Following Senator Larry Craig's arrest for disorderly conduct in a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis airport, Grumpy would like to offer tips for the men out there who are not looking for sexual contact in a bathroom, but whose personal habits might inadvertently lead them to fall victim to a bathroom sting operation. Yes, we all know Sen. Craig is innocent (he said so, didn't he?); he just forgot some simple rules that may have prevented this whole sordid affair:
- Finding an open stall. This is where Sen. Craig initially went wrong. Never, never "look through the crack in the door" to see if the stall is occupied. Just walk up to each stall door and, if the door is closed, make a fist and bang hard (once only) on the door. If the door doesn't open and appears to be locked, and if a male voice yells "Occupied, you dumb shit!" move on to the next stall door. If the door opens, and is unoccupied, you may enter. Important note: If the door opens and the stall is occupied, move on to the next stall door anyway. Either the guy in the stall is a complete idiot and doesn't know how to lock the door, or ... well, you definitely don't want to go there. Move along.
- In the stall: Luggage position. So, you've got your roller bag in the stall with you (because you'd be a complete idiot to leave it outside the stall). Now, where do you put it? The officer who nabbed Sen. Craig said that Craig "placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door" and that his "experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall." C'mon, officer, where else is a guy supposed to put his bag? You've spent some time in those stalls. Surely you don't expect us to place our bags to the side? Is there any room other than directly in front, by the door, where you can park your roller bag?
- In the stall: Foot position. Guys, this is very important, so listen up. The side panels of the bathroom stall extend from the ceiling all the way to the floor. No, don't try to tell me that there's a gap at the bottom and that the top of the walls are only about 6-feet high. Listen very carefully: The walls of the bathroom stall extend from the ceiling to the floor. Period. Do not at any time allow your feet to cross the [imaginary] boundary of the stall side panels. If you have an extraordinarily wide stance while seated on the toilet (as, it seems, Sen. Craig does), start training yourself to keep your feet inside the boundaries of your own stall. Wandering feet are not good.
- In the stall: Hands. We all know how boring it can be sometimes when you're sitting on the toilet. What can you do while you're waiting for the event? Guys, this is important: Under no circumstances should you 1) pick up loose pieces of toilet paper from the floor, or 2) allow your hands to break the side panel barrier (see the previous item). First, you don't know where those loose pieces of toilet paper on the floor have been. Sure, you may have OCD and you may have a burning desire to clean the stall. Don't do it! The airport has people who are paid to clean the bathrooms; let them do it. Second, keep your hands to yourself. Don't "wave" at the guys in the stalls next to you—either above or under the side panels. If a guy next to you politely asks for some toilet paper because his stall has run out, you should fold up an adequate amount of TP and toss it over the side panel. Don't go under—that might result in hand-to-hand contact (and subsequent arrest).
- In the stall: Happy feet. Suppose you're a guy who's always listening to your I-Pod and you tap your feet—to the music—a lot. Or, no I-Pod, but you just move to your own beat and tap your feet a lot. In either case, you're going to have to learn not to tap your feet while you're sitting on the toilet. For obvious reasons.
- In the stall: Noises. This didn't come up during Sen. Craig's bust, but you should nevertheless pay heed. Excessive noise (like grunting and sighing) while you're in the stall could be misconstrued. You're not on the tennis court. It's best to be as quiet as you can.
- Exiting the stall. When you're finished, you should get the hell out of the bathroom as quickly as you can (don't forget to wash up first, though). Don't make eye contact with anyone else—especially if that person emerged from the stall next to yours immediately following your exit. If someone tries to engage you in a conversation, pretend that you only speak Lithuanian and get out quickly.
For more information, you can visit The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette.