Culture

Someone came in: better flush the toilet

Someone came in: better flush the toilet

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If you are a woman you know what the title of this diddy refers to. If you are a man you may be puzzled or you may be like my friend Hal that heard about it through the grapevine. One day, my friend Hal pulled me over in the workplace hallway and asked if he could bring up a sensitive subject. Well, being that I laugh at everything, I noted that of course he could. He then proceeded to ask me whether it was true that women immediately flush the toilet upon another person coming in the restroom. I pursed my lips for I was momentarily stumped. I could not say with an certainty whether such a claim was true. Now this was when I was working at a US Federal Agency. However, I had just been accepted into my Social Psychology Ph.D program giving me the impetus to start a scientific inquiry into the matter.

 

I then got a dog, named Milo who was the most precious thing in the world to me.  He would follow me everywhere, including the bathroom. As you may know, dogs like to follow their humans to the bathroom.  He would come and sit next on the floor and watch me do my hair, put my makeup on and so forth. He watched with grand curiosity.  He was a curious little thing always sniffing about and putting his head where he shouldn’t.  In writing my letter to him yesterday, in which I noted how much I missed him, i did wonder what he would say to me in return. For one, he would most definitely say “please send some more apple pie.”  He would probably inquire as to whether my little boy still cried like a baby.  He wouldn’t have to ask if I missed him since that is a pretty obvious answer. he might, though, ask me to explain teh bathroom thing. While he was free to come and go into the bathroom with me, as has my son done.  He may have wondered the same thing that my friend Hal wondered.  Milo was an astute dog and noticed that women seem to flush the toilet when someone else comes in.   A human that is….

 

And it is in that vein that I  now answer my friend (many years later, mind you) and my doggie.

 

I would say that 7 out of 10 times, a woman will indeed flush the toilet when another person enters the restroom. Let me count the ways in which this occurs. First off, there are times when women just sit on the toilet resting. At times, it can be head in hands lamenting the day’s work thus far or daydreaming of better days off to the side. Someone comes in and snaps one out of it. Thus, the immediate toilet flush. Second, there is the possibility that bowel voidance is occurring and the toilet flush noise will mask that sound. Yes, many women are embarrassed by the plopping sound. Thus, the immediate flush. Third, sometimes things are too quiet and a flush will alert the newcomer to the fact that someone is there. Wouldn’t want to overhear a conversation about yourself. Talk about awkward. Thus, the immediate flush. These seem to make sense all around, right?

There are the occasional toilet phobia sufferers out there. One woman in particular is so afraid of flushing a toilet by herself she needs other people around. There are those that actually flush the toilet before using it. One could possibly attribute this to shyness, fear of urine splatter from the previous person or the need to hear water running to stimulate the bladder. I’m not too sure I get it.

 

For whatever strange reason the world has concocted, there are phone applications that play the sound of a flushing toilet. Perhaps it was created to jolt upright women that are sitting too comfortably. Maybe its a new form of creating an environment of horror and spookiness. Or perhaps it is the modern-day version of the old “Sound Princess” (Otihime) device that used to be installed in Japanese women’s restrooms. Now they have cute pink portable versions thereof. I may just need to get me one of those just ad a fashion statement in itself.

 

To flush or not to flush that is the question to ponder when you hear the door creak, unless you hear a pitter patter of doggie feet.

 

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