Casual Fridays are a thing of the past at my office. As a supervisor in an office with more than forty people, it can be a loathsome task to maintain a professional environment whilst the masses roam the halls clad in denim jeans. Some people don't understand that casual still means “business casual” and not “beach casual” or “club casual.” I have seen it all. T-shirts, flip-flops and someone even showed up to work once in what could only be described as pajamas. We now only have one casual day a month, and prior to that announcement, we had a casual day fashion show to help people understand exactly what was acceptable when such an occasion reared its ugly head again. That is one example that describes the essence of the people with whom I work.
The interesting thing is that the other offices in our building are dressed casual every day of the week. They don't have a dress code per se. Their dress code is similar to that of a Denny's Restaurant or 7-11 convenience store. Basically, they have a “no shirt, no shoes, no employment” policy.
Each floor in our building have one set of bathrooms that multiple businesses share. One for the ladies, and one for the gentleman. I was on my way to utilize the facilities last week, and I was greeted at the door by two men from one of the other offices on our floor. They were exiting the restroom as I was entering. As is customary, I stared at the ground trying not to make eye contact with them (I have heard the same rules do not apply in the ladies room). We passed each other through the open door, and one man who was wearing flip-flops was berating the other man who had on a pair of slip-on house shoes.
He said, “C'mon man, can't you control yourself? I'm wearing flip-flops and now I have piss on my toes!”
The man in the slip-ons answered, “I can't help it, I have a powerful stream!”
The door closed behind me, and I heard nothing more of their interaction. However, I did realize what had just occurred. It was another reason why flip-flops should not be allowed at the workplace. I had personal experience that a powerful urinary stream could be a problem at times. My friend Jason had the same issue, and during our raucous alcohol-laden outings he was known to emit a few stray sprinkles if you stood next to him at the urinal. It happened to me only once, and that was an occurrence I chose not to replicate (fool me twice, shame on me).
That snippet of conversation betwixt the two casually dressed “gentlemen” made me think about not what occurred in the bathroom minutes prior, but rather of what made Sir Slip-Ons so defensive about his urinary prowess. A subtle apology would have sufficed, but he took offense to the accusation. Was that just his initial reaction to anything? Or was that a painful recurring experience for him?
I pictured him as a younger man in his late twenties, and I imagined what kind of fateful incident could forever change him. This is what I believe must have happened:
He was at some shoddy bar to meet up with a woman for their first date. She arrived with her best friend, who was there for back up in case the date went awry. Eventually they would encounter his date's landlord. His name was Rolando and to say he was flamboyantly homosexual would be an insult to the term. He was quite obviously inebriated when they first saw him, and after a couple of hours of them being there he has crossed over to being downright drunk. By that time, Sir Slip-Ons would have had his fill of beer too, and his bladder would have forced him to take leave of his party to use the restroom. The men's room in this hole-in-the-wall bar would consist of a single urinal (which I pictured as having about 5-10 cigarette butts nestled haphazardly around the urinal cake), a stand-alone toilet without a stall, and an entry way without a lockable door. Rolando would take advantage of that latter fact to join him in the tiny restroom for an unwelcomed pee party. About halfway through his watery release, Rolando would begin complimenting him on the power of his stream. Not soon after the compliment, an awkward event occurred that would forever change his bathroom psyche. Sir Slip-on's powerful aquatic flow would ricochet off of the porcelain and onto Rolando's unsuspecting toes.
The previous compliments of his stream would now be met with an equal amount of contempt. An argument would ensue, and the open-hand slap version of fisticuffs would commence (slapticuffs?). They would roll out of the restroom with unwashed hands and open zippers. Not one of the bouncers would be brave enough to break up this battle (and who could blame them). After a short stint of slapticuffs, the two men would eventually be broken up by the woman who knew them. Both men would stumble to their feet and stand in front of one another huffing and puffing from heightened levels of testosterone and adrenaline. They would brush themselves off and zip up their respective trousers. Their cheeks would be in full blush from the embarrassment that was quickly filling their minds.
Once the tension had calmed down, Rolando would make his way from the bar and out into the streets to go home. Sir Slip-Ons would be left to explain what had just happened to the rest of the bar patrons, up to and including his date. His mind would race with lies that he could tell her to subdue her concerns about their fledgling relationship, yet all the while he knew his cover would be blown upon her next interaction with Rolando. Was the truth the only thing that could set him free from her anxious demeanor? He would decide that was indeed the case.
He would attempt to explain the layout of the restroom, the strength of his urinary prowess, and the splatter heard round the bar. All the while, trying to justify the cause of such an awkward situation. After giving his side of the story, he would await her response. Would she find this whole saga hilarious, or would she take this as a sign that she should not pursue any further interaction with him? Unfortunately for him, this was an unforgivable offense, and both her and her friend would depart with haste. Leaving him to stand at the bar waiting to pay his tab with a room full of watchful eyes and pointed fingers honing in on his location. Such an occurrence is something that would leave a mark on anyone's psyche. So much so, that any mention of his powerful stream or a single stray sprinkle of urine could cause him to react inappropriately.
I can't blame him though. If anything like that ever happened to me, I'd be humiliated. What if that woman was meant to be his soul mate? What if a simple divider between the urinal and the toilet could have saved him from perpetual loneliness and solitude? What if Rolando had just kept his damn mouth shut. Sir Slip-Ons would be a happier man today with a wife, two dogs and a child on the way. Damn you Rolando, and damn that powerful stream. Well, at least he can rest easy knowing that his stream is a sign of a healthy prostate gland. Although I'm not sure that will help him rest easy in his one bedroom apartment that he shares with his life-long best friend and casual coworker, the flip-flop guy.