may be the only one that will realistically fix the problem for the women, and actually get the problem ultimately resolved for everyone. I’d be interested to know how this turns out once the men start complaining there is a problem.

        1. General Ginger*

          Absolutely no argument from me to the rest of your points, but I do think having 2 gender-specific bathrooms for such a large numbers disparity is part of the problem.

          1. General Ginger*

            Argh, hit post too soon. Of course, the numbers disparity in itself is also part of the problem, see: sexist office culture in this office.

    4. Megan*

      Given the stated ratios, I think it is men who do not have adequate facilities (or would not if they were actually restricted to just one restroom).

  33. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Gentlemen of the world. If you are incapable of not getting urine all over everything when you’re standing to pee, then you should not be standing to pee. I don’t care how convenient it is. (I will make an exception for children, but in that case I would expect the parent/caretaker to be cleaning up.)

    Also, if it actually takes you 30 minutes to poop, then you need to discuss that with a doctor. If you’re just wasting time, then you should be working long hours to make up for the extra long breaks you’re taking. And go waste time elsewhere, because someone may actually NEED to go.

    1. Goya de la Mancha*

      “If you are incapable of not getting urine all over everything when you’re standing to pee, then you should not be standing to pee.”

      This! While the cleaning schedule needs to be addressed, upgrading that schedule to nightly/3x weekly will not help with the current urine on the toilet and set problem. The only way to solve that is to give men three options

      1) don’t miss the bowl if you’re standing
      2) sit so you don’t miss the bowl at all
      3) stand, miss and clorox wipe that shit up when you do miss!

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Urinals are not common outside of commercial spaces, at least in the US. Doesn’t solve the problem. Learn to aim better (at your home, where you have to deal with the consequences of missing), or sit down.

        1. General Ginger*

          Yeah, if there’s a puddle all around the toilet, you can be sure there’s one in front of the urinal, as well.

          1. Dwight*

            From experience the mess around a toilet is much worse than a urinal. And you don’t even make contact with a urinal, ever. Much better than those filthy toilets.

      2. Goya de la Mancha*

        I love how major (possibly, depending on set-up) construction is your solution to something that already has a “free” solution. You must be a contractor or in government ;)

        1. TootsNYC*

          right? Installing a urinal is not a simple task.

          Plus–it won’t fix the problem; urinals can splash too.

          1. Dwight*

            Most office buildings I’ve worked in have them, and the cost is only a few thousand including installation and plumbing. It’s really silly to suggest I’m a contractor and somehow trying to drum up business. I’m an engineer in an unrelated field. I’ve never met any man that will pee sitting down. Aiming at the beginning is OK, but when you get to the last few drops, that’s where it gets messy. Toilet seats are gross at best, and most women I know agree and say they do the “squat” rather than sit on the seat, even if it appears clean.

  34. The Doctor*

    Do the 30-minute Potty Squatters not have WORK to do? Maybe their bosses should be told abput their extended breaks.

  35. CastIrony*

    Men invading the women’s restrooms makes the feminist in me angry. I feel like it’s a power move to dominate women who are made to be waiting!

    Then again, the gender-neutral restrooms and more regular cleaning sounds awesome!

  36. 8DaysAWeek*

    Not knowing the full office dynamic, can a lock be installed and 3 keys created? Or if the restroom can be locked and you still decided to share with the men, at least you know who is requesting the key and can follow up accordingly.

  37. tbone 91*

    I’m male and that’s just flat out rude that guys in her office will go in there and tear it up in the women’s restroom. As I guy I’d be totally embarrassed to do that. Hell, I feel bad about going into the guys restroom and dropping a deuce, especially if I know it’s going to be a bad one. I practice the “drop one, flush one” aka “curtesy flush” rule when using a public bathroom.

