It is a well known fact that many people have unpleasant jobs where they must deal with other people’s shit on a daily basis: shrinks, garbage collectors, nannies on temporary visas, U.S. soldiers on active duty in Iraq, and nuclear decontamination technicians. But few have to deal with actual human excrement.
One of my friends worked as a bathroom attendant this summer. His job was to hand out paper towels and keep the restroom clean between 8pm and 4am (sounds simple enough). The place of employment is a bar (this might get complicated) – a gay bar (good luck).
Splash Bar New York is located on 50 West 17th Street in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. It has 10,000 ft² laid out over two floors of, what its website calls, “2 floors of pumping energy.” There’s a 2,000 ft² dance floor, a full stage that somehow transforms into a full length shower, and an eardrum-shattering sound system that will leave you huddled in the fetal position with your hands clamped tightly over your ears screaming for your mommy to bring you ear plugs.
Open seven nights a week, SBNY is always packed and, according to its website, “has had many guest performers including: Brittney Spears…Cyndi Lauper…and other too numerous (and too horrific) to mention.”
During the summer my friend needed some extra cash (who doesn’t?) and walked into SBNY asking if they had positions open. He was in luck – they did.
They basically just told me my job was to make sure things were clean [and to] make sure people weren’t hooking up in the bathroom or doing drugs.
At $13/hr the wage wasn’t too bad, and patrons of the porcelain bowl sometimes gave him tips. But there were times when flowing liquor flowed and throbbing libidos were too much for just an old fashioned peck on the cheek:
On certain nights when it would get really crowded, basically my job would just be to like break people up from going to the bathroom in pairs.
Other minor annoyances included an olfactory sense desensitized to the rancid odor of turds (six straight hours of smelling fecal fumes has a tendency to do that) and unwanted lascivious stares from older gentlemen as they jiggled their distended members before zipping up their flies.
The worst, however, is picking up after clientele wearing beer goggles so thick they mistake the urinal for the stool:
I had to pick up shit from the urinal…Some guys came out of there and [said], “God! It stinks so bad in there. Someone took a shit in the urinal!”