Are you shitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin..
I’d say it takes me a couple of visits to my hotel room toilet until I feel completely at home. I call it:
lavigation: the ability to navigate a toilet which is not ones own, in the dark.
Like one of my own children, I know my loo’s height, width and feel with my eyes closed. It’s a bit like when you unlock your front door – your key is poised at exactly the right height without even looking. Or when you’re in the car and you don’t even need to take your eyes off the road to demist the front and rear window. You just ‘know’, you know?
Obviously I’m coming at this whole toilet-thing from a female-perspective. Male loos are a mystery to me and I’m really happy to keep it that way. Don’t even get me started on a ‘shared’ public loo. (Costa Coffee Mill Hill, I’m talking about you).
Here are my top 10 rules of engagement:
10. Toilet Paper Orientation
Not going to dwell on this. Over. Not under.
9. Toilet Paper ‘Stock’
Mentally scared from the crunchy, transparent ‘toilet paper’ of my primary schooldays, I favour simple soft, white loo roll.
8. Three sheets to the wind
My youngest thinks she’s the Andrex puppy, wrapping the entire roll around her hand. My eldest loves to scrunch the paper to tear it. Husband has a tendency to swipe the roll, so that it trails on the floor. Me? I’m Mary ‘Poopins’ (deliberate typo) – practically perfect in every way. The perforations are there for a reason, duh.
7. Toilet Roll Holders – at home
I grew up with those spring-loaded bastards and swore ‘never again’. But then I saw a loo roll holder so sparkly and pretty, I couldn’t resist for the kids’ new bathroom. Both kids are now completely ‘unable’ to change the loo roll.
In the home, I’m a big fan of single-arm loo roll holders. Simple loading mechanism, no fuss, no muss. Everyone can get involved in replenishing. Except they don’t.
6. Toilet roll holders – in public
As Forrest Gump once said (albeit about chocolates, not toilet roll holders), ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’. Definitely the case with public loos.
Could be a transparent double:
I like these. You can see what’s available and make a quick judgement call.
Then there’s the pathetic ‘napkin dispenser’:
One by one and then all eighty decide to fall to the floor at once, thus emptying the vessel entirely. This leaves you in an embarrassing situation if someone is waiting outside…
“The loo roll’s just run out!!!”
This must be announced VERY LOUDLY. No one wants to admit having to ‘drip dry’.
5. Laying the foundations
I trust my own cleanliness and that of friends, but in public, I practically decopatch the seat.
For this reason, I love the USA and their handy disposable toilet seat covers.
5. Public cubicles
I don’t like seeing other peoples’ shadows or feet next to me – I like a solid cubicle wall either side of me. I can cope with a gap under the door as it reminds me of my youth when the locks were often broken and your mate would put their foot under the door to show they were ‘still there’, guarding your privacy.
For this reason, I hate the USA and its freakishly large gaps around the toilet door.
4. Locks & flushes
A locked door is not always a locked door. You could all be acting very British queuing for a loo that is actually vacant but showing as engaged. However, use caution when busting through a toilet door. Some people aren’t ‘lockers’ and this can be embarrassing for both parties, especially if you end up on a mat next to them in Pilates. If the lock is broken and there is no other option, then get practising on your ‘crouch-reach’ agility. It IS possible, but takes some practise. If you can hang your handbag around your neck as well, then this is considered ‘advanced level’. (No photo available.)
I’m a huge fan of the auto-sensor flush and wish more places had them.
At home, we now have dual flush panels. I just wish at times there was a’total eclipse’ option.
3. First is the worst…
Actually I’ve found that it isn’t. This is my go-to loo when faced with a bank of loos. Almost always overlooked as people dash in heading for the middle loos, whereas this first cubicle is often the cleanest one, because less people use it.
2. Number Two
I like my loo smelling fresh at all times. I’m a big fan of those Toilet Duck fresh discs that stick on the side of the bowl. Add in a reed diffuser and you’re good to go. Unless you need back up, in which case an industrial strength air freshener can be hidden for emergencies.
In public it’s a different matter. I have friends who refuse to go for a number two anywhere but their home throne. (Interestingly, most of these are men.)
And don’t get me started on the judgemental automatic air freshener. I HAVEN’T EVEN UNDONE MY JEANS!!
1. Seat up/Seat down
I always try to consider the etiquette when going into other peoples’ homes and follow their lead. If the lid is down, I place it down afterward. And if I have time, I like to create a little ‘hotel fold’: