To Pee or not to Pee!!

Public Toilets (aka - loo/restrooms), now here’s an issue that deserves a UK vs US comparison!

First let me say upfront that my whole life I have always drunk way more water in the day than your average person. The result of this being ‘I need’ to know where the next clean public convenience is going to be or I am going to fret!

In the UK this is more of a problem than you may imagine. You see business owners back home are not as obliging with lending out their ‘facilities’ as they are here. Smaller garages (Quick Stops to you) often do not have a public toilet, the bigger ones do and but only the really big stores tend to have them. So if you are shopping in a Mall or Strip Mall you’re likely to find one, but if you are just out on a Main St, the shops won’t usually allow you to use their toilet. You can bet on a fast food shop like KFC, McDonalds etc….but a small café or restaurant won’t let you use it unless you are a customer!

We do have either old style city council toilets, which trust me are not the most inviting or clean places! Or even worse we have highly visible individual modern toilets, that automatically clean themselves after each customer. But they’re so darned conspicuous most people are wary of entering one, because everyone nearby knows what you’re up to…LOL! One of their most disconcerting features is an automatic door system, I have always been a too nervous to use one, as it might open early and expose me to the world!!

But more than anything I am ashamed to say that by comparison to the USA, our toilets are dirty, there’s just no denying it! One of my most embarrassing moments was getting off a flight from Chicago at London Heathrow and rushing with many American ladies to the nearest off plane toilet. It was filthy, one toilet was flooding and there was no toilet paper, I just stayed quiet so nobody knew I was British! The Hubster has asked me to report that the men’s restroom at Heathrow Airport hardly has room for a real man to get his tally whacker out it’s so cramped!!

Now compare this to what meets Brit’s at US airports on arrival. After using the ones at O’Hare I had to call my Mum just to tell her about the toilets! First of all I couldn’t even put my contact lenses back in (sitting on the loo is a great place to do this), without it flushing every few seconds…LOL. But even more amazing when I first went in, there was a paper cover on the seat that did a complete revolution when it sensed my movement, so I had clean paper to sit on – WOW! Then the water at the sink came on automatically, the soap dispensed automatically and the paper towels did too when I waved my hand around!!


Your toilets are nearly always clean! I mean there’s always the odd occasion when they are not, but trust me you are light years ahead of the UK on cleanliness in restrooms. I have also learned to relax about where the next one is going to be.

Just about every store, café, business or garage you go in, no matter their size, has a public restroom you can use and it’s usually stocked and clean. Only once since I arrived here have I been caught short and had to use a dirt road behind the Pickup (I was too nervous of snakes to venture across the bar ditch) out in the canyons.

So I can say hand on heart I would choose the US highly commendable restroom situation over the UK anytime. Having said that we are light years ahead of the French who have the filthiest public toilets and they always smell!

Then we have the Turkish public toilets that are often a hole in the ground, not literally, they are tiled and porcelain and the Turks value cleanliness highly. But when you're not used to it, trust me, having to squat will often cause instant constipation - been there done that!

So if you ever venture to the UK you have been warned, always carry tissues and do not get caught short. If you are a Brit’ heading over here, enjoy and be prepared for some eye opening restrooms!


dabrah said...

I'm sorry to say I have to agree with you about public loos. Many of them leave a lot to be desired.
I thought about you today when I was driving to Sheffield, because I was listening to the radio and the DJ was asking people to call in with what they thought 'tata' meant. Not as in goodbye, but as in 'I'm going tata'. There were some strange and funny definitions being phoned in, but the upshot was that it was an outing, but if you put your hand on your hip and said 'that was a right tata' it meant that it was a fool's errand.

BritGal' Sarah said...

Hi Dabrah, I have heard of of both the TaTa - goodbye and right tata - fools errand, but the ither is a new one on me!

Yes I do not miss the loo siutation in the UK...LOL