    1. CristinaMariaCalabrese (do the mambo like-a crazy)*

      You are the hero that all offices need! Thank you for your service. :)

  38. Dance-y Reagan*

    I know “someone on The Office did this” is generally considered a reasonable metric for how not to behave IRL at work… but I can say without reservation that “this was an entire episode of It’s Always Sunny” is a sign that you absolutely should not do something IRL at work.

  39. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    Yeah the guys don’t want to sit on the disgusting men’s room toilet either. I’m envisioning hazmat level mess.

    I’d agree that knocking periodically is a good idea but chances are, the occupant won’t care.

    Women are from Venus and apparently men are from Uranus.

  40. I Work on a Hellmouth*

    This used to happen at my gym (it’s a small self-defense gym that wasn’t originally built to be a gym, and one of the class buildings just has a small single bathroom). It got pretty bad. I started loudly saying “Hey, someone didn’t flush! Who was the last person in the bathroom?” or “Hey, someone left the seat up with pee on the floor. The women don’t want to touch that and I’m sure the staff doesn’t want to clean someone else’s pee. Can the last person who was in there go fix that, please?” or “Hey Fergus! You left the seat up. Can you please go put it down? Thanks!” right before classes would start.

    I felt pretty obnoxious, but after about two weeks or this the bathroom stayed clean and the seat got put back down. So… no regrets.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      This is one of my complaints about CrossFit. There were two private stalls for anyone to use, but a couple of men would always go in there for 10 minutes before the Saturday morning class started.

      Then there was the time Dave didn’t use the bathroom and subsequently ripped one when we were doing some sort of seated medicine ball pass, and Mike could not stop laughing, and the pretty soon the whole class was literally rolling on the floor laughing for 5 minutes.

    2. General Ginger*

      You’re awesome. I really hope the Ferguses retained these lessons for outside the gym, too.

  41. Mia Rose*

    Wow, this post brought back some memories. We had a situation at my last workplace, where we had a shared building, with retail businesses on the lower floor, and tech companies on the top floors. Each floor had its own single-stall men’s and women’s restrooms, and it wasn’t a really huge building. For some odd reason, guys from the tech companies would come downstairs and use the women’s restroom to do their #2 business. I kid you not. They were gross and careless, and it made the whole back area smell, particularly since it was an old building and the owner was too cheap to replace the old plumbing system. Because of this, I always had to trot upstairs to use the much-cleaner women’s restroom on the top floors. It was even worse, as we had customers using the restrooms, and some of them were horrified when men came out of the women’s restroom when the men’s restroom was standing empty. They didn’t always want to use the empty men’s restroom, and many of our customers were older and had a hard time going up the stairs to use the other women’s restrooms. I also once brought in a bottle of hand soap for our use, since cleaning supplies were not often replaced in time. Someone stole it within a day. I found it…guess where? In the second floor women’s restroom. Except, they already had a fairly full container of soap available. I didn’t even try to figure that one out. I brought it back down and made sure it stayed.

    That was just the restroom wars. I have some stories to tell about the propped-open back door and security issues.

    1. tbone 91*

      Funny story at one of my former jobs. I was a guard at a hi-rise building in a building that had 42 plus floors, several different tenants/companies working there and to get from floor to floor the workers had to scan their badges in the elevators or stairwells. On the low rise side(floor 17 and below, mostly State employees), floors 5 and 2 were server rooms and bathrooms for each gender. There were no offices on those floors at all, just server rooms. Women’s had at least 3 or 4 stalls, men’s had 2 stalls and 2 urinals. Floor 5 was restricted access so only people who worked in those server rooms had access to that floor. Floor 2 was an “open floor” so whoever had access on the low rise side had access to it.

      At our control desk we could monitor where the elevators were stopping, which stairwells were being opened so we could tell who was going to what floor, when, etc. We had a running joke called “somebody’s dropping #2 on floor 2”. We noticed that women tenants in particular were notorious for going to floor 2 to use the bathroom when they were going to stink it up, honestly there was no other reason for them to be there as there were no State offices or server rooms on that floor. For some reason the male State employees just didn’t care, they had no shame in their game, lol. They’d go tear it up in whatever floor they worked on.

