Welcome to Graduate School, Please Don’t Shit in the Shower

The_Male_Bathroom_Etiquette_by_kousetsukitsuneThe residents of the dormitories administered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are a diverse bunch. With so many students coming from different backgrounds, it’s hard to guarantee that all of them have had access to American-style porcelain in their home countries. And even if they did, were they using it properly? Doubtful, because you haven’t even been using your bathroom appropriately if you’ve ever blown your nose, brushed your teeth, had sex, or vomited anywhere in it.

To make sure the new grad students don’t bring any of those bad habits to the Best College in the Universe, the GSAS housing administration offers residents an absurd little pamphlet titled “Bathroom Etiquette.” Sources tell us the Harvard freshman don’t get this, rendering the gift all the more sad for 23+ year-olds. The information covered is simple enough, but some of it is shocking when you realize people had to do this stuff a lot to earn it a spot in the pamphlet. Organized into what is inappropriate and appropriate to do in the shower, toilets, and sinks, the concerned student learns how to govern himself in the mystical chamber of secrets found down the hall.

TOILETS AND URINALS

When using the toilet or urinal it is inappropriate to:

  • leave bodily fluids (such as blood or urine) on the toilet seat
  • leave excessive toilet paper on or around the toilet
  • stand on the toilet seat
  • flush sanitary napkins
  • use foot or shoe to flush toilet/urinal
  • leave newspapers in the toilet stalls

*     *     *

It is inappropriate to collect and store urine in rooms and dispose of it later in the bathrooms or in trash cans.

When using the toilet or urinal it is appropriate to:

  • sit on the toilet seat
  • urinate in the urinal with proper aim
  • flush the toilet and urinals twice if necessary
  • clean off the toilet seat if soiled from bodily fluids such as blood, urine, mucus, feces
  • wrap sanitary napkins and throw them away in the sanitary disposal box or garbage can

Wait, what!? People stand on toilet seats? There’s the feminine hover obviously, but who stands in a squat over the john, perched like a condor over his domain. It’s nice to see they have instituted a general ban on hoarding one’s precious bodily fluids, though.

SHOWERS

When using the showers it is inappropriate to:

  • leave bodily fluids such as mucus and blood
  • urinate, defecate, or excavate the nasal cavity
  • vomit
  • share the shower with another individual
  • engage in sexual activity in the shower
  • smear hair on the shower wall
  • brush teeth
  • wash clothing

When using the showers it is appropriate to:

  • bathe
  • shave legs and underarms
  • wear shower shoes

This is the best category yet. Not only is there the greatest euphemism of all time for nose picking, “excavating the nasal cavity,” but this section has everything else. I for one never would have thought someone would dare shit in a shower. It is a sacred area unequipped with a drain capable of flushing turds away from the user. Maybe the occasional hurl will happen when shame and stank of a terrible, terrible mistake, but poop? Really? And is Brundlefly using the shower? How does one go about smearing enough hair on the shower wall to cause a problem. Ew, just ew.

You really have to give it to GSAS for coming up with an airtight way to ban all forms sex, including birthday sex, from the bathroom. By noting that both sharing the shower and sexual activity in the shower are verboten, grads aren’t left with much of a choice but to shower alone and keep idle hands away from the genitalia. I guess sharing the shower to save water is out, too. And they say green is the new crimson.

SINKS

When using the sinks it is inappropriate to:

  • leave bodily fluids such as blood or mucus
  • urinate or defecate in the sink
  • vomit
  • leave spit in or around the sink
  • shave legs or underarms
  • clip finger or toe nails
  • wash feet
  • leave toothpaste, hair or soap in the sink
  • hand wash clothes

When using the sink, it is appropriate to:

  • clean up after yourself if cutting, trimming, or dyeing hair
  • shave and trim face
  • brush teeth
  • wash hands and face
  • smile at yourself in the mirror

Ending with a joke! Fantastic. But where does that leave me when I have that special urge to defecate in a wash basin? Accompanying the pamphlet are, oh, about 100 signs plastered around the bathroom, excoriating residents not to blow their noses in the shower and to flush. How’s a resident supposed to evacuate bodily fluids in a place like that is a mystery. They’ve even declared the kitchen sinks off limits for teeth brushing. It is never business time in the GSAS residence halls.

