The Tale of the Toilet: A Cross-Cultural Bathroom Adventure

Once upon a time, in a land called America, the word “toilet” was a big no-no.

People would rather dance around the subject and use words like “bathroom,” “restroom” or “washroom.” 

Why, you ask? 

Well, there are a couple of theories.

Some say it dates back to the Victorian era, when folks were all about being proper and not talking about, well, bodily functions.

Others think it’s because public toilets in America were, let’s just say, not the best in the early 20th century.

Now, let’s hop across the pond to the United Kingdom. 

Over there, saying “toilet” is perfectly acceptable. No need to tiptoe around the subject. 

But wait, there’s more! The Brits have their own quirky terms for the toilet, like “ladies,” “gents,” “the men’s room,” “the ladies’ room,” “lavatory” or just plain “loo.”

So, if you find yourself in the US, maybe just stick to “washroom” or “restroom.” 

And if you’re in the UK, go ahead and let “toilet” roll off the tongue.

But if you’re not comfortable using the word “toilet”, try:

“I need to go to the bathroom.”
“Where can I wash my hands?”
“Where can I powder my nose?”

And see what happens!

Happy flushing!


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Foto Christine Sparks

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