Restroom, lavatory, potty, water closet, outhouse, privy, latrine, earth closet, the facilities, washroom, powder room, lav, throne, bog, loo, honey bucket, tea room, dunny, crapper, pooper, thunderbox, cottage, netty, little girls room, and finally…. toilet; these are the many words, and more, we have to describe the delicate area in which we ladies me pause for a moment in public to ‘power our nose’.
Every girl is taught from a young age how to tinkle in a public toilet. Each mother teaches her daughter the main rules of public use.
1. Always check for the cleanest stall first.
2. Always put down a rim of toilet paper to protect your bum from previous potty sprinkles. It will also alert you to a shortage of TP. This is a mandatory step even though you will not actually be sitting on a public toilet.
3. Hold all of your belongings in your arms. Things left hanging may get stolen from the ‘reach over grab’, and things on the floor is just gross. Many of us need to resort to the ‘mouth hold’ of the purse, phone, and latte. The problem becomes accentuated when traveling with children or luggage. One hand must be available while the other holds everything else.
4. Expose your lady parts delicately and quickly as to not have a bum exposed to the air for too long.
5. The most important and skilled rule of them all…. the hover. We are all taught the squat, hover, bum stick out, one leg higher, don’t let you bum touch the seat, aim into the bowl, and don’t sprinkle on the seat manoeuvre. This stressful and well practiced skill is used many times a day by women all over the world.
6. The wipe. I would like to think this is a personal matter. The point is to tidy up.
7. The act of readjustment and redressing of clothing can take time. Remember one hand is in use, and the other is holding a baby, texting home, getting hygiene products from the depths of a bottomless purse, and holding a latte.
8. The flush. Absolutely, under no circumstances can you touch the handle, button, lever, or nob. This must be done, with the foot, with the practiced balance of a ninja while pulling up your drawers, chasing a toddler, and tucking in any strings.
9. After follow these simple rules the final step is to wash your hands, check your makeup, update your Facebook, adjust your undies, and make the three point shot with the used paper towel into the bin as you open the door only using your elbow.
Simple really. Although life does set about a few other obstacles.
Men wonder at the reasoning for the bathroom visits that take hours. There is a major process in the simple act of a tiny tinkle. As you can see, with all the above processing. It might take awhile. Waiting is also an issue. As I teacher I might need to wait until lunch.
For the past six months I have been tinkling in public restrooms all over the world. From the classy thrones of Japan, that wash, dry, and deodorize your bum for you, to the do it yourself dig a hole camping in the outback, I have noticed that there are many types, sizes, colors, and even heights. Last week I found myself with a toilet that wasn’t even bolted down. Each country has its own signatures such as door latches or under stall door heights. People even have home potties for guests with fun signs and messages for you to read. If you have yet to hear of ‘poo pourie’ please check it out.
As a matter of cleanliness and comfort I have found there are four types of TP
1. The John Wayne TP- Tough, hard, and don’t take crap off anyone.
2. Dust Bunnies- Super soft and leave a trail of fluffy behind.
3. Single Ply- Why would someone invent or purchase single ply! This leaks through. Lame.
4. Final countdown- This is the final sheets and you must make calculated decisions as to cleaning strategy. You only have three squares….how will you use them!
Recently I encountered a rather challenging and disastrous lavatory experience. After drinking a litre of water and driving a million miles, I realized I myself had to tinkle like a race horse. Knowing I had to make it to the next town, I could feel my foot begin to push down the accelerator a bit more…. and more. The public toilets were are the far end of town and I was about to burst by the time I parked and waddled up. The ladies restroom was being used. I was presented with the choice many women face. Do I use the men’s potty? It was free. No men were around. I had to pee an ocean. So I went in. Thinking only of my need to tinkle now before my bladder burst, I ignored all the wisdom of my mother and the above rules of lavo use. I began my hover over this encrusted yellow sticky hole without attending to the previous rules. I was in mid hover when I felt my ankles get shaky in the shoes I did not put on all the way as I exited the car quickly. I was beginning to fall. Ohhhhh nnoooooo I’m fallliinnggggggggg! My bum it the bowl rim (no I didn’t put down the seat) before I could comprehend the disaster. That is when I realized, there was no toilet paper.