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Bathroom Etiquette

So when you go to the loo (as we call it in England) at the office or at a restaurant how do you behave in there when you are not alone?   You know the situation.  You leave your desk, pop into the loo and there is someone in there already.  I find that sometimes the plan is to avoid complete eye contact – almost pretending that the other person isn’t there.  Or at least you have no idea why they are there.  If you happen to recognise that person from the office block then it might be a quick courtesy nod but you definitely don’t want a conversation there.

But what happens when you go into the stall and then you hear the door opening and someone coming in.  When that happens it feels as if you are going to pee for an hour.  Why am I peeing for so long?  What does this other person think of me?  So you rush and get out before they come out and you don’t have to meet face to face.  And heaven forbid you should be in there for anything other than a pee.   I don’t even want to go there.    

Naturally, my observations above are based on what happens in the “Ladies” but I guess there are all sorts of etiquette rules for the “Mens”.  Especially with those urinals.  Have you noticed that when you are watching a scene from a drama on tv and it involves men going to pee at the urinals they stand there chatting like they are not in the middle of doing a pee.  At least we women have a bit of privacy.  Maybe it’s a male macho thing.  I dunno. 

Interesting, by the way, why do the Brits call the toilet the loo.  Well first of all “toilet” is regarded as a rather rude word and I guess the same is true in N. America where it is referred to as the “rest room”.  Secondly loo comes from the French expression “guardez l’eau” – which means watch out for the water.  This can be traced back to medieval times when chamber pots were routinely emptied out of the windows – so it was only polite to should out …. Watch out for the water!!!

I still think “loo” is a better word than “rest room”.

blog lou

Mind you – it’s probably pretty accurate.  I remember when I started my first job in Johannesburg.  By 11 am I was so exhausted that I would honestly go to the loo for a rest.  I would remember how carefree I was at school and how I didn’t appreciate it at the time.  I would time myself for 10 minutes and then struggle back to my manual typewriter ….  No auto correct there.  It was tippex or retype.  Yes, we definitely needed a rest room.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Lesley. Oh the topics you write about. I look forward to them each week and enjoy reading them all. They always put a smile on my face. Over the years my husband and I would be invited to dinner with colleagues and different people from the industry. Most of the time, it would be the first time I would be meeting them. On some occasions during dinner I would have to excuse myself to go “powder my nose” and the wife of my husband’s colleague would say “Oh, I’ll join you”. Now, maybe this is okay for some …. but not for me. I didn’t enjoy heading to the loo/rest room with a complete stranger and having to make chit chat, pee beside each other and all that goes on in there (fixing the hair, freshening up the lipstick). Just wondering what your thoughts are on this? Am I being just plain silly? (;

    1. Oh no Lea, you are absolutely right. It’s bad enough with people you know. I see films where a couple are together and the girl just happily sits on the loo while chatting to the husband/boyfriend. Never ever!!! Some things are meant to be private. LOL

      1. Thank you Lesley! I was also going to say the walk back to the table is awkward, too. Do you wait for her if she’s not finished or just leave.

        1. Oooh goodness. I didn’t even think of that. How uncomfortable. You could always knock on the door and say “hey! How’s it going? I’m done so I am heading back for another glass of wine!”

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The Travel Lady Blog

The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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