      Property mgt. decided to make floor 2 a restricted access floor so the only tenants who could use their badges to get there were the tech companies with server rooms there. Of course they did this without giving any of the State employees a heads up(since they had no real reason to be on that floor to begin with) and a lot of them found out the hard way that the open access to bathrooms on floor number 2 was over. They’d come to us complaining “my badge isn’t working” so of course we’d ask them which floor they were trying to get to. They’d tell us floor 2 and we’d go “hmm that’s weird, there aren’t any State offices on that floor”. After about a month of this they all got the hint and stopped trying it.

  42. Heynonniemouse*

    Since you say your boss won’t increase the cleaning rota then I can only see two things working.

    1. As other people have suggested, put a lock on the women’s bathroom and give a key to the women only. This probably won’t fly since the CEO is cheap and likes using the nice clean women’s bathroom himself.

    2. If you can’t get that, stop restocking paper in the women’s bathroom. Keep paper in your desk/purse and take it with you. Take a wipe and clean the seat before you use it, if you like, but don’t do any major cleaning. That makes the lack of cleaning/stocking into an issue that also affects the men, and so has a small chance of the CEO suddenly accepting that there might be a problem.

    1. Cat Fan*

      After reading the many funny and helpful suggestions here, this is really the only realistic solution. Get a large cosmetic bag or an old purse or something and keep your own toilet paper, spray, and cleaning wipes in it. Take it with you every time you go. Let the guys fend for themselves.

      1. Goya de la Mancha*

        and take a 30 minute pee break because you have do do all the disinfecting before you sit down :'(

  43. More cleaning needed*

    I work in a building with a couple dozen people. We have four bathrooms. They get cleaned FIVE TIMES a week and are still kinda gross at the end of the day. I can’t imagine what it would be like with half the bathrooms and only a weekly cleaning. Ewwwwww!

  44. Everybody poops, that doesn't mean everyone has to smell it.*

    At my old office, the horrible HR lady was visiting. She’s the most un-HR person imaginable – makes bad/insulting jokes, takes sides, etc. She once made the “eww how horrible” face after I got married and told her my new last name when she was handing out insurance packets. ANYWAY, she was visiting and came out of the bathroom and said “Oh how stinky! Ew!” I just looked at her deadpanned and said “I’m sorry, my Crohn’s Disease is acting up” (true statement). It didn’t solve the problem of her being a terrible person, the look on her face of embarrassment was worth it.

    1. restingbutchface*

      Oh my gosh, you POOPED in a BATHROOM? What is wrong with you, who raised you??

      Seriously though, that woman was ridiculous. You were very kind to her.

    2. Nerdling*

      We had a single one-stall bathroom at our old office, with about eight employees – three female, five male. It sat right in the center of the space. The facilities person from our main office came down one time, took a look around, and made a point of telling us how she would NEVER put up with a setup like that.

      She was there that day because we were about two years overdue for a new facility which would, by new standards, have two bathrooms. Why were we overdue? Because she’d been putting off the process. But hey, at least she had tons of bathrooms to choose from at the palace that is our main office so she didn’t have to put up with our single sh—y one!

  45. ElmyraDuff*

    I graduated with an English degree during the Recession, so I’ve worked my fair share of retail and food service jobs, most of which involved cleaning public bathrooms. Men’s rooms are always much, much cleaner than women’s rooms. I almost always use the one designated for men if it’s a one room with a locking door situation. You don’t see too many blood sacrifices in there.

    1. Bunnies it must be Bunnies!*

      Huh, exact opposite in my experience. I too have worked a lot of retail and food service jobs, in several different states. Men’s bathrooms were the worst and I’ve never, ever came across period blood anywhere but in the trash cans designated for that purpose.

