Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Win or loos

So let's talk about public toilets. Why? Because they're getting a lot of attention these days from dissatisfied members of the public who find them lacking in one way or another. They're the hot topic du jour.

The gender non conforming population (you know, non-binary, transgender etc) want more gender-neutral toilets so they needn't use a male or female toilet they're not comfortable in.

Women on the other hand don't want gender-neutral toilets but female toilets where they feel safe from predatory males - and where men aren't peeing on the toilet seat. They also want a lot more toilets so they aren't queuing for ten minutes while the men waltz happily in and out of the gents.

People with disabilities want more disabled toilets, and ones better suited to their needs. And they don't want the able-bodied using disabled toilets because it's urgent or they're nearer.

Needless to say, those responsible for toilets seldom listen to the complaints of the users, so the failings are endlessly repeated. It's remarkable then that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said toilet provision should be reviewed so as not to drive away visitors to the capital. He's especially keen on gender-neutral toilets it seems.

Personally, I don't have many complaints about public toilets. I seldom come across a queue, I've no worries about personal safety, and I don't mind other men peeing a few inches away. My only grouse is that there aren't enough of them, and when I do find one it's often filthy.

Like a lot of women, I wouldn't want to use gender-neutral toilets. Not because I'm afraid of predatory males but so as not to alarm or embarrass any women who might be using them. There should always be male and female toilets, with or without a gender-neutral option.

Okay, that's enough of that. You must be dying for a pee by now.

19 comments:

Blogoratti said...

That is true about the number of toilets being insufficient. We will see how the Mayor handles the matter. Greetings!

Ms Scarlet said...

Maybe we'd all be happier carrying a portable loo kit. For women this would mean a funnel and an empty plastic bottle, oh, and loo paper... and hand sanitiser. But where to do the deed???? It's all getting too confusing. It used to be as easy as spending a penny.
Sx

Dave Martin said...

Around my way they seem intent on closing as many as possible to 'save money' rather than fulfilling people's real needs.

John Gray said...

What do I want in a public toilet?

A cubical with walls that reach floor to ceiling, a clean seat
Soft toilet paper and privacy

nick said...

Blogoratti: Women have been complaining about inadequate public toilets for decades. But hey, they're only women, so who cares?

Scarlet: Indeed, where to do the necessary? Perhaps women could protest inadequate toilets by collectively doing the deed outside the offending overcrowded toilet.

nick said...

Dave: Exactly. Public toilets seem to be an early candidate for municipal spending cuts.

John: I'd go along with that. I'd also like a toilet bowl that wasn't smeared with someone else's leavings. A disgusting male habit.

tammy j said...

unless traveling and forced to use a public toilet ... I just don't.
I go before I leave home and I wait until I get home if the urge hits.
thankfully those I do sometimes use are kept immaculate! and there are many private stalls in them. I am talking about our local theatre. people in toilets charge could take a lesson from them!
I wouldn't have a problem if a transgender lady used it. she would be in her own private stall. why would I care?
I doubt a man on the make and lure for harming a woman would dress himself up like that anyway. don't those types usually have a glorified idea of their own masculinity!?

Jenny Woolf said...

I have never understood why after over a century of public toilets, it rarely occurs to anyone that women need more loos than men. I encounter queues often.

helen devries said...

This may be anachronistic of me and may come as a surpise to the mayor of London but the provision of public loos, let alone gender neutral ones is not the first factor in my mind when deciding to visit a place....

When we lived in France the public loo in the next village was a three sided shed with a modesty panel in concrete located alongside the village square. For men only, of course.
In our village there were proper loos...unisex...which were locked on Sundays so that the faithful attending mass could not use these secular edifices.

Hardly any public loos in Costa Rica....but any public building will let you use the spotless facilities, and the caffs all have a washbasin for your hands before and after. The loos in the national parks ask you to put your used loo paper in a bin as the sewage system is pretty non existant...bags me not have the task of emptying those!

Bijoux said...

I try to avoid them, but the older I get, the harder it is to hold it! My first concern is cleanliness, followed by safety. I'm always worried about someone grabbing my purse from the hook on the door, for some reason. I don't think a transgender person is going to cause problems, but I can see heterosexual males try to take advantage of gender neutral bathrooms by taking photos, etc. unbeknownst to the women.

nick said...

Tammy: Good to hear the toilets you use are usually immaculate. I wish I could say the same for ours! Unfortunately there have been cases of men claiming to be transgender for dubious motives.

Jenny: There must be women who're responsible for public toilet provision, but still there aren't enough women's toilets!

nick said...

Helen: Another place with spotless facilities - how lucky you are! Good heavens no, we couldn't have anyone using a toilet on Sunday - whatever next?

Bijoux: Cleanliness and safety, I'm with you there. I also worry slightly about my bag in those toilets with a huge gap under the partitions. As I said to Tammy, some men are posing as transgender in order to take advantage of women. And yes, voyeuristic heterosexual males could be a menace too. Gender neutral toilets do seem a bit problematic to me.

Rummuser said...

The only public toilets that I use are in the Multiplex cinema theatres that I go to and they are clean enough for me. I don't go out much but when I do, I go to places where toilets are clean and in usable condition.

nick said...

Ramana: The worst culprits seem to be these little trendy cafés and coffee shops. Often the food and coffee are great but the toilets look as if they haven't been cleaned for months.

Jay said...

My biggest complaints about public toilets are 1) there aren't enough, and 2) they're often dirty - so dirty, I wouldn't want to sit down on one.

I really don't mind about gender-neutral toilets. When we're travelling in Italy, there often is just one for both male and female, and in fact, I've often found just the one unisex toilet here, too, in cafés.

CheerfulMonk said...

I seldom leave town so mostly use our own toilet.

joared said...

Can’t please all the people all the time, I guess. Our local movie theater offers gender specific bathrooms and one for handicapped. I don’t know which the trans folks use, but I have no problem with them using which ever br they identify with. This system works well there, but there’s lots of traffic. They keep them clean. Other places with few customers might have only one facility with one commode so share one-at-a-time. I avoid public bathrooms if possible, but will use as a last resort. I guess what facilities are provided might be determined by how much traffic where they’re located.

nick said...

Jay: My complaints as well. The odd unisex toilet in a small cafe is fair enough, it's more the larger public toilets we need to think carefully about.

Jean: You certainly won't be bothered by dodgy blokes in your own toilet!

nick said...

Joared: Yes, the usage levels are the thing to consider. When there are large numbers of men and women using toilets, you do have to think through what any rearrangement of the facilities might lead to.

I tend to use the toilets in big shops, which are generally kept very clean.