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Monday, May 23, 2005

There's no talking in ... baseball!

Sorry yesterday's topic was such a 'buzz kill'.  Let's face it... nothing takes the fun out of a discussion like juxtaposing sharp objects and genitalia... whether in theory or real life.

I'm sorry to say that today's topic may be a bit lighter, but we haven't left some of the more 'base' topics far behind.  :-)

I've been putting off writing about this for over a year now because I've been secretly hoping that I was mistaken... but I can no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence!  I don't know the best way to say this so I'll come right out and say it:

Everything you've ever heard about the rugged, macho, combat toughened Israel man is a big fat lie.  In fact, I am convinced that all Israeli men are actually a bunch of panty-wearing sissies!

My Proof?

They talk in the bathroom!

Men are not a complicated species to figure out.  We don't come with big owner's manuals because there are really very few mysteries.  If something itches, it doesn't matter where we are... we will scratch it.  If we are sitting quietly... despite all appearances, we aren't thinking deep thoughts... we are probably just in 'stand-by mode'.  And most importantly, I don't care what the circumstances... we DO NOT talk in the bathroom.  Ever.

Yes, I'm well aware of how women can go into a public bathroom and come out chatting with a new best friend.  How wonderful for you! 

Men don't do that.

Once we walk through that swinging door, we don't even make eye contact with anyone (although if absolutely necessary we might grunt an acknowledgment once we are finished with our 'at bat' and are washing up at the sink). 

I didn't make up the rules of the game... I was simply raised to respect them.

Which is why it has been freakin' me out to no end that my Israeli coworkers come waltzing into the bathroom and strike up cheerful conversations with me in the morning.  They lean back against the sinks while I am, y'know, 'going over the scouting report', and say things like, "Good Morning!", and "How was Shabbat" and "How's the family?"  They sometimes even commit the ultimate sin: They slap me on the back! 


Even accidentally jostling somebody's elbow is an unpardonable transgression... but to actually reach out and intentionally touch someone who is 'on deck' or [gasp] actually 'in the batter's box' is unforgivable!


There are plenty of good bathroom etiquette sites that discuss these (and many other) rules that I have always taken for granted.  I haven't found the time to translate any of them into Hebrew... but when I do, you can bet that every single man in my office will be getting a copy! 

In the mean time, I can only hope that they are starting to clue into the fact that I don't respond to them (or in any way acknowledge their presence) while I am trying to keep my mind on the game.

Buncha sissies!



Posted by David Bogner on May 23, 2005 | Permalink


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ah well, as long as they slap you on the back while you're washing your hands..... ;)

geez, men are so.....so....is there a word for it??

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | May 23, 2005 10:28:41 AM

mademoiselle a. ... I think the word you were going for is 'manly'. :-)

Posted by: David | May 23, 2005 10:31:44 AM

Umhh...I'm afraid it's not just the Israeli guy, it's every guy out there...we go by... "Give the dog a bone, leave the dog alone, let the dog roam and he'll find he's way home."

Posted by: kakarizz | May 23, 2005 11:44:39 AM

You're so right. Conversely, I used to work with an Icelandic woman who was utterly silent in the bathroom, except that she would always whistle in the stall. She was a toughie, boy...

Posted by: Soferet | May 23, 2005 12:33:51 PM

Jeesh Dave, if guys are finally feeling comfortable enough to chat in the bathroom, isn't that better than the tense 'eyes front' 'don't ask, don't speak' policy?
Sometimes, just cuz it's 'always been that way', isn't a good enough reason to not change.

maybe it's time for those urinals to be banned, so you guys don't have to line up like cattle... wouldn't that be nice?!!!!

Just a thought from a gal who isn't so into the talking in the bathroom either, but doesn't 'shudder' over others doing it!

Posted by: val | May 23, 2005 3:27:50 PM

I am female and I can't stand when coworkers approach me in the bathroom to discuss work-related things. Can't I even get 2 minutes for a bathroom break? Come see me at my desk...sheesh. (Thanks for letting me vent this somewhere...your blog never ceases to surprise)

Posted by: Essie | May 23, 2005 4:29:52 PM

I have a way to help you. When they approach you while you are standing at the urinal all you need to do is stick out your hand in an attempt/offer to shake theirs.

