Feb 27 2011


Published by at 11:56 pm under Out and About With Molly

Greetings Cool People,

For this week’s blog, I had a mad desire to write an obituary for public restrooms. But let’s be realistic. We need them. So, in my picky fashion, I’ll just vent.

If you’re anything like me, then you know the awkwardness of being in a single-occupancy restroom and having someone knock on the door or jiggle the handle while you are using it. We’ve all had to yell out, “I’m in here,” or “Just a moment!” to a total stranger, and it’s not high on the fun list of life.

Being a person who tries to follow the golden rule, I never enjoy inflicting this kind of awkwardness on anyone else. I’m a “waiter.” No, not the food-serving kind — the person who politely waits outside the door only to watch someone else step right up to it, turn the handle, and go in. Isn’t that one of the most self-deprecating duh-you-moron moments you can have?

Why can’t all doors simply have signs like this? You know, just like those delightful little “Vacant” signs we’ve come to love on airplanes. I believe they are one of the reasons the skies are so friendly.

And this lovely door actually flashes when someone is inside, providing that someone remembers to properly secure the door. But my favorite part (not!) about this door is you need a code to get inside. Hello? I need to use the Ladies’ Room. Now. I don’t have the “password.” Will “911” open the freakin’ door?

One Sad Reason Ladies’ Rooms Are Messier Than Men’s Rooms:

When women see THIS:

Instead of THIS:

They will improvise and use toilet paper to create their own seat cover.

Using all of that paper to cover a seat results in this:

And a big mess on the floor.

I am never one to condone slobvitity. I’m a huge advocate of carrying one’s own supplies and respecting the space that we all must use.

I really appreciate stalls with broken locks. I enjoy having to extend my arm of choice and twisting myself into a soft pretzel just to hold the door shut. With that approach, when I am ready to stand, I love the challenge of having to quickly head butt the door to keep it shut because I need two hands free. As if that weren’t enough, I’m usually trying to hold onto my purse because there is no freakin’ hook! And sometimes, I’m treated the charming sound of automatic toilets continuously flushing because I’m not exiting the stall quickly enough.

In fancier restrooms, there are often attendants. These are the people who have a small storefront on the counter: gum, candy, mints, hairspray, etc. You don’t buy these items; you just leave a bigger tip when you take something. I always feel weird taking stuff.  To me, it feels like: “Hey, I just spent two dollars in the Ladies’ Room for a mint.”

But restroom attendants will make sure the bathroom is clean. That’s important. Not so important is the grand, hand-sweeping gesture they make to indicate the secret location of the sink when you emerge from the stall. After you have washed, the attendant will hand you two towels as if you are royalty, often with a nod of the head. With a polite smile, you lay a dollar in the tray, and hope that you don’t have to purchase any more towels that evening.

Truthfully, I can deal with public restrooms when I must. I cannot deal with Turkish toilets.

Don’t even get me started!

Yours in pickiness,


14 responses so far


  1. Bridgiton 28 Feb 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Loved it Molly! Anyone who has ever traveled with me, has heard me on more than one occasion state I hate public restrooms! Always have and always will!!
    Women certainly can have the stinkiest smells! When walking into a public restroom in a restaurant, doesn’t matter whether before or after the meal…the smell can either make me lose my appetite or lose my lunch! 😀
    Thanks for the laugh 2 day!

  2. Mollyon 28 Feb 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks for your funny thumbs up, Bridgit. You bring up an excellent point. There is a reason why you never see dogs or cats using public restrooms — their sense of smell is SO much better than ours. 🙂

  3. Toddon 28 Feb 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Molly, I think I would argue over whose bathrooms are messier. A lot of lower end men’s rooms you have to hold your breath before going in and I give thanks to God that I don’t have to sit down. On the rare occasions when I can’t wait and do have to sit down it reminds me of survival training and waiting to be interrogated. Lovely Rant otherwise! =)

  4. Mollyon 28 Feb 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Hello Todd:
    Thanks for stopping by with a very interesting perspective on men’s rooms. While I have never visited one, I can imagine that men do have their own issues with slobvitity and filth. Women, of course, always have to sit down, and you must admit, men’s rooms never have the long lines that women’s rooms do. Being a reporter, I do like to check things out for myself, but in this case, I’ll just take your most excellent word for it. Yours in PIckiness, Molly

  5. Tamara Lynnon 28 Feb 2011 at 6:13 pm


    I refused to use public restrooms for the longest time. I’m always concerned about the gross lil’ microscopic creatures hanging out on the doorhandles, faucets and of course toilets! Fortunately, I haven’t run across a Turkish toilet as of yet…

  6. Mollyon 28 Feb 2011 at 6:48 pm


    Take heart . . or not. Sadly, our own kitchen sinks are on the list of the germiest places. Airplane bathrooms are not know for being sanitary, but unfortunately, we are truly without options there.

