This post is literally toilet humour, nothing horribly descriptive but from now on I’m talking shit more than I normally do.
In the UK, before the advent of “24 hour drinking,” the only place to go for a drink after time had been called at 11pm was to a club.
I hate clubs, I craved a lock-in or to go back to a mates house but it was always insisted, usually be the females in the group or the singles, that we go clubbing it “just for a short while.”
I’m reminded of my time in Bradford, in a club called Maestros, the men’s toilets the cloakroom in, luckily hidden around from the eye-line of the actual bogs but enough so the attendants could keep an eye out for any tampering with the fountain of the fish it contained.
That is almost as irritating as going to the loo only to find some poor soul there waiting with a selection of fragrances and pre-torn hand towels.
For me going to the toilet is a private activity but one I’ve learnt to deal with as not solely being unaccompanied if you are in a public place.
Plus pub toilet banter is almost as funny as pub toilet graffiti.
But that is having a pee and having a pee is fine, for me at least, I still have one shy-peeing/cubicle only mate but horses for courses.
Why bring up clubs? Simply because this was my first introduction to the brassy “don’t worry lads, I’ve seen it all before” type of women who, because the facilities in women’s club loos was so inadequate that the only option was to brave the blokes.
And quite a few did, with the usual complaints about the smell and the general state. Still, it was another source of toilet banter.
Fast forward my continued attendance at music festivals. The long queues, or perpetual free-for-all of getting a loo at peak periods. The fear of what awaits as you open the door of an empty one, or the worry that the next person out of the one you are queuing for will be a boy and not a girl. Or the bigger worry for me, the fear that when I leave the portaloo it will be a girl waiting to go in after me.
Lucky them, as I leave them in a better state than I find them (within music festival toilet reason) but it is still with due deference you make that fleeting eye contact and sheepish knowing look that we are all in this together.
“Spotless” used to be my boast if I was particularly drunk, the hopefully allay worries, while also realising that this sort of toilet banter isn’t best done in an open field to complete strangers. Meh.
And so we find ourselves with micro pubs and micro bars and the advent of one, singular shared toilet facility (because as I understand it, to have two or more would require the place to be suitable for disabled access, don’t quote me on that, this blog isn’t about accuracy, just entertainment).
Again; I leave the toilet better than I found it, though it has to be said toilet in micro bars are generally of a better standard that a regular pub, probably because of the far less work required in cleaning just the one, but I still leave the cubicle with the dread of a woman waiting to use it.
However, regardless of sex, if they’ve been the type of person that persistently has tried to open the door when it is clearly locked, then I don’t care. These are the same people that press both the up and down buttons on a lift and then wonder why they go in the wrong direction when they get in the first one that arrives.
Patience. All good things to those who wait.
Which brings us to the title of this piece, which must have happened a good decade ago now I think on it.
There is nothing worse than knowing, on a night out, that you need to poo. In unfamiliar surroundings it is just potty luck, in familiar surroundings it can be worse knowing just how limited your options truly are.
There are times I’ve gone home to use my own loo or, for the price of a drink, borrowed the key to a closer by friend’s house to use theirs.
I’ve gone back to pubs to use better toilets and I’ve gone ahead, leaving drinks behind, in order to get a more comfortable shit somewhere else.
Loo roll is a must. Then a toilet seat. Then a door that locks.
In a Wetherspoons I was, or rather thought I was familiar with, I got caught very short and went to use the gents. In my solitary defence, I was desperate, rather drunk and the entry doors are more or less next to each other.
I flew through the door and briefly acknowledged that the toilet was completely empty as I found a suitable WC.
I was not more than 20 seconds into my ablutions than, very much like the ending of “The Usual Suspects,” all the evidence fell into place.
This place smelt nice. Did I just walk passed sofas and comfy chairs? And a table with magazines on it? Wait, where were the urinals? Why is most of the floor I walked in on still carpeted? Why were there so many cubicles? Is that…is that women’s voices I hear?
This would seem like the least stressful way out of this.
I tensed. Somehow trying to control my releasing of both sound, smell and anything else that could possibly give me up to the new and rightful entrants to the toilets.
Not that shit smells any better out of women but let us not take chances here.
I finished up. Tidied the toilet to within an inch of its ceramic life and then waited, poised for my escape.
The doors closed. Silence. I gave it 5 seconds for the previous occupants to reach minimum safe distance and then I moved. Quickly ran my hands under the tap in a show of some cleanliness and then just hoped that then next few metres to me and the relative safety and embarrassment free zone of the men’s toilets would not be spoiled by the face of any other person witnessing the horrific mistake I made.
I made it to safety, unseen, unspotted. Soaped my hands and washing them properly looked at my suddenly very sober self in the mirror. Dried my hands and rejoined the group.
Somewhere I get the feeling that there is a staff or security member who watched this unfold live. I also get the feeling this did not go as smoothly as I thought it did and have relayed here.
Still, the past is the past, onwards to being confused by foreign toilet signs.
Thanks for reading.