This should accomplish two things.

1) It will let people know that you are a very friendly man yet help to remind them about establishing boundaries within the bathroom.

2) And more importantly it is a way to identify people whose cooking you do not want to try because if they are willing to shake your hand in the middle of your business who knows what else they'll do.

3) Alternative number three is far more aggressive and was used a friend of mine in a similar situation. Tell them that you have arthritic hands and ask them to shake for you. You'll find out who your true friends are or maybe learn that Moishe in accounting isn't kidding when he says that he loves to hang out with you. ;)

Posted by: Jack | May 23, 2005 5:25:11 PM

You may find this surprising, but Mishna B'rura (a commentary on the code of Jewish Law) says that men are not allowed to talk in the bathroom while women are. It's in the first volume. So see, not only it's manly to be silent, but it's also in accordance with Jewish Law.

Posted by: Greg T | May 23, 2005 7:12:51 PM

Your "refreshing" post "relieved" me of this memory I want to share.
I was once in a restaurant, in a bathroom stall, and there were two women -- no doubt friends -- in the bathroom as well. One was at the sink, one was in a stall doing her "tinkling" (nice, feminine way of saying it) The woman at the sink yelled to her friend, "You sound just like so-and-so when you pee!"
Who the heck takes notice of these things?!
That had to have been one of the oddest comments I've ever heard about nature's call.

Posted by: Pearl | May 23, 2005 7:18:01 PM

I think a bunch of people who were about to
make aliyah just read this blog and turned

Posted by: shloimy | May 23, 2005 7:36:34 PM

Ban urinals. I feel so sorry for men. How uncivilized to make people go in public like that.

Posted by: Alice | May 23, 2005 9:01:31 PM

Plus it might cut down on the pressure for men to compare the size of their, errrr, 'bats'.

Posted by: Alice | May 23, 2005 9:02:53 PM

kakarizz... words to live by, man.

Soferet... I have a friend who is an Icelandic woman (ok, she's not icelandic, but she lives there)... I should ask her about her, um, habits.

Val... Ban Urinals??? Are you mad? If Zahava would have let me install one in our master bath my life would be complete. :-)

Essie... It wouldn't be any different if it was work-related or just chit-chat... I just can't seem to get used to it.

Jack... You're asking me to break the prime directive? You want me to actually touch somebody in the men's room? I suppose while I'm at it I should ask if these jeans make me look fat! :-)

Greg T. ... I'm assuming that the Mishna Brura probably was trying to prevent men from discussing Torah in the bathroom. So far, I've never been tempted... :-)

Pearl... OUCH! Got me with both barrels! Anyway, I don't find that too strange. Now if she had heard a splash and then correctly guessed what the main dish had been at lunch... now that would be impressive!

Shloimy...No problem... I'll just start a rumor that the Knesset is going to ban Americans from moving to Israel. They'll be wading ashore with their microwave ovens held over their heads before you can say 'dafka'.

Alice... First of all, most men I know prefer a urinal to the circus trick of trying to pee in a toilet. However, regarding your other comment, men do not, ahem, look at other men's 'bats' while in the bat'room. In fact in most public bathrooms that would be a fighting offense! :-)

Posted by: David | May 23, 2005 9:46:31 PM

David, let me bit a bit crass here -- pretty far-reaching for me -- but you told Val in your response that you wouldn't mind a urinal in the master bath. You needn't really bother with that.
Didn't you ever see the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and George go to a gym and the viewers and Jerry find out that George really had to go to the bathroom, so that's when the shower stall came in handy...

Posted by: Pearl | May 23, 2005 10:03:50 PM

Pearl... I love my wife. I am very happy with my marriage. I would have to learn to live without both if my wife ever caught me peeing in the shower.

Posted by: David | May 23, 2005 10:06:50 PM


More power to you, David!