      1. ElmyraDuff*

        Man. You’re lucky. At Starbucks particularly, we’d have to clean up a bloody mess at least three times a week.

        1. Bunnies it must be Bunnies!*

          Well, seeing as how I regularly had to clean poop off the stall walls in the men’s bathroom at the grocery store, not sure how lucky I was!

          1. ElmyraDuff*

            I can’t recall any terrible poop messes at any of the coffee shops I worked at, BUT the same Starbucks where women were sacrificing goats had a mystery shaver in the men’s room. Someone shaved in the sink and left their hair everywhere every. sing.e day. for a month and we were never able to figure out who it was.

      2. LCL*

        My experience has been what the person upthread mentioned. (Not going to go back and look.) It’s the restroom that gets the heaviest usage is the worst, because people. Though it is true there was definitely more blood in the women’s, but cleaning up blood and such never bothered me. It was the #2 that always grossed me out.

    2. Phoenix Programmer*

      I see this on the Internet from time to time and it’s the opposite of my experience – but I worked at one of those places that had a sensible trash can for menstrual products and not that good awful shared brown paper bag with rusted edges that many public us places are oddly fond of.

      The men’s rooms of all the places I worked – hotels, fast food, frequently had to on the floor. There was always urin on the walls. Always. And I’ve even fmoun seen on the stall doors from time to time. Very gross to me!

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        Yeesh not sure what is up with my keyboard today.

        Pee on floors and walls.
        Semen in the stall doors.
        TP strewn everywhere.

        I worked fast food and at a hotel front desk. The places I worked hard real trash cans in each stall though so mentrual products everywhere was never a problem.

    3. General Ginger*

      Some people are just gross. I’ve worked retail. I’ve seen plenty of non-gendered poop in places where there definitely wasn’t supposed to be poop.

  46. AKchic*

    Ladies, it’s time to stop being nice. It’s time to fight back. I’ve read enough of the comments to know that this isn’t just about being the only free bathroom to use. It’s not. This is “it’s a clean bathroom” and they want to hide.

    30 minutes is not a poop. It’s a “convenient excuse for an extra break”. Nobody with healthy bowels needs 30 minutes to evacuate aforementioned bowels. Not on the daily.

    Your bathroom is being used because it is clean, stocked, and CONVENIENT. Stop making it so. Remove all toilet paper out of the bathroom and each woman bring in a roll with her when she goes to the restroom, and Bring It Out with her when she is done.
    Do the absolute bare minimum of sanitary cleaning (wiping down the seat when you need it) and don’t empty the trash all the time. Stop doing the cleaning crew’s job. You are women, you are admin staff, but you aren’t the damned cleaning crew or maids. Stop doing extra emotional and cleaning labor for pigs.
    Ask if you can get keys and LOCK the door.

    Finally – stop doing the potty dance. If all women are accounted for – KNOCK on the door. It’s the women’s restroom. If no woman is currently in there and it is occupied for more than 10 minutes – KNOCK. Pretend as if you are concerned there is a potential emergency behind that door and you want to ensure the time waster behind it is “okay”, “conscious” and “breathing”. You (or whoever is knocking) want verbal confirmation of their consciousness. No more peaceful 30+ minute poops for these bathroom hijackers.

    Unfortunately, until the office culture changes, the underlying symptoms won’t change, so my ultimate recommendation is to find different jobs.

    1. Crivens! (Formerly Katniss)*

      I love all of this. And absolutely FILL the women’s room with evidence of sanitary products. A dispenser, a basket with them, specific basket for it in the stall, maybe some posters. Go all out. If there’s a sexism problem in this office, and the LW has said there is, use their own idiocy against them.

      1. Rainbow Roses*

        They may not care. If the women stop stocking the TP, they may even use the sanitary products to make their own TP! After all, they have 30 minute with nothing else to occupy their time (other than the obvious). LOL.

