Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Public Bathroom Etiquette

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

Disclaimer: Please read with caution.  This article is meant to be a funny satire.  The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the authors’ or Her Campus BC’s feelings towards or positions on any of the topics covered below. Thank you for your understanding.

Ever since I’ve come to college, my use of public bathrooms has increased exponentially. I guess you could call me a public bathroom connoisseur, because I mean I already do. And I believe it is my duty (or doody) to share with you all some simple rules of public bathroom etiquette.

1. Please do not answer your phone while on the toilet. I don’t care if you answer your phone on the toilet in the privacy of your own bathroom at home. In a public restroom it is not okay to carry a conversation while sitting on the porcelain throne. And I will tell you why: 1. It’s gross and obvious that you are playing with your phone on the toilet. Quietly text if you must. 2. There are people on line who at this point desperately need to go. Meanwhile, you’re talking to your mom about the spin class you went to yesterday. 3. I don’t want to hear it.

2. Please wash your hands. Okay so I know you don’t always feel like washing your hands but for the sake of social acceptance JUST DO IT! I don’t like to classify myself as a ‘germaphobe’ but when someone touches the doorknob with dirty hands, lines have been crossed.

3. The toilet is not an area for contemplation. We’ve all had those days where we just need 5-10 minutes to sit down and have no one talk to us. Public restrooms, however, are not the place to do this. You will understand what I’m talking about when you’re waiting on line of the two-stall bathroom on the fourth floor of O’Neill and there’s a “poop standoff” going on. Just use the ladies room and wander to a quiet corner of the library for some alone time.

4. Stare at your beauty from afar. You know I love admiring myself in the mirror. But when it’s rush hour and people need to use the bathroom, you need to take a step back and look at yourself from afar and be aware of people trying to walk in front of you.

5. Don’t knock twice. I can assure you everything is okay in there. One knock should be enough to see if there is someone in there and let him or her know you are waiting. If you keep knocking, it will only make the both of you annoyed.

6. Please flush. I hate that I actually have to say this but there’s nothing I hate more than being unpleasantly surprised in a public restroom. And I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve lost faith in humanity when walking into a stall with a “present” waiting for me. I don’t care how big or small the reminder is, flush however many times it takes for your prior presence to become unknown.

7. Talking to your friend from one stall to another is always a bad idea. Okay, I’ll admit I’m sort of guilty of this. But what happens when your so-called friend leaves you to the wolves and you start talking to a random person? I can assure you, I would not appreciate if a total stranger started asking me how my weekend went while I’m trying to go to the bathroom.

8. Don’t peek over the stall. A lot of times it’s fun to scare your friends. But things start to get out of hand when you accidently poke your head into the wrong stall. This happened to me once and I can tell you the unsuspecting victim was not amused.

At this point you might be thinking these few rules are so obvious. However you’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen these serious violations of public bathroom etiquette occur.


Photo Sources:










Meghan Gibbons is a double major in Communications and Political Science in her senior year at Boston College. Although originally from New Jersey, she is a huge fan of all Boston sports! Along with her at Boston College is her identical twin, who she always enjoys playing twin pranks with. Meghan is a huge foodie, book worm and beach bum