43 Responses to “Welcome to Graduate School, Please Don’t Shit in the Shower”

  1. Columbia Coffee Says:

    Wash clothing is the best prohibited activity here. PDF for distribution plz.

  2. Columbia Coffee Says:

    Wash clothing is the best prohibited activity here. PDF for distribution plz.

  3. Anonymous Economist Says:

    Did you retype this, or is the typo courtesy of the university? (use foot or show to flush toilet/urinal)

    Frankly I flush public toilets with my foot because the flush handle is almost as unsanitary as the toilet itself. And my shoe’s probably cleaner than the last guy’s hand…

  4. Anonymous Economist Says:

    Did you retype this, or is the typo courtesy of the university? (use foot or show to flush toilet/urinal)

    Frankly I flush public toilets with my foot because the flush handle is almost as unsanitary as the toilet itself. And my shoe’s probably cleaner than the last guy’s hand…

  5. P10/11 Says:

    1. Psh who hasn’t pissed in a Gatorade bottle out of laziness and brought it to the bathroom later? My freshman year roommate did this all the time, and the bathroom was like 10 ft from where he would be sitting.

    2. Anyone who has spent time with Iraqi soldiers knows what mind-boggling feats of defecation people who do not know how to use Western toilets are capable of when confronted with such puzzling contraptions.

  6. P10/11 Says:

    1. Psh who hasn’t pissed in a Gatorade bottle out of laziness and brought it to the bathroom later? My freshman year roommate did this all the time, and the bathroom was like 10 ft from where he would be sitting.

    2. Anyone who has spent time with Iraqi soldiers knows what mind-boggling feats of defecation people who do not know how to use Western toilets are capable of when confronted with such puzzling contraptions.

  7. postmodernist pinko Says:

    another triumph, Michael. another triumph.

  8. postmodernist pinko Says:

    another triumph, Michael. another triumph.

  9. postmodernist pinko Says:

    …furthermore I’ll be damned if I have to stop brushing my teeth in the shower. Great time saver while waiting for conditioner to seep into the scalp. Isn’t green the new crimson? ISN’T IT?!?!?!?

  10. postmodernist pinko Says:

    …furthermore I’ll be damned if I have to stop brushing my teeth in the shower. Great time saver while waiting for conditioner to seep into the scalp. Isn’t green the new crimson? ISN’T IT?!?!?!?

  11. StateSchoolGraduate Says:

    You can’t spell “euphemism” or use the verb “excoriate” properly and yet you enjoy that Ivy League cachet.

    NICE.

  12. StateSchoolGraduate Says:

    You can’t spell “euphemism” or use the verb “excoriate” properly and yet you enjoy that Ivy League cachet.

    NICE.

  13. D11 Says:

    This needs to be distributed to the undergrad “ladies” at Dartmouth.

  14. D11 Says:

    This needs to be distributed to the undergrad “ladies” at Dartmouth.

  15. Yale Man Says:

    I p*ssed in milk jugs my freshman year because the bathroom was outside our suite. That’s a painful trek in the middle of the night.

    I always laughed when we received dorm-wide emails telling people to stop urinating in bottles and throwing them in the trash.

  16. Yale Man Says:

    I p*ssed in milk jugs my freshman year because the bathroom was outside our suite. That’s a painful trek in the middle of the night.

    I always laughed when we received dorm-wide emails telling people to stop urinating in bottles and throwing them in the trash.

  17. Yale Man Says:

    I second that D11,

    We have coed bathrooms. The girls are flagrantly more abusive of the bathroom. Smells, substances, hair. They leave their stuff everywhere. They take monster #2s. And leg hair shavings are much worse than a few beard trimmings.

