Umm.. pardon me, could you pass some toilet roll to the stall on your left?

Posted on February 3, 2009 by pacificyorkshirebird

avt_kapyork_large115I’m not a potty mouth – I promise!  But today I think we need to have a chat about toilets – you know, bathrooms. 

Isn’t is appropriate that in Britain we ask for the “toilet”?  Let’s face it, there isn’t much bathing to be done in the tiny, freezing rooms with unreliable plumbing called toilets.  “Bathroom” no longer describes this space appropriately.

The worst toilet I have been in was in Southern Africa.  The dirtiest bathroom I’ve ever run away from was in America.  But I’ve been disappointed by more toilets in Britain than anywhere else so far. 

Let’s be fair: British buildings were built a long time before modern plumbing.  British buildings also have less space generally.  And in Yorkshire there is no Harrods – just Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.  


1. SOOOO many women leave the toilets without even pretending to wash their hands

2. Even if you do wash your hands you generally burn yourself or get brainfreeze in your fingers

3. One stall is ALWAYS out of order

4. There is a 50/50 chance of having any loo roll.  Seriously, I think the chavs steal it.

5. Sometimes you go into a stall right after someone else leaves and the toilet seat is actually up.  Umm, are women putting the toilet seat up before or after they wee?  I hate having to touch the seat!

6. The only heat source is the pointless hand dryers that don’t work – my little bum gets cold!

7. The good Dyson hand dryers work, but I worry they might damage my jewelry

8. The hand soap has a really weird smell

9.  Sometimes in small restaurants the toilets are also the cleaning supply closet.  You have to stare at a dirty mop and rubber gloves while you wee and then brainfreeze your hands.

One nice thing about public toilets in Britain – you don’t usually get any gaps around the stall doors – better privacy.

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Christina May 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I think you guys are hillarious! You made me laugh so hard with this post I almost wee on my trousers!

    The loo lack of paper is absolutely true! And I have been at some disgusting bathrooms as well! yuck!

    Keep up the good work, girls. :-)

  2. Steve Shawcross August 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    People do nick toilet roll, I’m sure of it– it’s quite expensive– so easy pickings I suppose.

    Pubs, cafes etc are reluctant to let anybody use their toilets, as people tend to trash them or even shoot up in them (hence blue lights you sometimes get). At least if you’re a customer there, you get to pay for the ‘privilege’ of doing so ;)

    Sadly with council cutbacks, public toilets are getting rarer, so use such establishments is often a case of “needs must”. A simple solution would be for councils to give council reductions to pubs/cafes who open their toilets to general public, but that would be too simple.

    Sorry about our use of “toilet”, it does what it says on the tin…. or should that be cistern? We can’t take “restroom” seriously here I’m afraid (even less so than “bog”!), we just find it a bizarre euphemism– we’re a little less ‘precious’ about such things here perhaps– confer Viz!! ;)

    You could say: “I’m nipping off to the ladies’ “, that would be understood :) I’ve never been put off my ‘session’ by the sight of a bucket and mop though [chuckle]

    Then again toilets are never going be the most glamorous of places: Although as the Dettol advert says, a kitchen worktop typically harbours more bacteria than a toilet seat!

  3. Pingback: Dating a British man–perhaps lacking in romance, but at least still buying you that raunchy lingerie… | She's Not From Yorkshire

  4. Michael Harling February 9, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Typical service area men’s restroom in Britain: 12 stalls (3 in working order), 37 urinals, 8 sinks, 2 hand dryers, 1 empty paper towel dispenser.

    Nice post! You, me and ExpatMum should get together ;)

  5. Christiana February 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    While I do like the “no gaps” in the restrooms here I really hate asking for the “toilet” – it just seems so crass. I try to say restroom, because I could possibly be going there to retire from the company for a bit. Nick jut makes fun of me for trying to keep the word “restroom” alive in the uk.

  6. peacefulyorkshire February 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Have you also noticed as well that having to use the loo when you’re out shopping in town is such a pain!?

    1) To find a place that you can use is rare without being a customer.

    2)If you can’t find one in a shop or restaurant that you can sneak, sometimes you have to use the 20p public ones. Pray that its not one of those “outhouse” looking ones because lets face it, youll never figure out how to close the electronic door…you’ll risk some serious embarrassment if that door opens…(that happened to me!)

    3) Then you need to see if you even have a 20p coin.

    4) If you don’t have a 20p coin then you need to find change bc usually at that point the machine is broken that gives you the stupid change in the first place.

    5) By the time you find a place that will give you change for not buying anything is rare, so you have spent already a quid to buy some gum you don’t even want to get change. And you’re about to pee in your pants.

    6) Once you have done all the above steps well you’re almost able to go… that is if the public toilets actually work and flush. Well, I guess you could still go anyway… everyone else did, right?

    7) Finding a free loo that is clean when you’re out in town?– You’re day is made and you’re my new hero…

  7. notfromaroundhere February 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    You forgot to mention how unlikely it is that they fully flush… at least down here in the southern part of town! There is only 1/3 stalls in my office building that I can use because it’s the one I know will reliably flush! I remember when I was contemplating moving here, a friend who had lived here actually warned me about this…

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