    While this blog/rant is about public restrooms, I could have gone on about ATM buttons and those electronic pens you sign your name with after making credit card transactions. Really girlfriend, there should be hand-sanitizer and wipes in so many places. Supermarkets seem to be getting smart by providing wipes for shopping carts, but one thing I will never touch — and I LOVE to shop — are escalator handrails. OMG! The germy hands that touch those things fuh-reak me out!

    I’d better stop before I have a blog within a blog. Thanks so much for coming to visit again. YIP, Molly

  7. Dawn Kirbyon 28 Feb 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I think you’ve hit on every thought any woman anywhere has had. I’d rather keep a full bladder than use a public I’ve never had the pleasure of being in one with an attendant but I’d probably see ’em and turn right back around. I don’t need somebody else to watch/hear, depending on the circumstance, the contortionist show going on behind the door. Awesome post! Keep it up!!

  8. Mollyon 28 Feb 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Girlfriend, you are so right. I think many of us have trained our bladders to the breaking point! Public bathrooms — a complex subject for the rightfully picky! So glad you stopped by. YIP, Molly

  9. Leigh Annon 01 Mar 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Dear Molly —

    You are so, so right on! And what about those women who “forget”(or maybe don’t believe in?) washing their hands? What do you do when you are walking out behind one of them and she holds the door or in some other way touches an area that you must touch? It’s enough to make many of us recoil in horror, me thinks!

    Thanks for another great post! 🙂

  10. Mollyon 01 Mar 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Great point, Leigh Ann. For real, girlfriend, who wants to wash up only to have to touch the door handle on the way out? Many of us take an extra towel to cover the exit knob with, and then we’re left with no place to throw the towel — except somewhere on our person. Public restrooms are an endless source of frustration, and unfortunately, a necessity. Thanks for stopping by! YIP, Molly

  11. Janet Leeon 02 Mar 2011 at 11:32 am

    Hey Molly,

    I couldn’t agree more… store/restaurant owners normally wouldn’t think about it, but (good) restrooms are definitely an essential (I feel) to running a successful business!! Many wouldn’t think of mentioning restrooms in restaurant reviews, but when I wrote my reviews on yelp and mentioned if a place had a clean/horrible bathroom… I surprisingly got a lot of feedbacks on how the yelpers appreciated that note and that’s sometimes the deciding factor to go to that place or not.. wierd but so true!

    Your blog… LOVE IT!
    Thanks Molly!

  12. Mollyon 02 Mar 2011 at 12:58 pm


    You make a GREAT point, g/f. I’m so with you on the restaurant thing. If the ladies’ room is not well tended to, do we really want to know what’s cookin’ in the kitchen? Nope. Don’t think so! Thanks SO much for coming by to visit me again. And keep Yelping! YIP, Molly

  13. Jen Knoxon 06 Mar 2011 at 6:11 am

    Such a thought-provoking post, Molly. There’s a bar/restaurant here in San Antonio that would drive you crazy… It’s a one-room stall that has no door hand but only a scarf or broom handle (always something different) that you have to hold at an angle to keep the door shut while you go. I won’t mention the cleanliness of it.

    So, when are you coming to Texas to visit? 🙂

  14. Mollyon 06 Mar 2011 at 1:31 pm

    OMG, g/f. That bar must kick some butt for women to deal with that craziness. A friend of mine had been in a bathroom that sat in the middle of a restaurant and had clear glass on all sides. Once the handle was closed inside, the glass did some kind of steamy thing and you could see out but peeps couldn’t see in. Okay, listen, there is just nothing that ‘straunt’ could do for me to make me endure that kind of freakin’ craziness. Who could even use the toilet if it even looks like people are watching? I am quite sure it was not a woman who came up with (or approved) that brilliant idea! Thanks for stopping by again, g/f. YIP, Molly

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