Bathroom habits and stall selections: what does Mona Lisa know?

21 07 2010

Another office-related post… how could you have expected anything else?

I tried straightening the reproduction of the Mona Lisa that hangs in the ladies room again a day or two ago. Turns out I can’t – not because I’m weak, or because I lack interior decorating simple. Simply because it cannot be done unless you take the mechanism on the back and fix it.

See, the little metal hook-thingy on which it hangs has to be put on manually. Whoever did it didn’t do such a great job – if they did, I wouldn’t have to blog about it. Whose idea was it to put a reproduction in there, anyway? Is it supposed to be comforting? Does that it-slightly-looks-like-she’s-smiling-but-I’m-not-sure upward tilt playing at the corner(s) of her mouth serve as a kind of metaphor in such an environment? Or is it just comic relief – id est, it’s funny that she’s in there, because it’s like she’s giving commentary on your bathroom habits, and you’re not quite sure whether she’s being condescending or sympathetic?

Yip, these are the kind of thoughts that spring into my brain as I type out my blog entries.

Speaking of which (the ‘bathroom’, not my posts), is there a certain stall you prefer to occupy while at work or when you go to a shopping centre? It’s interesting to note – ‘interesting’, at least, to those people who conduct these kinds of studies – that most people prefer to pick the very first stall. Why, you ask? Well, a lot of people think that the first stall is usually the cleanest because, apparently, they further believe that it is the one used the least. This is drawn from the conclusion that most people assume that the first stall is the one everybody goes for first, although now I’m confusing myself, because if most people think others go there first, will they avoid it, hence actually making it the cleanest?

My head is spinning right now. Okay, so here goes: most people assume that others would choose the first stall, hence avoiding it, and because so many people avoid it, it is actually the cleanest. You know what? I’m not all too sure of that. My logic tells me that people are more likely to go for the closest stall, and I have noticed this when going to the loo in a shopping centre – and, yes, even at work! Every time I go to the ladies room the first stall is occupied…  that’s right: every time (!) …okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration… but 90% of the time, there’s someone in there.

I know some people would argue the opposite, saying that the stall farthest away from the entrance is the best and cleanest since people want to go to the nearest stall, meaning that the stalls further away are used less. I’ve heard that going for the first/nearest stall is actually a psychological thing (comfort, security/safety, and some such nonsense). I don’t particularly care what the ‘experts’ say – I still cannot believe that there are experts on this – I just find it interesting to notice these kinds of things. Even more interesting is the fact that the middle stalls are apparently the filthiest… I don’t even want to continue with this thing, I’ll only end up confusing myself, and I’d like to stop before I start implementing toilet humour. Still, I will say that the first time I went to the loo at OUP I opted for the first stall; after that I fell into a routine of using the second stall (there are four in total). I don’t know why – I just do.

Maybe it’s all of this confusion brewing in my mind due to silly things like ‘bathroom protocol’ that the Mona Lisa was placed there, smiling knowingly at the trifles of life and what we humans occupy our time thinking of… sometimes even while taking a leak.

[This really makes me think of the female ‘herd mentality’ of going to the bathroom together… but we can talk about that another time.]




6 responses

21 07 2010
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[…] Bathroom habits and stall selections: what does Mona Lisa know …Choosing the Right Bathroom Sink Cabinets @ Vanity Sink Top […]

22 07 2010
Salóme van Lill

A very delicate issue, indeed!

22 07 2010
Heinrich Möller

Women are strange things. Although I always have this nagging feeling that someone is watching me in public bathrooms and changing rooms. Mona Lisa is a plausible answer.

22 07 2010
Liske van Lill

When I came out of the ladies room today, the cleaning lady was busy in the men’s room, and lo and behold! – I looked into the face of an identical Mona Lisa replica! I can only imagine what she’s smiling about in there…

28 07 2010
Potty Training Tips For Today’s Busy New Parents :Children’s PlaySets

[…] Bathroom habits and stall selections: what does Mona Lisa know? « The Skinny on my Jeans (Gene… […]

18 07 2011
Work musings « The Skinny on my Jeans (Genes)

[…] the reproduction of the Mona Lisa hanging in the ladies room. In case you were interested, it’s still hanging at a slightly slanted angle. My obsessive-compulsive tendencies are going […]

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