Posted by: Pearl | May 23, 2005 10:14:23 PM

Jack... You're asking me to break the prime directive? You want me to actually touch somebody in the men's room? I suppose while I'm at it I should ask if these jeans make me look fat! :-)

If you want the behavior to stop it is a hell of a way to make a point without pissing off too many people.

Posted by: Jack | May 23, 2005 11:29:01 PM

I love that Jack worked in the word "pissing" into his comment! ;) Go Jack! ;)

Posted by: val | May 24, 2005 12:59:37 AM

Never mind talking or bumping you in the bathroom. I have had parents of students follow me into the bathroom at Parent Teacher Conferneces. ACKKKKKKKKK!!!! There is nothing sacred.

Posted by: Marjorie | May 24, 2005 1:14:31 AM

Excuse me , but must I remind you of the Bathroom at The Sands?

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | May 24, 2005 4:04:12 AM

Jack... If a strange man starts hitting on you in a pubic bathroom, do you really think giving him a big kiss is going to dissuade him from his inappropriate behavior? These guys at my office are already comfortable conversing in the bathroom. No friendly gesture on my part is going to send a message.

Val.. Yeah, Jack's a card that way. He's awfully fun to have at parties... you should invite him. :-)

Marjorie... You've summed it up right there... nothing is sacred. :-)

Jordan... OK, you have me there... but that actually proves my point about the taboo nature of talking in the bathroom. I'll share the story for those who don't know me personally:

Jordan is a very talented trumpet player in the band for which I used to play. He and I were playing a party at The Sands Atlantic Beach one evening and on one of our breaks had answered the call of nature at the same time. As we stood side-by-side at the urinals, I realized that we were the only people in the bathroom besides a waiter who was at the sink washing his hands. The silence must have gotten the better of me, and I wanted to play a prank on the waiter, so I leaned over to Jordan... and said in a very loud stage whisper, "Nice c*ck!". The waiter took one panicked look over his shoulder and literally bolted from the bathroom. If I remember correctly, Jordan's response to me once the waiter had made his hasty exit was something witty like, "You're such an *sshole!". Although I intentionally broke a few of the rules (no talking, no looking, etc.), the waiter's reaction underscores the accepted convention of absolute silence.

Posted by: David | May 24, 2005 9:29:14 AM

If a strange man starts hitting on you in a pubic bathroom

Here in LA we call those strange men queer. And if you happen to be hanging out in certain bars in West Hollywood the behavior is not only tolerated by encouraged. Ok, that response was over the top, but I am afraid to say anything about my initial reply having been made to yank your chain. ;)

Posted by: Jack | May 24, 2005 9:48:33 AM

Has anyone noticed the map in the sidebar? Is it just me or do the hits seem to go woosh ever since David started to work children-unsafe words into his posts? I've never seen this map explode before...ah well, except maybe for the Shnappi post, but I swear I see more 'red dots' than 'map' on the map now. >8}

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | May 24, 2005 6:23:16 PM

mademoiselle a. ... The map hasn't reset itself in months. Those red dots represent over 70,000 hits! You can't attribute that to my potty mouth alone!!! :-)

Posted by: David | May 24, 2005 8:56:01 PM

At least they're in the bathroom! Twice in the past two days, once at the beach and once while walking my dog, I've passed men peeing on a wall, trying to make themselves inconspicuous but not very.

Posted by: savtadotty | May 24, 2005 9:49:04 PM

Savtadotty... At least they were trying to make themselves inconspicuous! Most Israeli men just stand on the side of the raopd and do their impression of a little teapot! :-)

Posted by: David | May 24, 2005 9:52:14 PM

That moment in the Sands was one of the funniest things to happen to me in a bathroom, second only to the little old man in Great Neck.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | May 25, 2005 1:47:12 AM

Did you go to a kumsitz tonight? With Israelis? I think Lag Ba'omer is the real low point of Israel urinating etiquette.

Posted by: Simon | May 27, 2005 1:47:06 AM

[*map/map_cn_sd3_mordy.txt||10||r||1|| @]

Posted by: postal | Oct 2, 2007 1:15:27 AM

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