      2. GhostWriter*

        I saw this suggested a couple times. Do men really find sanitary products so offensive and gross that they’d stop using a bathroom just to avoid getting a glimpse of them? It’s hard for me to imagine them being a deterrent.

        1. Lizzy May*

          No. I know plenty of men who aren’t bothered by pads or tampons. I even have a friend whose husband boils her diva cup for her.

          But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Venn diagram of men who can’t clean up after themselves in the bathroom and men who are grossed out by tampons is a circle.

    2. Elle Kay*

      Yes to all of this.
      The first thing that struck me with this letter is that the women are *cleaning the bathroom*. That is NOT YOUR JOB. That is the cleaning crew’s job. Stop cleaning, take the TP with you, knock-knock-knock- on the door and make it clear that you *know* there are men in there.

      1. not a chance*

        Also, when you are done in the bathroom and taking your Tp with you, sprinkle some water on the seat so the men will be disgusted and leave.

    3. EddieSherbert*

      Yes, yes, yes! Especially to knocking on the door. Give them like 10 minutes. Then knock every 5 minutes until that darn door opens!! Kindly express your concern for them about how long it took when they come out. Make it awkward!

      1. GhostWriter*

        I like the idea of knocking (and being loud and insistent about it) and acting concerned when they come out (using their name and being loud so everyone knows would be even better). I can see embarrassing them being a good way to discourage them from continuing the behavior.

        But then I’d feel really bad if someone had some sort of chronic condition and they genuinely couldn’t help needing the bathroom for 30 minutes.

        So I dunno. :/

        1. EddieSherbert*

          Yeah, I also thought of that- There is a chance that someone has a condition and whenever the men’s room is occupied or they’re closer to the women’s bathroom and they need to go *NOW* or have an accident,they take the woman’s room.

          But I also I sincerely doubt there are several of the men in the office that have conditions that only flare up when the men’s bathroom is already occupied… Maybe focus on Alison’s suggestions related to the cleanliness and other options before diving into this one. And then just proceed with caution?

    4. AKchic*

      Oh, FYI – I have a great edible fake blood recipe that looks just like the real thing. And yes, I have “additions” to make it look and feel like clotted menstruation blood. A little bit of that on the toilet seat (and floor) may keep a few of the culprits out of there.

  47. Gumption*

    I’m so annoyed on your and your ex co-workers’ behalf!

    One solution? Put a lock on the door and it’s accessible only by key. Which only the ladies have.

    Once a week cleaning is just not enough for cleaning with that many staffer. Ugh.

  48. Grg*

    I suggest hanging a giant picture of women pointing and laughing contemptuously right in eyeline view when sitting on the toilet.

  49. LadiesRoomMonitorLizard*

    Since the men monopolizing the Lafies room are messing it up by peeing on the seat and women have to sit down to use the toilet; it should be up to management to make sure they have a sanitary place to eliminate. Also, since women need to have a sanitary place to handle their periods, it is necessary. I handled this at a place with about the same ratio men to women. We install signs, a lock on the women’s room and since we were a warehouse directed ALL truckers to the gents. Try dealing with otr truckers who all seem to have explosive diarrhea sometime. I just wanted to set it on fire then. My sympathies to the OP’s friends.

  50. irene adler*

    I say – get a lock installed to the women’s bathroom. Distribute the keys to the three women employees.
    And give one key to the cleaning crew with instructions not to loan it out or make copies.

    Keep the women’s bathroom locked at all times.

  51. Rainbow Roses*

    Let others said, tell the other two women not to restock the TP. All three can keep a bag with a roll of TP and seat covers at your desks.

    It doesn’t solve all the problems of course, especially the mess. However, don’t make it easy on the men. Let them experience the discovery of no TP. Let them sit in filth. Don’t clean.

