Friday, May 26, 2006

Women in public loos

This one's courtesy my good friend S. I just had to share it with you.

My mother was a fanatic about public restrooms. When I was a little
girl, she'd take me into the stall, show me how to wad up toilet paper and
wipe the seat. Then she'd carefully lay strips of toilet paper to cover the seat.

Finally, she'd instruct, "Never, NEVER sit on a public toilet seat Then
she'd demonstrate "The Stance," which consisted of balancing over the
toilet in a sitting position without actually letting any of your flesh make
contact with the toilet seat.

That was a long time ago. Now, in my "mature" years, "The Stance" is
excruciatingly difficult to maintain.

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of
women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you
check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied. Finally, a door
opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.
You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter.

The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mom,
no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook,
if there were one, but there isn't - so you carefully but quickly drape it
around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the
FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance."
In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake.
You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat
or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you
discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your
mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you
would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the
one that's still in your purse. That would have to do. You crumple it in the
puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work. The
door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your
chest and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.
"Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your
precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing
altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT. It is wet of

You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom
has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered
seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even
if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew,
because, you're certain, her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat
because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so
confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose that
somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet
paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too. At that point, you give up.

You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're
exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket
and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't figure out how to
operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands
with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women, still
You are no longer able to smile politely them.

A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet
paper trailing from your shoe. ( Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank
the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and tell her warmly,
"Here, you just might need this."

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and
left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is
your purse hanging around your neck?"

. . . This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public
restroom (rest??? you've got to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men
what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked
question about why women go to the restroom in pairs. It's so the other
gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door.


M (tread softly upon) said...

Just brilliant! It's every gal's nightmare. You won't mind my fwding this to some friends (with proper credit of course).

Priya said...

lol...of course not!

Harjee Kapur said...

You answered a question haunting me since school days.... As I grew older I attributed the paired visits to the ladies loo to pmsing.
But today, thanks to you, I stand enlightened.

Thank you :-)

ps- your a journalist so this might sound rhetoric, but you write well. Humour is the most subjective, hence most difficult nuance to capture.
You rocked it... cheers

Teleute said...

tomar ei post ta ami The Good Loo Guide-e link korlam.

eve's lungs said...

Every woman's nightmare - the public loo !Good to know there has been a shareout of the horrors of the public loo - I loved the post.

"sen"sational said...

In one word...BRILLIANT!!

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Well, let's just say that some of us aren't THAT curious to find out what goes on behind the closed doors of a ladies' loo. But since that info seems to have been volunteered, even those who were originally curious must be kicking themselves :-)

Found my way here from J. A. P's...

Priya said...

@Harjee: Dude, As I grew older I attributed the paired visits to the ladies loo to pmsing- Paired visits akin to PMS..wwwhoaa! Thanks for enlightening me too! And, thanks for the compliment.
@Toots::)What can I say? Honoured at the dubious distinction??
@ eve's lungs, sensational, ghostoftomjoad: Thanks and welcome to my parlour.
@Ghost: I just killed whatever curiosity there might have been, irrespective of its degree. Always believe in being and keeping people well-informed:). Pleasure's mine, either way.

Möbius said...

Once again a brilliant one!! My wife absolutely loved this post. And now I can not show any sign of impatience when she takes a long time "in there"

Priya said...

@Mobius: Welcome back, after aeons. Patience, my friend, pays. Give it a shot.

Möbius said...

Yeah, I had pretty much disappeared - loads of work.

I have learnt my lessons ...

Generally_Speaking said...

Great post