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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

That Soap Won’t Help You Where We’re Headed, Bub

Last night, I had a bit of an awkward moment. In a restaurant bathroom.

(Oh, don’t look at me like I wouldn’t stoop to a story like this. I’m above potty humor the way Cookie Monster is above sugar-frosted macaroons. Let’s just do this thing.)

Before we delve into the particulars, though, I need to divulge one of our little secrets, men. I know, and I’m sorry, but it’s central to the story so I need to let the ladies in on it. I promise I won’t ever reveal anything else from the secret stash. The real reason we won’t stop for directions when we’re driving, why we’re inordinately fascinated by lesbians, whether your girlfriends’ asses actually do look fat in those pants — my lips are sealed. Our secrets are safe with me.

“I’m above potty humor the way Cookie Monster is above sugar-frosted macaroons.”

Except just this one. But it’s a little one.

So, ladies — here’s the thing. As often as we give you girls grief about ‘going to the bathroom’ to fix your makeup, brush your hair, giggle about us, read magazines, get massages, dance the watusi or whatever the hell else it is you do in there besides ‘going to the bathroom’, there’s a teeny little confession I feel I should make:

We don’t always ‘go to the bathroom’ to ‘go to the bathroom’, either.

(It’s true. But don’t ask me about the driving direction bit or the lesbian thing. My man card’s on thin ice right now, as it is.)

Now, lest you ladies injure yourselves with a j’accusatory ‘A-hah!‘, I should clarify what I said above. Because while we don’t always ‘go to the bathroom’ when we ‘go to the bathroom’, we also don’t engage in the sorts of primping, gossiping, relaxing or dancemoving that you female sorts seem to enjoy.

(Well, in fairness, maybe the pretty boys at the nice clubs do those things.

But I can’t get into those places, much less hang out in the bathroom being horrified, so I’m sticking with what I know. We don’t do those things. Not us guys.)

We do, however, experience certain… emergencies of our own, and the bathroom is a handy place to take care of such business. Maybe we’ve spilled something on ourselves and no one has noticed yet, so we want to make a quick getaway to clean up. Or we only read half the box scores in the newspaper hanging over the urinal last time, and really, really need to know whether the Knicks covered the spread last night. Or maybe we’ve just figured out that our underpants are on backwards, and determined that a bathroom stall would be a good place to get our Loomy Fruits situated.

(Perhaps, if we’re men of the world, we’ve already determined from experience that the back seat of our car is not such a good place for these sorts of undergarmental undertakings.

Not if we’re just about to valet park, at least. I have never tipped a man so much money to not use the rearview mirror while parking my car.

But this isn’t about me. At least, it isn’t about ‘ass-backward boxers in the back of my Maxima’ me. It’s about ‘uncomfortably shifting from foot to foot in a public bathroom’ me. Back to the action.)

So, last night I had to do one of those things that isn’t ‘going to the bathroom’, exactly, but is probably best handled by excusing myself to ‘go to the bathroom’. In this case, the thing was, to be blunt, passing wind.

I know. I’m sorry. Nobody needed to think about that, including me. But trust me — for a solid and squirmy fifteen minutes near the end of dinner last night, I was thinking about it. And thinking desperately about how to avoid it. Or at least avoid knocking all the glasses off the table with it. Trouble a-brewed, and I needed an out. Fast.

So I excused myself from my wife and friends and headed to the john. Hoping, as fervently as a man trying to walk a straight line with his cheeks clamped together like two Jell-O molds in a vise can hope, that the closest gentlemen’s bathroom was unocupado.

I burst through the door, with my rumbling tummy nearly bursting through mine. And found the bathroom was, in fact, not unocupado. But luck was on my side, it seemed — it was a large, three-urinal, three-stall facility, and there was only one other person inside. I steered a wide berth past him and set up shop in front of a urinal near the back of the room.

And waited.

You see, I may have been a desperate guy at that point, what with Mount Vesuvius threatening to spew cinders through my pants and all, but above all, I’m a nice guy. I just can’t help myself, and lord knows I’ve tried. So I assumed a peeing position, unzipped, and prepared to ‘feign a drain’ until the guy left, to spare him the horror of what might soon occur. I scar enough people with my words; I really don’t need to start doing it with my ass.