  52. Alli525*

    This was an issue at my last job – when we expanded & remodelled the office, we went from 2 gender-neutral RRs to 4, and after much pressure from the few women in the office (male- and asshole-dominated industry) who were sick of seeing piss all over the seats and floor, one of those 4 was designated women-only. But the higher-ups didn’t care, and started using the women’s RR… until the CEO’s admin had had ENOUGH and took the CEO to task about the fact that he wasn’t enforcing the rules and was therefore contributing to women feeling even more devalued than usual. The CFO was the biggest offender and mostly stopped, to the best of my knowledge, after that.

  53. Book Badger*

    I’m a cis woman with IBS and often spend up to 20 minutes in the bathroom due to diarrhea or constipation. I am always highly embarrassed that it takes me that long and I wouldn’t do it regularly if I could avoid it. I have no idea what the men’s problem is other than a complete lack of respect for the women’s basic biological needs.

    Frankly, I’d be tempted to have the women tag-team it. Keep the bathroom constantly occupied. As soon as one woman clears out, another takes her place. Set up laptops in there. Turn it into a second office.

    1. Goya de la Mancha*

      Outside of health issues, I feel like this is what some of those guys must be doing! They probably use it for their own little nap/private office space…assuming they don’t already have private offices for that.

  54. FaintlyMacabre*

    At an old workplace, there was a similar problem- single occupant restrooms labeled men and women, but where there were about 50 men and 5 women. Dudes kept befouling the ladies restroom, so management slapped a lock on it and only allowed women to have the key. It solved one problem, created others.

    People. People are the reason why we can’t have nice things.

  55. restingbutchface*

    Huh. When I was an office cleaner, the women’s toilets were always more disgusting than the men’s.

    This is not super useful but I never get to use things I learnt on that job!

    1. Mary Connell*

      Huh. When I was an office cleaner (years ago as a young teenager) the men’s restroom was the disgusting one. They had janitorial once a week. Not enough.

  56. Rumbakalao*

    I…am baffled that people aren’t making a bigger deal out of this. If you have clearly labelled gendered bathroom- specifically not gender-neutral or without any signs- then why in the world would people be going into the opposite bathroom? I would be so uncomfortable I would be making a beeline for HR the first time I saw this happen.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Rainbow Roses*

      I think it’s a single bathroom that only one person can be in, and not a large room with stalls. So even though the door is marked “women,” I don’t think it’s not a big deal for men to use it since nobody else can get in. (Cleanliness is a separate issue.)

  57. RUKiddingMe*

    “If you give him an either/or choice (get the men out of there, or get us more frequent cleanings), he might pick one of those, and either would be an improvement.”

    Unless he decides that the women need to do the cleaning because…vaginas.

  58. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

    OK, I haven’t waded through all 300+ comments, so I apologise if this has already been mentioned, but it sounds like the ladies in the office are inadvertantly training the men that their bathroom is the nicer place to be by keeping it stocked with toilet paper and doing top up cleaning.

    So, my suggestion is retrain them – keep toilet paper in your desk drawer for your personal use only. Same for some disposible wipes that can be used after you (and only you) use the stall and sink. You’re still keeping your comfort levels on a personal basis, but denying it to the men who will no longer have a “nicer” bathroom to go poop in. If there is no advantage to using the ladies loo, they’ll stop using it. Or, when it becomes apparent that BOTH bathrooms are “mysteriously” out of paper by Wednesday, maybe the CEO will arrange for more regular clearning.

    Not saying it’s a perfect solution, but it might be worth a try.

    1. LadyPhoenix*

      The only thing I keep are the lysol wipes… they are NOT for personal use so it wouldn’t be my fault if the men were dumb enough to use those.

  59. Bexoneill*

    In some cultures the woman sit on the tank and out their feet. I have been to some countries and couldn’t understand the footprints on the seat. It wasn’t until I walked into a stall and found a cleaner doing it. The irony!

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I suspect that they are actually squatting, because if they’re sitting on the tank, where exactly will the urine or feces go? (And most commercial toilets don’t have tanks.) And that’s a better physical posture for elimination, fwiw.

