I’ve been using a toilet since I was two years old, give or take, and the only times I can ever recall sitting on one without a shirt on were when the following applied: 1. I was at the home base (or temporary living quarters like a hotel), and 2. I was already shirtless when the need to evacuate hit me — hanging around the house, prepping for a shower, after doing yard work, etc. That’s it, really. Under any other circumstances, I was doing my business with a shirt on. You know, like an adult.
That was until recently, when my bathroom world got turned upside down. I noticed I had developed a natural propensity to go Costanza style in the office restroom.
The Bathroom Costanza – The “Bathroom Costanza” is the practice of de-shirting before occupying a toilet seat, and remaining shirtless throughout the duration of one’s time on said seat. Per George Costanza, this enables one to feel free and unhindered while completing the task at hand.
George likes to feel free and loose on the toilet, unencumbered by the perils of a clothed torso. It’s a little out there, but I get it. It wasn’t my reason, but I feel George here. So, why did I pick up the habit?
Out of pure instinct, I would walk into the stall of our office restroom, assess my environment, secure the door latch, check the seat for cleanliness, then, for reasons I’m still investigating, I’d de-shirt before taking my seat. After a solid year of practicing the Bathroom Costanza, I thought to myself, Why am I doing this? I’m an adult. I’m not a child. What’s the point of this? Am I afraid of getting shit on my shirt? Nah, that’s never happened to me before. Am I afraid my shirt will dip into the toilet water? No. That, too, has never occurred during my vast bathroom experience. Then why? And why is it different here that at home?
I don’t know these people. They don’t know me. I don’t want to know these people. But we share a shitter.
I’ve only come up with one theory, and even that one is still in its developmental stages. Honestly, it’s not quite ready to be known to outsiders, but I’m afraid it’ll never get there, so I’m sharing it with you all now. Here’s my theory: strangers use the same restroom, which has caused me to feel the need to minimize contact between myself and them. We share an office with about four other lessees — a few doctors’ offices and some sort of mortgage finance company. I don’t know these people. They don’t know me. I don’t want to know these people. But we share a shitter. That means some unknown asses touch the same seat my ass touches. I don’t know these asses. They don’t know mine. I don’t want to know these asses. But they share a toilet seat with mine. Now, this doesn’t necessarily make for an uncomfortable restroom environment, but it does make for an unfamiliar one. Fear of the unknown is the motivation here.
To minimize contact between myself — including all of my belongings (my shirt, particularly) — and these strange people and their asses, I think I’ve turned to subconsciously removing the only detachable thing possible, ie. my shirt.
I can’t let it get contaminated. You know some 55-year-old man named Gary is coming back from lunch at Arby’s and setting up camp in there for 45 minutes, probably reading the paper and spreading his funk all around that place. I don’t really know hat he’s doing in there, but I have to assume the worst. It’s not pretty. I can’t have my shirt in that kind of environment. It’s unsafe. It’s unsanitary. Why? Not sure really. I guess because I just don’t know Gary. Gary might be the most disgusting human on the planet, and until I meet the man — I never will — I won’t be able to cross that possibility off the Gary profile.
I’m a Costanza shitter. Not a proud one, but I’m pretty cool with it. As I exit that stall, I throw my threads back on, wash up, then I walk out feeling like my shirt is still as fresh as the day it left the factory. I take solace in that.
Someone’s going to walk in, see it, and think you’re in there doing all kinds of freaky shit. Screw that guy, though.
Who else goes Costanza style in the shitter? Stand up. Tell someone. We’re out there. You’re not alone. Tell me your story. Where do you set your shirt after taking her off? You have a hook in there you get to hang it on? Do you fold her up and set her on the TP dispenser? Maybe you use a handicap stall and get to hang it on the handrail in there. That’s a sweet setup. You obviously can’t fling it over the top of the stall door and leave it there. It’s too risky. Someone’s going to walk in, see it, and think you’re in there doing all kinds of freaky shit. Screw that guy, though. He doesn’t understand you. He’s a shirt-on type of guy, and Gary’s funk is probably clinging to him.
Maybe we can have a shirtless meet-and-greet sometime, really talk it out. Are we weird? Perhaps. After all, George Costanza is the most neurotic sitcom character of all time.