Luckily, the guy had been zipping up when I walked in, so by the time I reached my urinal, he was at the sink, preparing to wash up. No problem. We weren’t quite in ‘Code Gorganzola’ yet, so I figured I’d just wait him out, and then do what had to be done in relative privacy. I kept one ear up, listening behind me for progress. Almost immediately, I heard:

*skrish skrish skrish*

Ah, good. The liquid soap. He’s not flossing his teeth or popping pimples or something back there. See, I knew this wasn’t a pretty boy kind of bar. I’m halfway home. And soon after, I was relieved to hear a:


The hand-activated sink turning on. Oh, let loose the gates, Martha — the stampede is a-comin’! I strained to hear the sound of the door opening, putting me in the clear. I even turned a hair to the side, to be certain I didn’t miss it. Instead, what I heard was:

*skrish skrish skrish*

Wait. What? More hand soap? What, is he washing each one individually? Multitask, you bastard — I’m in intestinal distress over here! Clean those paws together, you water-wasting washout! Then:


Fine. You had it your way; two washes for the price of one. Now for the love of Buffalo wings, get the hell out of here before I blow a spleen or something. Shoo!

The next sound I heard — and I’ll never forget it, as long as I live — was a loud and unmistakable:

*skrish skrish skrish*

I didn’t know what the hell the man was washing now. I didn’t want to know, frankly, but even if curiosity had overcome me, I couldn’t very well twist around to look in the state I was in at the time. If the seal blew off the gasket with me contorted around like that, the force would’ve spun me like a top around the room. I might have given myself an involuntary swirly. And there’s no coming back from that.

Next came the now-familiar ‘*pkkk-swwwwwhhhhhssssshhhh*‘.

As I stood there, red-faced and bloaty, a thought struck me. Just what in god’s name had this guy done in the room to warrant three cleansings? Were there other non-‘going to the bathroom’ activities going on in here that I didn’t know about? Was I now an accomplice to some unspeakable — and evidently, very dirty — act? Was it some sort of Catholic thing? My fog-addled brain mulled the possibilities, getting more or less nowhere.

Finally, mercifully, a different sound. Not the door. Not the guy asking, ‘Hey, buddy, why are your eyes bugging out like that?‘ Instead, the high-pitched droning ‘*zzzzzzzsssssssshhhhhhhhhheeeeeewwww*‘ of the hand dryer. The very, very, very loud hand dryer.

I could wait no longer. The guy was three feet from the door, ten feet away from me, and engulfed in a protective cocoon of hot air and blasting noise. I let loose the hounds as discreetly as possible, which at that point only meant not lifting a leg or clutching the urinal for balance. And I hoped for the best.

Which, in the end (heh), is what happened. I felt immediately better, felt no particular social sting or stigma from my indelicate trumpeting, and Mr. Threewashy left the room without so much as a glance (or a sniff) in my direction.

Of course, I can’t say what happened with the next person in the bathroom after I washed up (once) and vacated. But hopefully, if any evidence remained — a slight odor, a reverberating echo, or claw marks around the urinal, perhaps — the next guy understood. Because, after all, it’s possible he wasn’t in there to ‘go to the bathroom’ himself.

And he sure as hell wasn’t dancing the watusi. Not in this bar, ladies. Not in this bar.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “That Soap Won’t Help You Where We’re Headed, Bub”

  1. RaBT says:

    Ha – I have always had a liking to quality toilet humor – nicely done sir, nicely done. I had a toilet story myself (added as my URL).

  2. Charlie says:

    Hi RaBT, and thanks for the visit. Glad to see that potty humor is alive and well and shaking twice (but no more) around the blogosphere.

    (If it were just me, I might have more trouble writing it. I’m shy that way.)

    Thanks again, and cheers!

  3. ema says:

    Charlie, since you did not post anything I wandered and found this post. I am not sure if it is b/c I can’t laugh loud in the room or b/c I have THAT secret as well, or maybe just b/c it was REALLY a funny post, but I had to contain my noise on the pillow, and by noise I mean laughter, not the breeze of the odorous counter part of the mouth. Although, I wonder about my breath: when I yawn my wife shows me her shoulder and says..”..again? Could you light a candle please?…although a blowtorch would be better”

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