  18. Yale Man Says:

    I second that D11,

    We have coed bathrooms. The girls are flagrantly more abusive of the bathroom. Smells, substances, hair. They leave their stuff everywhere. They take monster #2s. And leg hair shavings are much worse than a few beard trimmings.

  19. Alum Says:

    In public restrooms I often use my shod foot to flush the toilet. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that. Makes contagion less likely.

  20. Alum Says:

    In public restrooms I often use my shod foot to flush the toilet. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that. Makes contagion less likely.

  21. RA at the GSAS dorms Says:

    I was a resident advisor at one of the GSAS dorms the year this pamphlet was produced (2001-2002). We couldn’t stop laughing at our boss’ ideas. However, the thing about not shitting in the showers is there for a reason. Someone (nicknamed by some of us as the “undercover shitter”) pooped twice in the shower, in consecutive weekends, when there were no janitors around to clean up the mess…

    PS. Yale Man, that happened at the Harvard GSAS dorms too. Apparently in the summer of 2001 a certain individual used to pee in his room in a milk cartoon and take it then to the trash in the communal kitchen.

  22. RA at the GSAS dorms Says:

    I was a resident advisor at one of the GSAS dorms the year this pamphlet was produced (2001-2002). We couldn’t stop laughing at our boss’ ideas. However, the thing about not shitting in the showers is there for a reason. Someone (nicknamed by some of us as the “undercover shitter”) pooped twice in the shower, in consecutive weekends, when there were no janitors around to clean up the mess…

    PS. Yale Man, that happened at the Harvard GSAS dorms too. Apparently in the summer of 2001 a certain individual used to pee in his room in a milk cartoon and take it then to the trash in the communal kitchen.

  23. B'11 Says:

    I always brush my teeth in the shower!

  24. B'11 Says:

    I always brush my teeth in the shower!

  25. P10/11 Says:

    Actually, although I have observed some unpleasant bathroom scenes in Iraq, my all-time favorite was on Foulke Hall at Princeton last winter. Some lady or gentleman who was never identified vomited in one of the stalls, apparently while taking a shit, producing more vomit than I would ever have imagined possible. It was literally about 3/4 of an inch deep. My roommate discovered this by stepping in it.

    On top of this, outside the stall, someone – no telling if it was the same creature as the “vomit bandit” – had shaved their extraordinarily hairy self and left the shavings on the floor. Presumably this individual was a werewolf or chimp, based on the sheer volume of black hair everywhere. And as I recall there was an area where the vomit from the one incident and the ape fur from the other mingled.

    Everyone was pretty mad. But perhaps if a sign like those at GSAS had been present, the vomit bandit and ape-man would have realized that what they were about to do was inappropriate.

  26. P10/11 Says:

    Actually, although I have observed some unpleasant bathroom scenes in Iraq, my all-time favorite was on Foulke Hall at Princeton last winter. Some lady or gentleman who was never identified vomited in one of the stalls, apparently while taking a shit, producing more vomit than I would ever have imagined possible. It was literally about 3/4 of an inch deep. My roommate discovered this by stepping in it.

    On top of this, outside the stall, someone – no telling if it was the same creature as the “vomit bandit” – had shaved their extraordinarily hairy self and left the shavings on the floor. Presumably this individual was a werewolf or chimp, based on the sheer volume of black hair everywhere. And as I recall there was an area where the vomit from the one incident and the ape fur from the other mingled.

    Everyone was pretty mad. But perhaps if a sign like those at GSAS had been present, the vomit bandit and ape-man would have realized that what they were about to do was inappropriate.

  27. FormerGSASDormResident Says:

    The really terrifying thing is that, according to the RA in my G1 year, most of these rules are based on actual incidents. According to a friend who was in the dorms last year, pee hoarding turned out to be a real problem in 2008/9, particularly when culprits started leaving it in the kitchen and in residents rooms.

