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Bathroom talk: Watch your language

Bathroom talk: Watch your language

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 8:00 pm

The Messenger 06.20.12

You might want to watch your language. Oh, I’m not talkin’ about cuss words. I’m talkin’ about real bathroom talk. When you’re in the bathroom, beware. Folks like me are listening.
For obvious reasons, I tend to avoid restrooms as a column topic. But something odd is happening in America. And odd things are always of interest to a newspaper columnist.
It was a normal Tuesday morning. I entered a large public restroom in a large public place. After getting situated in a private stall, life became entertaining or disturbing, depending upon how you want to look at it. I was gonna learn far more than I wanted to know.
A telephone rang in a neighboring stall. “Hello. Oh, hey! Yeah, I’m not doin’ anything. No, this is a good time. Well, I told HIM that if he wanted to date ME, he would have to quit with his lyin’ and his craziness. Yes, GIRL!!! He will STOP with that callin’ me at midnight thinkin’ I will just drop everything and come runnin’!”
At this point, I was in a quandary. I mean, should I pretend I couldn’t hear the conversation or should I shout my own personal relationship counsel over the divider? Regardless, I have a few corrections to my bathroom neighbor’s phone conversation. She said very clearly, “I’m not doin’ anything.” Really? Friend, we’re all doin’ something in here or we wouldn’t be here, right? She also said this was a good time to talk. Uh, I’d like to see when it would be a bad time to talk. But she was not alone. About the time I was really interested in how she was gonna give this lyin’ boyfriend the boot, our time together was interrupted.
Ring! Ring! “Hey! Yeah, I’m SO glad you called back. Great to hear from ya! Yeah. Good. Well, I was thinkin’ bean dip. And maybe some nacho chips. I don’t know. Sally said she would do the brownies and the punch. Yeah, we could ask someone else to do sandwiches. Do you want me to start calling people? Yeah, I could do that right now. No big deal at all.”
I was again in a quandary. I felt an overwhelming urge to tell my young friend that brownies and bean dip are not appropriate discussion topics in a bathroom stall. But how would I, a mere bathroom stranger, begin that conversation? I don’t know the proper etiquette for correcting bathroom talk. Someone get Miss Manners on speed dial. Besides, I totally wanted this gal to be quiet about the bean dip so I could hear my other neighbor’s plan to go by her lyin’ boyfriend’s workplace and read him the riot act in front of his grandma. I mean, bean dip and brownies are one thing. Relationships are quite another.
I hope you’ve gleaned some valuable information from today’s column. In fact, I hope you’ll one day consider this message as valuable as other public service announcements. Read to young children. Get annual medical exams. Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol. Look out for elderly neighbors during bad weather. And if you have a cell phone, PLEASE don’t talk on it while you’re in a bathroom stall. Oh, and if you have a lyin’ boyfriend? Well, that’s a whole other column.
Lisa Smartt can be reached by email at For more information, visit her website,

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