I Can Flush All By Myself

Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t like men’s room attendants. I don’t see the point. I hate how you feel pressured to tip them. Don’t get me wrong, I am a generous tipper when I go to restaurants. I always over tip when they deserve it. But when it comes to tipping a men’s room attendant, I’ll admit I can be a little cheap.

I mean it’s a men’s room. What help do I need while I’m in there? Why do I have to tip them? Because they turned the faucet on for me? I do that on my own about a hundred times a day. Sometimes more than that if my OCD is acting up. Yet most of the time I find myself throwing them a buck for their unwanted assistance out of sheer guilt.

And while I’m thinking of it, why do they have a selection of cologne in there? It’s not the men’s department at Macy’s. Get in, do my business, get out. I’m not there to browse. Besides, there are enough smells in there already.

It’s even worse when you’re the only one in the men’s room. The attendant knows you’re solely responsible for the carnage left behind. I can’t help but wonder if he’s judging me. Don’t give me that smug look, men’s room attendant. Sometimes Mexican food does things to me. I always worry he’ll tell the next guy, “Sorry about that smell, sir. It was the guy who was just in here before you. As a matter of fact, he just walked past you.” So, of course, you feel pressured to leave him a tip. It’s like hush money.

The most awkward experience I had with a men’s room attendant was at the wedding of a friend a few years ago. The reception was held at this luxurious mansion that had been turned into a reception hall. I was in the men’s room and as I turned to leave I saw the attendant. He was this old man dressed in a tux, holding a piece of paper and going over it intently with pen in hand. I started to reach in my pocket for a dollar but changed my mind. Why should I tip him? The guy didn’t even do anything. He didn’t turn on the faucet, he didn’t hand me a towel or even hold the door open for me. He was too busy going over his “to do” list. So I left without giving him a tip.

When I got back to my table, I started to feel guilty. How bad was this poor old man’s life that he not only had to still work at his age but the best job he could find was smelling other dudes’ poo? Maybe I should go back and tip the poor bastard. It was then the disc jockey announced the father of the bride was making a speech. I looked up to see the old man from the men’s room holding a piece of paper. He wasn’t going over his “to do” list, he was going over his speech. I almost tipped the father of the freaking bride.

It was then I learned a valuable lesson: Sometimes it’s not only good to be cheap, it can also save you from abject humiliation.





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3 thoughts on “I Can Flush All By Myself”

  1. I always feel badly for these people too but on another note, it is easy work. And in the really nice ladies room anyway, the bathroom and sinks are separate so you don’t get that offensive odor. I find it hard to tip to use the bathroom.

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