Living Out Loud: : Passing Gas

Men and public restrooms

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I haven't done a Google search to see if anyone else has ever written about this or not. Maybe it's something people don't want to talk about. But I will, because I'm becoming irritated when it happens.

Men (and you know who you are), it is not perfectly all right to pass gas in public restrooms. I'm not talking about the silent kind — the mistake. I'm talking about making a big noise out of it, like almost putting your ass up to a microphone and cutting one for the entire world to hear.

Awhile back I was out with a friend at a restaurant — not all that upscale but pleasant enough. After having a few drinks, I had to use the restroom.

It was your standard men's room — two urinals, a toilet and a sink to wash your hands. I was doing "number one" when an older gentleman entered.

Immediately, he cut a big, loud fart. Afterwards, Gasman walked over to the urinal to my right.

"Hello," he said, cutting the cheese again, but this time making it longer — several seconds in fact — which, in turn, made it worse.

"I'm doing fine," I replied.

"Hey I like your shirt," he said.

"Thanks."

"Where did you get it?" he wanted to know, again passing more gas.

Hindsight tells me I should have answered his question with, "Hey! I can't hear you over your letting Fred out every few seconds" or maybe "Did you just shit in your goddamn pants?" Instead, I simply replied in an annoyed voice, "I don't know, it's just a shirt." I flushed the urinal, then went over to the sink to wash my hands.

A few seconds later, Gasman flushed, let out another big fart, said to me, "Have a good evening" and walked out of the men's room without washing his hands.

Please understand none of this is new to me, and that's why I'm finally writing about it. I've been listening to friends, bosses and men I don't know fart loudly in pubic restrooms for years. When friends do it, I think less of them. When bosses think its OK, I want to get them fired. When strangers think it's normal to cut air in front of me, I question their sanity.

Years ago an employee of mine was joining me for lunch. Before we left the office, we both went to the men's room. As soon as my employee entered the room, he cut a loud one.

"Man, I've been waiting to do that all morning," he said, looking at me, laughing.

I looked back at him with a smirk on my face, disgusted.

"Well, I'm so glad I could be here with you for the big moment," I deadpanned. "Thanks for sharing, but let's make sure we don't have Mexican for lunch."

I never looked at this employee the same way again. I felt like mentioning it in his yearly evaluation: "Thinks passing gas in the restroom is a good time to be shared by all."

Let me be clear: If you're alone in a public restroom, pass gas and make it sound like The Sound of Music, I couldn't care less. But if I'm in there with you, put a lid on it. I don't want to hear you; I don't want to smell you. You don't have to let it fly. Be a man, for God's sake, and show a little class.

Gentlemen, while we're talking about bathroom etiquette, here's something else I don't want to be exposed to. If you're in a public restroom and have to do "number two," and it's going to be, well, a little noisy, flush the toilet to drown out your gastric explosion. If I'm in the stall next to you, I don't want to hear that or grunting or any other noise coming from your mouth or from your ass.

Also please have the common sense to sit there in the stall until I leave. I don't want to put a face with the noises I've just heard or have some kind of conversation about it. I feel your pain, but you're on your own when it comes to this.

I'm glad I wrote this column, glad it's all out in the open now. I'm about done, but there's one more thing that should go without saying. I'll mention it in passing. When you go to the restroom, after you take care of your private business, wash your hands.



Larry Gross' book "Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Stories," is in bookstores now. It's also available at I haven't done a Google search to see if anyone else has ever written about this or not. Maybe it's something people don't want to talk about. But I will, because I'm becoming irritated when it happens.

Men (and you know who you are), it is not perfectly all right to pass gas in public restrooms. I'm not talking about the silent kind — the mistake. I'm talking about making a big noise out of it, like almost putting your ass up to a microphone and cutting one for the entire world to hear.

Awhile back I was out with a friend at a restaurant — not all that upscale but pleasant enough. After having a few drinks, I had to use the restroom.

It was your standard men's room — two urinals, a toilet and a sink to wash your hands. I was doing "number one" when an older gentleman entered.

Immediately, he cut a big, loud fart. Afterwards, Gasman walked over to the urinal to my right.

"Hello," he said, cutting the cheese again, but this time making it longer — several seconds in fact — which, in turn, made it worse.

"I'm doing fine," I replied.

"Hey I like your shirt," he said.

"Thanks."

"Where did you get it?" he wanted to know, again passing more gas.

Hindsight tells me I should have answered his question with, "Hey! I can't hear you over your letting Fred out every few seconds" or maybe "Did you just shit in your goddamn pants?" Instead, I simply replied in an annoyed voice, "I don't know, it's just a shirt." I flushed the urinal, then went over to the sink to wash my hands.

A few seconds later, Gasman flushed, let out another big fart, said to me, "Have a good evening" and walked out of the men's room without washing his hands.

Please understand none of this is new to me, and that's why I'm finally writing about it. I've been listening to friends, bosses and men I don't know fart loudly in pubic restrooms for years. When friends do it, I think less of them. When bosses think its OK, I want to get them fired. When strangers think it's normal to cut air in front of me, I question their sanity.

Years ago an employee of mine was joining me for lunch. Before we left the office, we both went to the men's room. As soon as my employee entered the room, he cut a loud one.

"Man, I've been waiting to do that all morning," he said, looking at me, laughing.

I looked back at him with a smirk on my face, disgusted.

"Well, I'm so glad I could be here with you for the big moment," I deadpanned. "Thanks for sharing, but let's make sure we don't have Mexican for lunch."

I never looked at this employee the same way again. I felt like mentioning it in his yearly evaluation: "Thinks passing gas in the restroom is a good time to be shared by all."

Let me be clear: If you're alone in a public restroom, pass gas and make it sound like The Sound of Music, I couldn't care less. But if I'm in there with you, put a lid on it. I don't want to hear you; I don't want to smell you. You don't have to let it fly. Be a man, for God's sake, and show a little class.

Gentlemen, while we're talking about bathroom etiquette, here's something else I don't want to be exposed to. If you're in a public restroom and have to do "number two," and it's going to be, well, a little noisy, flush the toilet to drown out your gastric explosion. If I'm in the stall next to you, I don't want to hear that or grunting or any other noise coming from your mouth or from your ass.

Also please have the common sense to sit there in the stall until I leave. I don't want to put a face with the noises I've just heard or have some kind of conversation about it. I feel your pain, but you're on your own when it comes to this.

I'm glad I wrote this column, glad it's all out in the open now. I'm about done, but there's one more thing that should go without saying. I'll mention it in passing. When you go to the restroom, after you take care of your private business, wash your hands.



Larry Gross' book "Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Stories," is in bookstores now. It's also available at amazon.com along with a new Amazon Short, "Charlie Gets Ready for Work."

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