The Soap Dispenser Argument

Let me pose a very important hypothetical question to you.

Let’s say you were stranded on a desert island. Then two weeks later another guy also got stranded on the desert island with you. And there was only one coconut on one tree. And you’d already spent a few days trying to get down the coconut, and this new guy came along and he started trying to get the coconut too. Don’t you think that you, being the first coconut pursuer should get the coconut and the second guy who was late to the game should wait or go find his own coconut somewhere else?

If you agree, then the soap dispenser argument is right up your alley.

I was in a public bathroom the other day and I approached the sinks to wash my hands before leaving the space. There were two sinks, but only one soap dispenser. About ten seconds after I started wetting my hands at the sinks, another man approached the sinks and went right for the soap dispenser.

Me: “Uh, can you just hold up there a second, please?”
Him: “Hold up? Why? I’m just washing my hands.”
Me: “As am I. And I was here first. Which grants me usage of the soap dispenser first.”
Him: “You’re kidding, right?”

No. Not in the least.

It’s just common courtesy. If I’m the guy to the sinks first (or the coconut tree), then I should be allowed to get at the soap dispenser first. Not to mention, who knows what kind of a mess you’re going to make when you hit the bottom of that soap dispenser and spill goop all over the counter top and your hands and the dispenser’s lower plastic lip. Give a guy some respect for getting to the sink and the single dispenser first, and let him have his liquid soap day in the sun, so to speak. Don’t get all rushy-rush and cause a problem where there doesn’t have to be one.

So I blocked his way with my back, and sort of used my back to push him out of the way while I got to the soap dispenser first. Which he didn’t like. Which made him push me back, at which point he shoved his dirty, diseased hands towards the soap dispenser and did just what I feared he was going to do, thus my intent on hitting that soapy soap first…

He made a huge, gigantic, gross mess of it all.

Besides pushing him back and trying to wriggle my way to the dispenser first (as should have been the case based on my being at the sinks first), I wasn’t going to start a fist fight over the whole soap scuffle. But it brought up an important point in my mind — that if you’re first to the sinks and there’s only one soap dispenser, no matter how long it takes me…you should wait and out of common courtesy, allow me to hit that soap first.

If there’s two dispensers, go get ’em tiger.

But if there’s only one, you know who gets to lather first.

17 comments on “The Soap Dispenser Argument

  1. Jerry - February 20, 2007 at 9:01 am -

    Personally, Paul, if first dibs at the dispenser is your issue, then maybe you should lick it when someone walks in after you. Mark your territory, man.

    Pushing and shoving in the public restroom over soap? Sounds like Sink Rage has come to your hometown.

  2. Wordmaven - February 20, 2007 at 9:17 am -

    Your examples are not similar enough to make a good comparison. Coconuts on a deserted island = survival. First crack at the soap dispenser? You are just being germphobic and petty.

  3. Pauly D - February 20, 2007 at 9:24 am -

    Jerry – I already did that, J. It didn’t seem to matter to Mr. No Manners.

    Wordmaven – Germs equal disease. Disease equals death. Absence of death equals survival. Therefore, coconuts and soap dispensers both involve survival and are therefore not petty concerns.

  4. josue - February 20, 2007 at 10:27 am -

    No no no.. you had to splash water all over him!

  5. Rae Rae - February 20, 2007 at 10:49 am -

    Is this post officially dedicated to a worthy cause? Or is this a non-N.P.F.P.P.C.O. post?

  6. Pauly D - February 20, 2007 at 11:02 am -

    Rae Rae – Today’s post was dedicated to whales. Whales who are killed for their blubber, which is then turned into make-up for ladies across this country. So, spill a little soap for the beloved whales, okay?

  7. Brando - February 20, 2007 at 2:37 pm -

    I’m going to have to dissent. The person who is ready to lather up should go first. I wouldn’t wait for some person go through a 15 minute moistening-of-hands-routine, just because they got to the dispenser first.

  8. dgm - February 20, 2007 at 5:23 pm -

    this post shocks me. i had no idea men actually washed their hands after using the bathroom.

  9. Angelique - February 20, 2007 at 5:43 pm -

    Sorry, Mr. Hand Wetter, but whoever actually gets the coconut, gets to keep the coconut.

  10. Brooke - February 20, 2007 at 6:20 pm -


  11. LilStyler - February 20, 2007 at 8:52 pm -

    O.K…. I was just searching on google “Janie and Jack” and happened to come across your blog about them and “Babystyle”. Now I have spent an hour reading some of your blogs and I HAVE to tell you…this is some of the funniest #### I have EVER read! I totally agree with the coconut/soap dispenser thingy BTY! Keep it up!

  12. Eric - February 21, 2007 at 7:51 am -

    Yeah I say you snooze you lose. If you’re just going to hang out wetting your hands for five minutes then thats your mistake. This poor guy shouldn’t have to wait because you have some crazy hand washing rituals. And as far as the coconut goes, if you spent two weeks trying to get a cocnut out of a tree and failed then that coconut is totally up for grabs.

  13. Wordmaven - February 21, 2007 at 9:47 am -

    Paul, I knew you were going to say that. But consider this: you have traumatized lather-first guy to the point he will discontinue washing after using public bathrooms! And as dgm mentioned, it’s shocking men wash at all. You are sending a germy, diseased guy out to infect every surface out there!

  14. Jen - February 21, 2007 at 4:08 pm -

    Hrm. That one has never occurred to me. Maybe my city just isn’t big enough for it to come up that often. Or maybe, I don’t go to the bathroom in public that often.

    er… I meant in public bathrooms.

    No, really.

    I do, however, have lots of issues about the correct procedures to get on and off buses. Lots.

  15. H.F. Peterman - February 21, 2007 at 6:12 pm -

    As strange and demented as this post is…I agree with you Pauly.

    How can he NOT at least wet his hands before soaping up. Come on, thats like lathering up in the shower and THEN turning on the water. Or soaping up your car with it being dry and then rinsing it off. There are some clear cut laws of physics here folks.

    He should have definately yielded to your “ready to be soaped” hands. It’s just common courtesy.

  16. CJ - February 22, 2007 at 8:24 am -

    I completely agree with this statement, and with all things that involve common courtesy, for you bowling types… you let the person up to the lane bowl first when they’re in the lane next to you; you get there first, you go first.
    This can be used in all accounts of life, menage e’ trois, ordering online at the deli, ticket counter at the airport, sitting at the crack cocaine mirror… whatever your walk of life… follow the basic rules;
    first come, first served

  17. Jan - February 22, 2007 at 10:03 am -

    Proper handwashing technique requires the wetting of hands first. It’s a fact.

    Stick to your guns, Paul.

    P.S. Did the soap smell like coconut?

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