  60. JJ*

    I had this problem at work with gender neutral bathrooms. So so I brought it up at a team meeting. The guys were so embarassed. Next day, we had gender specific restrooms and as the only female on my team, it pretty much means I got my own bathroom.

  61. Another Day, Another Dollar*

    Seriously, 17 people using one bathroom means the bathroom needs more than a once a week cleaning.

    1. AKchic*

      Then they are attempting to rack up a high score, because it shouldn’t take *that* long for a solo mission.

    2. Ego Chamber*

      I was confused about the Astroglide ad in the sidebar, but now I’m terrified of how smart the internet has gotten. Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet. o_o

  62. Phoenix Programmer*

    I work in an office of 1-2 men and about 50 women.

    1) we don’t use the men’s room
    2) we definitely don’t use it soley for pooping!
    3) if the two men wanted us to do something different on their bathroom it would beentioned at the staff meeting and we would meet their needd.

    It’s not that hard.

  63. mcr-red*

    I’ve got an idea. Everytime they go in your bathroom, someone get up and go talk to them. Like, knock knock knock, “Hey Fergus? I need to ask you a question about the TPS reports. Fergus? Fergus!”
    They are likely going to say, “Give me a minute.” Give them around 30 seconds, then start in again.
    “Fergus, I really need to talk to you about the TPS reports. Fergus!”
    Keep this up until they come out, and I can about guarantee they will come out pretty quickly. And NEVER do it when they use their own bathroom.

    If you can’t think of anything work-related to legitimately ask them, go the bathroom and knock on the door and tell them you need to use the bathroom NOW. If they tell you to use the men’s, make sure the door is shut to the men’s and tell them someone’s in there. Keep talking to them is the key part of the equation: “I’ve really got to use the bathroom now, Fergus! I’ve really got to go Fergus! Fergus, come on!”

    Every guy I know HATES it when people talk to them through the bathroom door. Whereas I, as a mom, am used to people just walking right in to tell me about the latest episode of Paw Patrol or to announce that they want a snack, etc.

    1. LCL*

      Do your best Sheldon Cooper impersonation! Alternate knock-kn0ck-knock and rapidly calling their name. I couldn’t really do that, but it’s fun to think about. I don’t think this is solvable because the CEO thinks it’s OK.

  64. Bookartist*

    I used to think me carrying nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer, and cleaning every surface my bare skin could possibly touch was just the result of being an overprotective mother and cleaning every stall my child would use. Now, I wonder if I’ve protected myself enough!

  65. LCL*

    OK, one last suggestion. If the wi-fi coverage is good in the restroom area, perhaps it can be adjusted so it is not so good. So people will have to use their own minutes to surf. Because phone blockers are illegal, y’all, but it is legal to fine tune your wifi.

  66. Ann O'Nemity*

    At the root of this is a management problem.

    (1) Once a week restroom cleaning = inadequate budget for cleaning
    (2) 17 people supposed to share 1 toilet = inadequate # of toilets for men
    (3) Horrible smell = inadequate fan

    The above three results in women cleaning and stocking their restroom, men using the women’s restroom for #2 (because it’s available, clean, and stocked), and people going offsite to find a toilet they can comfortably use.

    And now we have AAM commenters suggesting the women strike back by deliberately making their restroom inhospitable to men, vandalism, calling out men specifically, etc! Yikes. I say put this problem back on management to fix. And since men and women both are victims of numbers 1-3 above, it’s even better if they join forces and go to management together.

  67. CristinaMariaCalabrese (do the mambo like-a crazy)*

    I once worked in a building that had a men’s single room bathroom and a women’s single room bathroom on each floor. Our floor had way more women than men, which meant that the men got to have a more “private” bathroom experience. The boss on our floor suggested that for numbers fairness, we make both bathrooms gender neutral, and everyone agreed. Well a month later we women were in open revolt, and we forced them to change it back to a men’s room and a women’s room. We all realized that we’d much rather have to wait to pee than to share a bathroom with the men. Oh the things we saw. **shudder** What a horrible social experiment that was! And our bathrooms were all cleaned daily.

