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Monday, February 27, 2006

Urinal Etiquette

It's well-established that when a man enters a restroom he use the urinal farthest from the next man. Of course this is also done within reason. When using a trough at a sporting event you need to balance the amount of walking with the distance to the nearest man. But in a normal restroom environment, the goal is to maximize the distance from the closest man. This is well-established. But what happens when there are only 2 urinals?

In the restroom at my work there are 2 urinals and 3 stalls. Of the 2 urinals, 1 is normal size and one is a "little guy". These 2 urinals are separated by a divider. So what is the proper etiquette if one walks in and one of the urinals is in use? I contend that the proper etiquette is to first use an available urinal and move into a stall if both urinals are in use. However, my unscientific research suggests that people will use the normal urinal if it's open regardless of whether the "little guy" is in use. But people tend to choose the stall over the "little guy" if the normal urinal is in use.

Since there is a divider, I feel that people are overreacting when they turn down the "little guy" in favor of a stall. In fact, I sometimes choose the "little guy" over the normal guy. For me, that's the proper urinal etiquette. I may need to start enforcing this unspoken rule - we're human beings and should not act like animals.

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