An Open Letter Regarding Conversations in the Restroom

Pic kind of related

Dear Fellow Men Who Try to Talk to Me in The Restroom,

Frankly, I’m surprised this even needs to be written. I’m well aware that we grew up in different time periods and, in all actuality, had different housing environments altogether, but I was under the impression that this was one of those universal constants that all humanity agreed upon. Like gravity. Or not trying to eat fire unless properly trained.

I wish I could say that this has happened to me everywhere I’ve been, that it’s not limited to this office. Because if that were true, I could spare you the shame of having to think about the times you’ve walked into the restroom and felt the need to strike up a conversation about how you’re glad it’s Friday. But it’s not true, and you desperately need to think about it.

See, this is one of the few times that we, in our navel-gazing society ridden with tabloid journalism and social networks, should be guaranteed of privacy. This is a time when we’re at our most vulnerable. Our penises are out, and we’re staring straight forward at that spot on the wall, and we’re doing that in silence.

Did you know that, in some countries, talking to other men in the restroom is a capital offense? No lie. You’ll be decapitated.

The restroom is where momentous thoughts occur: Do you think Archimedes would have figured out how to measure the volume of irregular objects if Plutarch was going on about the weather in the baths? God no. We’d still be mucking about with water, trying to figure out what the hell was going on when we tossed a bone or something in a tub.

Much, much more often than not, I don’t know anything about you other than you are the HR guy who can’t help me understand why I still don’t have my dental insurance card. To put it bluntly, I don’t know you well enough to talk to you in the restroom; I don’t even talk to my brother if we happen to be in the same bathroom. What you’re doing is trying to create a familiarity that does not exist.

And before you protest, I know you’re trying to be friendly and civil. But there are boundaries which you should know are not even allowed by that broad and intractable thing called Southern hospitality and Southern politeness, and this situation is one of them.

I doubt you’ll take my word for it, so do me a favor and ask your father next time you see him. If he’s anything like mine, he’ll squint at you, trying to see if you’re his son, or see if you’re some sort of impostor. And then after determining that you are his son, he’ll bring out the whippin switch, cause that ain’t no thing a son of his should have to ask.

Thanks for your attention in all of this, and I’m sure we can work out a way to make this into an amiable solution for everyone involved.

By not talking in the restroom.


Aaron Simon

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