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They can be a large source of anxiety but who hasn't had this experience?

Public toilet

This little piece has been circulating around the internet and emails of women over the last few weeks. It’s filled with some real life truths about public toilets and just why we, as women, dislike them so much… 

When you have to visit a public toilet, 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 cubicle doors.

Every cubicle is occupied..

Finally, a door opens, and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the cubicle. You get in to find the door won’t latch. It doesn’t matter; the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants!

The dispenser for the modern ‘seat covers’ (invented by someone’s Mum, no doubt) is handy but empty. You would hang your bag on the door hook if there was one, so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mum would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!) down with your pants and assume ‘ The Stance

In this position, your ageing, toneless, thigh muscles begin to shake. You’d love to sit down, but having not taken the time to wipe the seat or to lay toilet paper on it, 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, ‘Dear, 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 bag (the bag around your neck, that now you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do, so you crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It’s still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn’t work.

The door hits your bag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest and you and your bag 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 while losing your footing altogether and sliding down directly onto 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 the 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 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 fire hose against the inside of the bowl and spraying a fine mist of water that covers your bum and runs down your legs and into your shoes.

The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force, and you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this 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 sweet wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can’t figure out how to operate the taps with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting

You are no longer able to smile politely to 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, plonk it in 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 toilet. Annoyed, he asks, ‘What took you so long and why is your bag hanging around your neck?

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with any public toilets. It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers that other commonly asked question about why women go to the toilets in pairs. It’s so the other girl can hold the door, hang onto your bag and hand you Kleenex under the door.

This HAD to be written by a woman! No one else could describe it so accurately!

Have you had a public toilet disaster before? Tell us about it in the comments below… 

  1. Dianne Evans  

    Yes that is so funny but true. And if you have grandaughters and they say at top voice what you are doing what they are doing as well so everyone knows on top of dealing with all the rest Hahahah

  2. If the toilet seat isn’t soiled in any way, Is it really so bad for our health to sit on it ??? I worry more about touching the flush buttons and door handles

  3. Patricia  

    I agree with Louise. And while we have become obsessed with germs and cleanliness, I also feel Architects and interior designers need to be held to account. There are ALWAYS too few toilet cubicles in a public toilet. I know we should be thankful there are “Public” toilets. My objection is that, while most users keep the cubicle clean and free of debris, there are those in society who have not been “educated” in the use of toilet pans (some have only ever seen a hole in the ground) and often leave footprints on the toilet seat, and soiled toilet paper/sanitary products on the floor. It’s a waste of time having a printed notice – not everyone can speak or read English. Pictures or ‘stick-figure’ drawings on the wall above the cistern/flush button and back of the door with a big RED X through the incorrect method and a big GREEN TICK through the preferred method of use would certainly help. I could go on about the bad design and placement of toilet roll holders and hooks for your bag – that is a whole other complaint! Its the cleaners who I feel sorry for. Having to clean up after the so-called civilized people.

    • My comment is somewhat a little different being a T1D who needs to have injections certain times of day and especialy when travelling I think it would be a great idea to have a room where diabetics can take their insulin instead of having to use perhaps a smetlly toilet. Not asking for much!!

    • annabel  

      I find architects and designers cut things so ‘short’ where you open the cubicle door and have to stand almost in or on the toilet bowl to get the door to swing close. There is just no room! What were they thinking when they calculated space? To me, that is a hygiene problem as well. Happens too often for it to be a mistake! Damn!

  4. Nola  

    I’ve just escorted two ladies visiting from Overseas, and I’m so embarrassed about the state of our toilets. Designers have their share of the blame for tiny cubicles and doors that only just miss the front of the pan, but by far the lack of cleaning, toilet paper replacement makes public toilets a disgusting experience. I would gladly pay for toilet attendants to keep them clean and tidy.

  5. KATE  

    ok,I have a walker. The cubicles are too small to get it inside with my supplies if needed, so I have to leave the door open and have the walker out of reach. Then the doors always open inward blocking the helpful grab bar and in order to proceed your skirt swipes across the toilet. Forget the seat gaskets, they tear to pieces and will be needed to replace the toilet paper, however they are designed to disintegrate into many pieces sticking to fingers and back sides. Now we are in and have missed the toilet leaving a slippery dangerous lake as you try to exit, again with skirt cleaning up the seat as your nose is on the end of the door and the empty toilet paper container is jamming your exit where your walker is now in the way and full of items which would have helped. So I find it best to wear at least 3 long pads and just hope they are sufficient for my needs so I can get home without the fight for tidyness.

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