Tales from the loo
My mother was a fanatic about public toilets.
As a little girl, she''d bring me in the stall, teach
me to wad up toilet paper and wipe the seat. Then,
she''d carefully lay strips of toilet paper to cover
the seat. Finally, she''d instruct, "Never, never sit
on a public toilet seat."
And she''d demonstrate "The Stance," which consisted of
balancing over the toilet in a sitting position
without actually letting any of your flesh make
contact with the toilet seat. But by this time, I''d
have wet down my leg. And we''d go home.
That was a long time ago. Even now in our more mature
years, The Stance is excruciatingly difficult to
maintain when one''s bladder is especially full. When
you have to "go" in a public bathroom, you find a line
of women that makes you think there''s a half-price
sale on Mel Gibson''s underwear in there. So, you wait
and smile politely at all the other ladies, also
crossing their legs and smiling politely. And you
finally get closer. You check for feet under the stall
doors. Every one is occupied.
Finally, a stall door opens and you dash, nearly
knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in
to find the door won''t latch. It doesn''t matter. You
hang your purse on the door hook, yank down your pants
and assume "The Stance." Relief. More relief.
Then your thighs 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
as your thighs experience a quake that would register
an eight on the Richter scale.
To take your mind off it, you reach for the toilet
paper. The toilet paper dispenser is empty. Your
thighs shake more. You remember the tiny tissue that
you blew your nose on that''s in your purse. It would
have to do. You crumble 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 and your purse whams you in the head.
"Occupied!" you scream as you reach out for the door,
dropping your tissue in a puddle and falling backward,
directly onto the toilet seat.
You get up quickly, but it''s too late.
Your bare bottom has made contact with all the germs
and life forms on the bare seat because YOU never laid
down toilet paper, not that there was any, even if you
had enough time to. And your mother would be utterly
ashamed of you if she knew, because her bare bottom
never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly,
"You don''t know what kind of diseases you could get."
And by this time, the automatic sensor on the back of
the toilet is so confused that it flushes, sending up
a stream of water akin to a fountain and then it
suddenly sucks everything down with such force that
you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of
being dragged to China. At that point, you give up.
You''re soaked by the splashing water. You''re
exhausted. You try to wipe with a Chicklet wrapper
you found in your pocket, then slink out
inconspicuously to the sinks.
You can''t figure out how to operate the sinks with the
automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit
and a dry paper towel and walk past a line of women,
still waiting, cross-legged and unable to smile
politely at this point. One kind soul at the very end
of the line points out that you are trailing a piece
of toilet paper on your shoe as long as the
it in the
woman''s hand and say warmly, "Here. You might need
At this time, you see your spouse, who has entered,
used and exited his bathroom and read a copy of War
and Peace while waiting for you.
"What took you so long?" he asks, annoyed.
This is when you kick him sharply in the shin and go
This is dedicated to all women everywhere
who have ever had to deal with a public toilet.
And it finally explains to all you men what takes us