Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creepy by association: the bathroom

The shower scene. I could stop right there and you'd know what I was talking about. It's this week's Creepy by association.

You are naked. The water hitting your head muffles any other sounds that might give you a hint to what lurks outside the curtain. You are focused on the task at hand and vulnerable. This is not just a shower at the Bates Motel, but just about every shower you will ever take.

Even without the intention of startling someone, sneaking up on them in the shower can get you a big scream. It's that vulnerability, that lack of control. Natural human shame at our nude bodies precludes us from running, stark naked, for help. You're doomed.

The bathroom, in general, can be creepy. In the shower you are at least on your feet. If you happen to be caught on the john with your pants around your ankles you might as well kiss your exposed ass goodbye.

And public restrooms are even worse.

My wife's advice is to always take the stall next to the wall.

I'm always reminded of the Stephen King story "Sneakers," in which a very regular man sees the same pair of sneakers beneath a stall door until it messes with his movements and he has to find out why the sneakers are covered in flies and he never sees anyone else going in or out of that stall. I first read the story in the collection "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," the first King book I ever bought. Snagged it for my birthday that year after a couple years of reading library copies of King's work.

Don't for a moment believe you are safer taking a bath than a shower.

Home or away, doing your daily business can be a frightening thing. Best to look the door and hope no one is in there with you.


  1. Candyman... Sweets for the sweet *shudder*

  2. SJ... Candyman is oneof my favorite films and another great example of the horrors of public restrooms. Expect a dedicated post on Candyman in the future.

  3. I think it's important to mention that people (women? I can only speak on behalf of my gender, I suppose) are/were timid about showers before Hitchcock made that film. That's why it worked. That's why clear shower curtains were invented, also why when you check into a hotel room, the curtain is always placed in the exact center of the tub -- so no one can hide behind it. Also why I require my husband to announce his presence in the bathroom if I'm in the shower -- and why sometimes he doesn't and then sticks his head in the curtain while I'm not looking at scares the BEEJEZUS OUT OF ME. TJ, you jerk!

    And I hate public bathrooms. Especially if someone is in the stall next to me. I just curl up in a ball and put my head on my legs and try to take up as little space as possible. At least if they wanted to stab my head, they'd miss!