There are two things we know we do in public bathrooms. We've even numbered them. But that's not all that goes on behind the stalls. A few recent studies, including the latest released this week, found that both men and women have some strange impulses during bathroom breaks. Go ahead and act surprised. We won't blow your cover.
1. We talk sh--. Figuratively, that is. 86 percent of people surveyed admitted they dish on everything from office gossip to sex lives while they're filling up the porcelain cup. Maybe the walled in privacy makes secrets feel more sacred, or maybe there's a safety in not making eye-contact while you dish on your co-workers.
2. We go for the middle stall. Nicholas Christenfeld, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, found that 60 percent of the used-up rolls of toilet paper came from the middle stalls, suggesting our favorite choice is dead center. His explanation? It saves us brainpower from making a serious decision of left or right. But let's be honest, when it comes to choosing a stall, it's all about which one feels least like a crime scene.
3. We sometimes don't wipe. If we're stuck without toilet paper, we'll still shy away from asking a fellow bathroom-breaker in the next stall for a square. Fifty-six percent surveyed said they don't like to ask. Despite the fact that we're eager to talk about last night's bedroom Olympics, we can't bring ourselves to ask about an issue at hand. What is that about? Considering spreading the TP wealth would entail a tissue passed from an unwashed hand, this sudden shyness may be more about self-preservation.
4. We eat in the bathroom. Hey, I didn't say it, that study did.
5. We engage in what I like to call the 'wait-a-thon.' Not surprisingly, 57 percent of us are disturbed listening to other people relieve themselves along side us. This may be why a public bathroom break can get so competitive. My own personal research suggests that as a result of the public discomfort, we engage in a turf war: who can wait the longest till the other person is forced to flush and leave. But if you find yourself with a fierce competitor, the tactics can be pretty passive-aggressive. Like lingering in front of the mirror just to spite the person in the stall. Or flushing multiple times with aggression, like a lion's low growl to protect his den from intruders. Bottom line, it's a jungle in them-there public bathrooms.
Got a secret bathroom habit to add to the list?