Office Spaces


Satisfy my curiosity: which, if any, of the following seem weird/gross/an inappropriate use of shared office resources to you?

a) Brushing one’s teeth in the bathroom sinks
b) Washing one’s hands in the shared kitchenette sink
c) Bringing one’s own highly-scented air freshener with a very particular and recognizable scent to spray after you do…business, thus alerting everyone to who it was who just…businessed

A, the brushing of teeth in the bathroom sinks, is huge in my office. HUGE. Dozens of people do it. We are, as a group, apparently very committed to dental hygiene. We’re not just talking a quick brush, either- we have full-on flossing and mouthwash. While I can’t exactly find anything wrong with it, I will admit that it weirds me out a little. When I enter the bathroom and see a colleague brushing her teeth while I’m washing my hands, it feels strangely intimate, or something.  I know, I know, tooth care is essential and whatnot, but as a strict morning-and-evening brusher, it always throws me for a loop a little.

But I’m probably wrong.

B, the washing of one’s hands in the shared kitchenette sink, is something *I* do that seems to garner weird looks from my coworkers. Look, I like to wash my hands before I eat. The sink is right there, next to the refrigerator*, where I am storing my lunch. Am I really supposed to walk all the way across to the other side of the building to wash my hands in the bathroom sink? Is this really that gross?

C, with the vanilla musk air freshener, is just a puzzling anecdote I thought you might enjoy.

* Refrigerator side note: there are two refrigerators in our office, to meet the food-storage needs of the approximately 150 people who work here. About 2 months ago, one of the fridges up and died. In the process of evaluating the dead refrigerator, the service technician noted that the other fridge is actually also dying, limping along at a barely-cool, not-technically-food-safe 44 degrees. Splendid. The best part? Because the state is broke as a joke, it is impossible to find a vendor willing to sell us two replacement refrigerators, because they know they won’t get paid for months. So we have had to take up a collection, where employees are all chipping in, to try to purchase a functioning refrigerator, with the promise that we will be paid back by the state….eventually. Government work: glamorous!


9 Responses to Office Spaces

  1. Emily says:

    A. I find this weird. I only ever do it right before I go to the dentist and always feel uncomfortable if someone else walks in while I’m brushing.

    B. Not weird. It’s no different that washing your hands in your kitchen sink, right? I’m not sure why others might find it odd. Of course, the others are the ones who think brushing their teeth in the bathroom is cool, so I question their weirdness judgment to begin with.

    C. I…I’m not sure what to say to this one. That’s an interesting habit.

  2. Jesabes says:

    A. Teeth brushing seriously grosses me out. Bristles on teeth = nails on a chalkboard for me and that’s before we get into the issue of what finds it’s way onto your brush. I almost hurl when my husband busts into the bathroom while I’m taking my contacts out and starts brushing his teeth. At work? It makes me wonder how such people can exist in a society. I realize they don’t think teeth brushing is gross (the opposite actually), but how can they think spittle is acceptable in an office environment?

    (Yes, I brush my own teeth. Usually. After psyching myself up to just do it.) (At home, obviously.)

    B. I do this as well.

    C. I’m allergic to perfume/air freshener and could go on an entirely new rant re: society and not giving others migraines in the workplace, but I’ll spare you.

  3. Ris says:

    A. Once in a great while I’ll brush my teeth at work (usually before a dentist appointment) and I don’t love it. I know MY bathroom is a lot cleaner than the work bathroom used by dozens of people, and I also find it strangely kind of intimate.
    B. I sometimes think I’m the only one in the whole office who ever washes her hands anywhere. I totally do this.
    C. That is very…strange.

    D. There are two (small) restrooms on my floor, and then a large kitchen with two sinks. And still people use the small, crowded restroom sinks to rinse foodstuffs, which grosses me out more than I can even express. It’s the BATHROOM. I don’t need to see salad remnants while I’m washing my hands, and you should probably wash your dishes somewhere a little more sanitary, like the kitchen that’s about 3 doors down. But no, you’re the asshole trying to fit an industrial-sized coffee pot into a tiny little sink, and making a huge mess in the process, while I stand behind you waiting to wash my hands, which is what those sinks area actually for. As you can probably tell, I feel strongly about this.

  4. Erica says:

    As long as you don’t microwave fish leftovers you are golden.

  5. A: I guess I find tooth-brushing a little weird, but not outside the scope (hah!) of normal. I wouldn’t do it, and I’m always surprised to find others doing it, but it’s not SO strange.

    B: I don’t think it’s weird that you wash your hands in the kitchenette sink. It’s not like you went to the bathroom, then walked over to the kitchenette to wash your hands. Hand-washing and meal-preparing/eating go hand-in-hand (the puns! I’m on fire!) so I don’t find that weird. People are basically washing their hands when they’re done cleaning their dishes, which is what I assume the kitchenette sink is FOR, right? No difference.

    I once heard a woman dry-shaving her legs in the stall next to me. THAT was most definitely not office-appropriate.

  6. Susie says:

    A. Agreed that it feels strangely intimate to find a coworker brushing teeth. That’s such a.. getting ready for work/bed with my spouse moment. BUT I don’t think it’s weird, or that they shouldn’t do it. It just makes me feel weird.

    B. No, those people are drunk. Washing your hands where ever you please is a public service and they should be giving you gold stars.

    C. Ugh. We have a few heavily scented admins, and you can always tell if they’ve been somewhere in the last 15 – 30 minutes. ESPECIALLY the bathroom. It just… lingers. It always makes me feel awkward, just knowing someone has been somewhere. Like unintentional stalking. You MADE me do it!

  7. Kristabella says:

    A. I had to rinse out in the bathroom sink after my tooth extraction and I felt weird about it. I do brush my teeth at work if I have to leave for the dentist’s office. It’s only weird to me when the one person here then washes their toothbrush in the kitchen sink and leaves it there to air dry.

    B. Not weird. I do the same thing.

    C. Ewwwwwwww!

  8. Jess says:

    Definitely not weird to wash your hands in the kitchenette sink. I was actually wondering why you would even ask if that was weird until I saw the part where you’re the one who does it.

  9. Sarah says:

    I am really weirded out by the lady who carries her own air freshener. She must have some serious bathroom embarrassment issues, which I can understand, but in that case I wonder that she doesn’t try harder to save that business for her private bathroom.