Saturday, September 23, 2006

Public toilets

My Brother in law sent me the below email, thinking that it was a good joke! I was stunned... it is the story of my life. It is especially relevant as I am about to embark on a 3 week adventure in Asia, and are close to moving to a country with not many western style toilets.

Subject: The truth about ladies toilets Ladies ....Oh so True! When you have to visit a public toilet, you usually find a queue 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 proceed in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. The dispenser for the modern "seat covers"(invented by someone's mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your handbag 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." (Kangaroo?) 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." The smell coming from the cubicle next to you, is overwhelming! 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 mom's voice saying, "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 handbag. 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 handbag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your handbag topple backward against the cistern 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 on the TOILET SEAT. It is wet, of course. 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 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 get." 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 firehose 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 are 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. Now, you wash your hands then try to work the automatic hand dryer that is conveniently "out of order" so you wipe your hands on your jeans and walk past the line of women still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely to them. You don't want to touch the door handle because it has "germs"! As you exit, you spot your husband, who has long since entered, used and left the men's toilets. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your handbag hanging around your neck?" This is dedicated to women everywhere who have to deal with public toilets. 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 loos in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your handbag and hand you Kleenex under the door.
I have experienced many different toilets around the world...
  • Top of the Eiffel tower- good
  • Every toilet in Italy- bad!
  • France....Disgusting!
  • Hoover dam,USA (port-a loo's) unspeakable!!!!!
  • Australia, good, bad and ugly
  • China, good and bad beyond description
  • USA, strange.( USA have heaps more water than Australian loo's and huge gaps between the door frames.
  • Tahiti airport, no doors, male armed guards visible from stalls.
I consider my self an average female toilet expert. After a few champagne's a few years ago my sister (extremely good leg muscles- has not touched a non family toilet seat in over 15 years!!!!) and I decided that the next time we visited China we would rather wear ****** or ****** than use the local squat options.

Which it is why I was pleased to discovered this site...
The Bathroom Diaries
travelers leave comments and rate toilets around the world on their data base. You can look up all the locations you will be visiting and know the best place to "visit".

GJ read this and said "Are you for real? This is stupid!" and fell to floor in disbelief when I explained that this is how I feel about public toilets. He thinks I have some serious phobias.
Please leave a comment so I can show my darling husband that I am not abnormal!


Anonymous said...

LOL. You're slightly above normal, Jen! :D

Frankly I am fussy about toilet but I'm not that phobia of "germs" on the handle. I can wash my hands afterwards :)

Jen3 @ Amazing Triplets said...

No, you are not abnormal. Public restrooms GROSS me out. Did you happen to see the post on my blog about this??? Here's the link:

I think this is truly one of the most brilliant contraptions EVER and am still considering the purchase of THREE for my toddlers. LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post of the email your brother sent you. I laughed out loud as I read all the things I have done at one time or another in the world of public restrooms. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

IndoIan said...

Hi Jenny,
I am a guy so I think public toilets aren't nearly as big a deal - its more a matter of how long you can hold your breath ...
Thanks very much for your comment on my blog. Living in Indo makes it pretty easy to have an interesting blog - so many fascinating things out and about. Glad to hear that the kids liked it!
I hope your visit to Jakarta works out well. It is quite a city; somewhat difficult to navigate but you get used to it. Being in Indo is the real perk - it has so much to offer and is a great jumping off point for Southeast Asia.
Emmerson is a joy.
How do you plan on getting around in Jakarta? If you don't have a driver I suggest Blue Bird taxi service - metered and reliable. Or you can rent a car and driver as well - enjoy your vacation.
Thanks again and best of luck.