Men’s Etiquette Guide for All Things Public

WARNING: If you are looking for something inspirational and life changing, then this post is not for you. What is written below is purely for fun.


Several day ago I posted a status update on facebook about a recent experience in a locker room shower. Now, before you panic, nothing bad happened, I was never in any danger, and the experience did not question my sexuality (“Not that there is anything wrong with that”). What happened was just a breach of etiquette. Here is what I posted:

“Ok guys, I need to know if I am wrong. (Gals, you can ignore this post). The rec center where I swim is old and in the locker room instead of individual showers they have the one big room with 8 showers heads and no dividers. Today, after swimming, I was taking a shower. I was the only one in the shower room. There were 7 other shower heads. I was washing my hair, and when I opened my eyes a guy was taking a shower right beside me. Not 2 shower heads away, or on the other side of the room, but right beside me! I thought the shower etiquette was if there are only 2 of you in there you stand on opposite sides of the room. But you never stand right beside another guy when you don’t have to. Am I wrong?”

The overwhelming response to the above scenario was that the guy to violate “locker room etiquette.”

At the time of the incident, in my sociology class, we were discussing norms. I gave the students an assignment called “break-a-norm” where they picked from a list of folkways and spent a day violating those norms. I found it ironic that I had a my own “break-a-norm” experience.

All of this got me thinking about a list of rules that all guys need to obey when they are out in public. The following etiquette guidelines applies to restaurants, locker rooms, movie theaters, public restrooms and public showers. In actuality they apply to all things public.

So, here for your enjoyment is a man’s guide to pubic etiquette. You can thank me later.

Rule #1 – In an open shower the first option is to stand on the opposite of the shower. If that is not an option there must be a one shower head space between you and the next guy. If that is not an option, wait and take a shower later.

Rule #2: In an open shower face the wall at all times. However, if you have to face someone else while entering or exiting, your eyes should go no lower than their chin.

Rule #3: When using a public urinal, always look straight ahead. Never look to the right or the left at the person standing at the next urinal. (This rule applies for locker-room showers as well.)

Rule #4: If at all possible, have a 1 urinal buffer between you and the next guy (see picture below).

Rule #4: a) In an open shower be careful not to drop anything. If you do accidentally drop something – leave it! At no time should you squat or bend over. b) If someone else drops something in the shower, you should not react and look to see what it was. Keep your eyes facing the wall! (see rule #2).

Rule #5: In an open shower or at a urinal, no talking, ever. Even if you are at a football game and while in the restroom (you should never be in an open shower at a football game) your team scores a touchdown, no talking or yelling, and definitely no high fives.

Rule #6: In an open shower or in a public restroom, never, ever smile or even grin; and absolutely no laughing.

Rule #7: Unless the movie theater is extremely crowded, always keep a 1 seat buffer between you and the next guy, even if the next guy is your best friend; especially if the next guy is your best friend.

Rule #8: If you and your friend are meeting for lunch and the hostess seats you at a booth, DO NOT sit on the same side of the booth. If you meet 2 of your friends for lunch and the hostess seats you in a booth and 2 of you are on 1 side and 1 of you is on the other side and the 1 sitting by himself gets up to go to the restroom, immediately get up and go to the other side of the booth. Never get caught sitting with a guy on 1 side of the booth if the other side is empty, even if it is only empty temporarily.

Rule #9: When playing pick-up basketball (or any other sport for that matter), no matter how good of a play you made, never chest bump another guy if neither of you have on shirts.

Rule #10: Never compliment a guy wearing a speedo.

Well, that’s about it for now. What are some rules you would add?


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