Following on from my bid for positivity (see previous post), I am celebrating the smaller, more overlooked things in life. You may wish to think of me as an urban Thoreau after you’ve read this because I am reflecting like a really reflective thing, like something that you would get out of a cereal box and fit to your bike spokes …yessss….that reflective.
Today I have been mostly reflecting on ladies toilets. Loos. Public bathrooms. La-va-tory. I have a particular disdain for the latter; phonetically too close to ‘laboratory’, although in some ways I guess they are both twin chambers of pain and hygiene.
Ho hum. So here are my cumulative reflections on public restrooms (notice how transcontinental I am with my terminolgy?). This list is more or less in praise of the loo as an area which recognises no cultural or class divide. Ideally, I would like to see if women in other countries have similar or different experiences to me. Don’t worry, there is no scat in the following list.
Observation 1: A woman will have always been walked in on during the act at least once in their life. Those doors are not consistently up to scratch.
Observation 2: A woman will have always tried to hold the door closed with her foot or hand while trying to reach the bowl with her behind to pee. I think this usually stems from being traumatised by first hand experience of observation 1.
Observation 3: Wiping someone else’s pee off the bowl. I’m sorry. I had to ‘go there’. Besides, we’ve all had to do it. With pursed lips. And a little bit of tissue.
Observation 4: Deliberating over asking your cubicle neighbour for toilet roll. The disembodied hand under the gap, proffering bog paper like a white flag. It’s a bit like the trenches, except you’re the surrender monkey who should have checked the necessaries before you sat down, sucker!
Observation 5: Speculating on the provenance of the damp patch on the toilet roll. You may have gathered that I don’t frequent the Ritz very often.
Observation 6: Being distracted by the little lady on the sanitary disposal bag. Why her? Why anyone?
Observation 7: Having to pretend to wash your hands for longer than necessary because some woman is taking forever on the hand dryer. Or awkwardly sharing hand dryer with them, eyes glazed, breath held. It’s too intimate.
Observation 8: Ruminating on the creative process behind hand towel and hand soap colours. Did they market research what colour hands respond to? And did aforementioned research point conclusively to the colour ‘light teal’?
Observation 9: The quiet charm of encountering a good hand dryer. And indulging in it. A Dyson Blade is like a work of art.
Observation 10: Fear of the exit door handle. In fact, any handle in that room (especially flush). Do you cover your hand with your sleeve? Or just avert your eyes? Seriously I need to know. This is important work.
And gents, I apologise if this has ruined the mystique of what goes on behind the gilded ‘Ladies’ sign. I’m sure you imagined it to be like a Disney cartoon back there, with little bluebirds flying around, delivering scented towlettes and flushing the chain for us. I’m sorry. But if you would like to share anything that you would class as a globally resonant toilet-based observation, I am very keen to learn.
Your thoughts are welcome.