  68. Laurelma01!*

    Don’t use foot to flush. Someone at work broke the handle doing that. Flooded the hall & office next door. Person who did it took off.

    Suggestion for women: get two boxes of tampons. Put one in each bathroom in plain view. Do not flush bloody tampons. Purchase most nasty cologne and use it as a freshener.

  69. Bowserkitty*

    I immediately thought of Creed so I am glad Alison linked to that scene, it is hilarious.

    OP I am so sorry for your friends, this is horrible. As usual I don’t have any advice but hope there have been some good comments. This is a horrible situation -_-

  70. Anoncorporate*

    I agree – these are gender-neutral bathrooms from now on. Now instill some rules: people must clean up after themselves, use the bathroom for no more than 10 minutes, and arrange for the cleaning crew to come in more often.


  71. JulieCanCan*


    Seriously, I’d want to come up with some devious-yet-totally-necessary plan to get the point across to the piglets doing this.

    It’s rude and disrespectful and disgusting in so many different ways.

    I personally don’t think I’d be able to keep my mouth shut if I witnessed a dude walking out of the women’s room door and realized he made a stink. I would have to say something- and do something.

    So nasty!!

  72. Redhead13*

    I haven’t read all 683 comments so forgive me…
    2 questions:
    A) Why are they using the women’s bathrooms? Lack of stall doors? Cleanliness?… seems to me if that was addressed, the problem may go away.
    B) Petition a capital project to create similar bathrooms so the issue doesn’t exist…or be creative enough to create an environment that they don’t want to do their “business” there. (Sorry reverse psychology or passive/aggressive approach, you choose)….

    Either way, even the CEO using it really shows that he doesn’t support your concerns and all you are getting is lip service. Sorry.

    1. selena81*

      a: probably because in their mind it was a ‘sitting down toilet’ and their own toilet was the ‘urinoir’.

      b: someone above suggested female hygiene products as a means of scaring away dudes

  73. SD*

    I worked in a place where this happened often (to the point of seeing some male colleagues sauntering in with a cup of coffee and a newspaper/”men’s magazine” tucked under their arm on a daily basis). Asking them not to do it didn’t work, so our solution was to put a combination lock on the door and only women were given the code. A few men (the coffee drinkers, mainly) made an uproar, claiming gender inequality, which was shut down by the boss offering to put a combination lock on the door to the men’s bathroom, which they declined.

      1. selena81*

        coffee on the toilet? yuck, what weird person would want to mix food and toilet-use.
        (well, okay my mom actually does that, but even my brothers think she is *gross*)

  74. Beth*

    Put a lock on the women’s bathroom.
    Issue keys to the women ONLY. Remind them not to share.
    (Ideally, put the keys on bright pink fluffy girly keychains that the men will be embarrassed to have in their possession.)

  75. Database Developer Dude*

    I don’t have a dog in the bathroom fight, but I’m incredibly amused at the idea that it’s only the men who stink while pooping……that’s so cute.

    1. Mad Woman*

      The OP said it the mess and pee on the seat that’s the real problem. As for the stink, it’s IS worse when someone is in there without flushing for 30 minutes. If men is OK with that kind of stink, why won’t they use the men’s room instead of waiting for the ladies’ room to get clean?

      So your condescending remark just makes YOU the one who look “cute.”

    2. selena81*

      the women’s room *will* stink if both genders use it to poop, while the men’s room is used only for #1

  76. IsThatWeird*

    Plot twist – I (a woman) use the men’s room to poop. It’s a single stall, and honestly the real reason I do it is that it’s closer to my office than the women’s room. But, it also makes me feel like I’m taking a subtle dig at the patriarchy. Gotta take those wins where you can get em, amiright? :)

Comments are closed.