There are a lot of things I avoid doing in public as part of my personal rules.
...sing with my ipod on, and my headphones in
...fall on either of my ends (face or derriere)
...have a booger
...walk around boisterously talking about llamas and ardvarks.
Now. I have done, or am close to others who have done, all of these things. And as terrible as they all are, there is one activity worse than all of these, that all of us must do in a public setting.
Use the restroom.
I mean really, is there a more embarassing place than a public restroom? I despise them, yet in my current situation I use them 3-4 times daily. I was using one the other day, and I realized that (at least for women) we have quite the system of public bathroom etiquette.
I am not going to get into the endless rules about choosing stalls, what you do when you run out of tp (we've all been there right?), how you try not to look at eachother in the mirror while washing hands, not judging a stranger for checking out her backside in the mirror before she leaves (we all do it), no. I am going to address the cough-sniff.
I have only yet noticed two circumstances in which to use this tool.
The example below is adapted to only four stall or less bathrooms
One: When you entered the bathroom it was vacant, and you entered to take care of your needs. After you have finished your business, but before you've left the stall, another person enters. You must cough-sniff to let them know you are there, so they don't do anything embarrassing.
Two: You have finished washing your hands and are leaving the bathroom. You know there is only one other person in the bathroom, and they have been sitting in their stall with no noise for quite some time. You must cough-sniff as you leave so they know that you are departing, and they should hurry and get out all embarassing noises before the next woman enters the bathroom.
I was amazed at this system that I had been taking for granted for quite some time.
We have all also had that moment when some woman ignores this part of the bathroom code.
It's embarassing for all involved.
*This is the more refined way of refering to farting, and is part of the embarassing things that the cough-sniff help keep private.