    Based on his explanation that any incident, however isolated, will lead to the creation of a new rule, I always aspired to inspire one – sadly I failed to do so, but I would point out to ambitious newcomers that there is a rule about sex in the showers, but nothing about the toilets or the sink areas…

  28. FormerGSASDormResident Says:

    The really terrifying thing is that, according to the RA in my G1 year, most of these rules are based on actual incidents. According to a friend who was in the dorms last year, pee hoarding turned out to be a real problem in 2008/9, particularly when culprits started leaving it in the kitchen and in residents rooms.

    Based on his explanation that any incident, however isolated, will lead to the creation of a new rule, I always aspired to inspire one – sadly I failed to do so, but I would point out to ambitious newcomers that there is a rule about sex in the showers, but nothing about the toilets or the sink areas…

  29. Anonymous Says:

    When I lived at the Hall of Graduate Studies at Yale I posed very similar images in my hall bathroom after coming across some VERY unpleasant scenes. Seems the graphic icons did the trick.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    When I lived at the Hall of Graduate Studies at Yale I posed very similar images in my hall bathroom after coming across some VERY unpleasant scenes. Seems the graphic icons did the trick.

  31. nanan Says:

    reminds me of when we’d pee in a gatorade bottle and glue the bottle to a desk…good luck cleaning that bottle

  32. nanan Says:

    reminds me of when we’d pee in a gatorade bottle and glue the bottle to a desk…good luck cleaning that bottle

  33. dartmouth '12 Says:

    They should’ve handed this pamphlet out to Dartmouth first years last fall. My floormates did everything that was not appropriate. And yes, that includes shitting in the shower.

  34. dartmouth '12 Says:

    They should’ve handed this pamphlet out to Dartmouth first years last fall. My floormates did everything that was not appropriate. And yes, that includes shitting in the shower.

  35. Lyndia Says:

    I left grad school a long time ago. However, I’m grateful that there’s an attempt to teach appropriate “elimination” behavior out there.

    There is no reason to believe that such behavior stops when a person leaves school. In fact, there are legendary cases (proven to be true!) of executives peeing into bottles and expecting their assistants to empty them. The mind boggles at the other behaviors such people exhibit in their offices.

  36. Lyndia Says:

    I left grad school a long time ago. However, I’m grateful that there’s an attempt to teach appropriate “elimination” behavior out there.

    There is no reason to believe that such behavior stops when a person leaves school. In fact, there are legendary cases (proven to be true!) of executives peeing into bottles and expecting their assistants to empty them. The mind boggles at the other behaviors such people exhibit in their offices.

  37. Emily Says:

    people from the east (india, etc.) stand on toilets

  38. Emily Says:

    people from the east (india, etc.) stand on toilets

  39. Iwasthere Says:

    I shat in the shower a lot when I was in college. There's nothing worse than trying to wipe your wet azz after you start showering and the mood hits you, so I just let it happen in the shower. Your first instinct may be to go in the corner, but the secret to successful shower shitting is to make it land as close to the drain as possible. Loose stools will usually go down with a little help from the shower watter hitting them and breaking them up. Firmer turds will have to be mashed through the grate with your heel. I always kept a roll of aluminum foil in my room for emergencies. you can tear off a piece, place it on floor, and pinch a loaf on it. Then wrap it and dispose of it how you see fit.

  40. bathroom mirrors with lights Says:

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  41. Concrete Floor Polishing Says:

    Welcome to Graduate School, Please Don’t Shit in the Shower

  42. Polished Terrazzo Says:

    Amazing article. I’ve been reading contents on internet for quite long time but to tell the truth I never got something really interesting to read out unlike yours.

  43. Plumbing Says:

    Separation by sex is so characteristic of public toilets that pictograms of a man or a woman are used to indicate where the respective toilets are. These pictograms are sometimes enclosed within standard forms to reinforce this information, with a circle representing a women’s toilet and a triangle representing a men’s facility.

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