One of your less cool and interesting experiences through life, and its weird little u-turns, is visiting the worldwide facility for assisting you with number 1 and 2 – The Cubicle Toilet adventure. Cubicles have been around for centuries and they are one of the less amazing inventions left by the ancient Roman an Greek civilizations. I’m sure every great ancient civilisation across the Globe have had their take on cubicle toilets – and neither of them has managed to make this a glamorous event. Sitting next to somebody pooping, while talking, is not my idea of a friendly conversation. It’s beyond me, but some public toilets in ancient Rome were designed as a giant bench of stone, with holes that was used by the public.
Certain things must, for the sake of humanity, be left to the private space of a lockable toilet – preferably in the comfort of your home. On the other hand, I do understand that business and shopping areas are forced to create some toilet facilities for employees and visitors. And it is not feasible with only one toilet. Imagine the queues. Obviously, and for the record, I’m only talking about toilets designated for men.
OK, the worst thing for me when going to these small public toilets, is the fact that some men strongly believe that once they are inside their little cubicle, they are sitting in a soundproof room. You know and you have heard what I describe, but there’s nothing like sitting next door to a guy who grunts and farts loudly. I’m finding it hard to sometime contain my laughter. Even worse, you know that you might have to face that person, when you both are done with your assigned jobs. You wash your hands, but can’t help glancing at the door with the weird noises. You rush and wash your hands, spraying water on your crutch, making it look like you peed on your pants, all to avoid having too meet the fart dude. This is in particular a difficult and awkward moment at work, especially when you think you know the person!
The freaky thing about work toilets, is when you are aiming for the urinal, and all of a sudden the door is forced open by the cleaning lady. She’s cool about the whole thing and gets on with her cleaning duties, all while you try to cover yourself. If you are sitting on the toilet, then you would probably just lift your feet while she is washing the floor from underneath the door.
What about transportable toilets, normally used for concerts? People think that, just because it is made of plastic, they can spray pooh and pee the inside of the cubicle, not considering the next visitor. You open the door, only to be greeted by a smell that would trigger WMD or biohazard alerts, but you have no choice but to enter. The biggest fears I have in these rooms are that:
- It is normally so dark inside. Only the light from a ridiculous vent on the roof is lit up so you have no idea what you might be stepping on.
- 9 out of 10 times, there is no toilet paper, or anything resembling paper, meaning you might have to rip up your smoke pack (if you smoke) or some other paper-like items, just to finish properly
- The seat!!! Is there a seat and what state is it in?
- Don’t drop anything into the hole! I read a scary story about a woman who managed to drop her purse into the hole. She got stuck with both arms while attempting to reach it.
Something that amazed me as a kid, was the Italian hole-in-the-floor toilet. As a young boy visiting Italy a lot, this always proved to be a HUGE challenge. Squatting down, holding onto one or two handles (two if you were lucky), while attempting to aim and hit the bloody little hole. I had loads of accidents as a kid, mainly peeing on my pants or dropping a cake on the step – never the hole – and I have since stayed clear of those public toilets. I would rather walk an extra mile, squeezing the cheeks or bladder, until I would find a suitable toilet.
I also remember having to visit an outdoor toilet, a small cabin away from the house, when going to Sweden and Norway with my parents when I was only 6 or 7 years old. Again, you have to open the door that DOES NOT lead to Narnia, and sit on this wooden plank with a hole. You have no idea what’s below and I felt sorry for my dad when he had to empty the toilet on those holidays. The smell was unbelievable.
My worst experience EVER, was having to pooh in a trash-bin next to a church in Greenland. There were no toilets or trees for miles and miles, so My dad held me while I did my stuff – not the proudest moment in my life, but I really had to go.
Most of public toilets, and pub toilets, often remind me of warzones. Men are culprits for treating these toilets with little respect. That’s why 99.9% of these facilities smell of pee – old pee. You can only breathe through your mouth, although it still gives you a burning sensation at the back of the mouth – some acidy stinging feeling. Horrible, but again, you gotta go, so you make the visit quick. Women, for your information, a large majority of men do NOT wash their hands after their visits!
One aspect of visiting public restrooms is the amount of graffiti and greetings written by previous visitors. How they find the time to write these messages is beyond me, but fair play to them. Some funny quotes: “If you can read this, then you are peeing on your shoes!!”, “Paddy is gay” (so what?) and “I hate everybody” or the international version “SHIT!” You could probably write a book about this phenomenon, but I’ll leave that for somebody else.
When visiting Paris some years ago, my wife told me that I had to visit the toilet. This particular bar was dedicated to the Pope, Virgin Mary, Jesus and all the saints, so it was a somewhat new experience buying a pint. Anyway, I do not know how my wife knew what the inside of the men’s toilet looked like, but I ventured in. Sweet Lord, the toilet walls were covered in all kinds of pornographic pictures, which would surprise even John Holmes. No wonder the queue to the men’s room was so long!
My American high school experience, almost 20 years ago, introduced a new cubicle experience. The toilets didn’t have any doors! This was mainly to prevent drug use. but it meant that you were doing your stuff among friends and foes. I know we are talking team sports in the US, but some things are individual sports. I had no problem holding in number 2 for days.
Fart, grunts, smells, chatting and pee covered floors! What we men have to overcome just to relieve ourselves. You girls should be lucky that you have to sit down, and I hope you have a better toilet culture than men, when visiting toilets outside your home. Men can, on the other hand, pee anywhere in the Wild – and some men I’m sure will attempt to do both too, if they are really desperate.
Once at a festival, I saw this punk woman who wanted to pee among us men, against the fence. She dropped her leather pants and knickers, and held on to the fence while starting to pee. But, with all the pee from us men, the place was a bit muddy. With a whoosh, her right leg and then her left leg slipped, and she sat down bare assed in the mud – man, all the guys along the fence we pissing and laughing at the same time. I’m sure she would never try this again.
These were some of my weird moments and experiences with the cubicle latrine -nothing amazing or fascinating, and to some probably a ridiculous blog – but hey, it might spark a few funny comments from you too.