Corporate Mens’ Rooms: Where the REAL Decisions Are Made

Posted on October 25, 2011

An article this morning over at CNN tackles one of the most frequently asked questions “what do you do”? and its import to our society of knowing the answer.  It was illustrated by the above photo.  When I first looked at it, I thought that men’s rooms around the country had been integrated but then a second look let me know the setting was a row of cubicles.  But it reminded me of another question:  Where are many of the key corporate decisions reached?  SamHenry knows the answer.

At a large international firm where Sam once worked, there was a unisex, single stall bathroom next to the men’s room with walls like paper.  At first Sam was self-conscious about being overheard as it were.  But then, the value of the porous wall came into full screen – Sam could hear everything going on in that bathroom.  Most of what was done was corporate not personal business.  It was a revelation.  Where else except the men’s sauna at Capital Hill where Rham put the squeeze on a Congressman to resign is the value of nailing people in a vulnerable state of great value?

There was always one “leader” and a few “yes” men and a couple that needed to be programmed.  Those uninitiated responded like dogs that wanted the alpha dog to know that they were submissive – they would roll over and agree.  Sam was hooked.  After awhile her colleagues thought she must have intestinal problems.  The only difficulty came in pretending not to be listening but to be tending to business.

But like a good scientist, Sam wanted to test this hypothesis so she stationed herself outside those men’s rooms at airports with the long open corridor.  Thesis confirmed.  As in the office ahead of a meeting, a group traveling together would “evacuate” just before takeoff (one airline actually let it be know it lightens the load and saves fuel) and receive or discuss last minute strategy.

In her youth and with dyslexia, Sam often ended up IN the men’s room.  She learned how to walk backwards in high heels just like Ginger Rogers.  Now Sam is not into reporting what else goes on in men’s rooms.  You can find those reports in the Enquirer.