Certain matters need no classroom training but a little personal rationale and discretion. This is so especially with general sanitation, personal hygiene and mannerism. Let us consider toilet matters, for instance.
How you keep the condition of your toilet matters a lot. If you have a toilet in your house, you might think you are excused from such anomalies that strike people every day. But you are not until you keep it clean inside there all the time. You might feel everything is normal in your house until you hear it in the scuttles of gossipers that you are keeping dead rats in your house.
So, you would better spend money and time in buying toilet detergents, scourers and airfresheners, and in cleaning your toilet rather than creating yourself a bad name, and that is only if you value a good name. Anyway, who cherishes not a good name?
Compound latrines are the same meat, different gravy. When the in-house toilet is kept tight under watch and control, the compound latrine is left out for everyone’s use, unless it is lockable. This, however, does not disclaim your responsibility to keep it clean all day. When you have visitors, they will not care whether you use it alone or you leave it for public utility. When they find it clatty, all they will think is, you are careless and unhygienic.
Toilets with bowls are more prone to unhygienic conditions. I would not encourage such for public utility. I once heard of a story in which a woman rushed into a toilet after heavy downpour and quickly opened the bowl and sat on it. Oh my! She got it all, all the caca on her – the water in the bowl had risen, I do not know how. But whether it is true or not, I would refrain from using such public toilets unless otherwise.
Some people do not understand that latrines are all-visitors rooms. Most people do not fancy shutting themselves tight in latrines because it causes them discomfort. They would therefore pull in the door and leave it untightened. There is no problem with doing that. And it costs you nothing, in return, to tap lightly on the door before moving in. Even if it were in your homestead, etiquette would still demand that you knock. Just knock, and when you hear that slim faint voice, wait or walk up to another.
Picking up phone calls or reading and replying text messages in the latrine is another common yet very dangerous mistake. It is not always all the time that you receive pleasantries on phone. Most people have lost their phones at the expense of such. Others have been forced to pick up and wash their phones after unconsciously letting them go off their hands into the trash-receiving area.
I have also, more than once, come across foodstuffs and pills on the floors of public washrooms. And I remained to ask myself over and over: why would one run into a lavatory to eat or take drugs. Could it be fear of public mockery and ridicule? Oh! It is a matter that quite baffles me often.
There is another group of individuals who use hard papers (ink and printing papers) in flash toilets. These materials clog the tubes that carry the wastes away. This is, in fact, one major cause of foul-smelling toilets. Buying a soft toilet paper at a few coins to use for one to two weeks is not possibly extravagance.
In a nutshell, toilet hygiene and etiquette are not a call for duty but just important aspects without which we would be deviating from normal standards of living and social norms. Next time you excuse yourself to see a man about a dog, promptly do the necessary in a morally acceptable manner.