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7 Reasons The Gents Is Not The Place For Conversation

Posted on January 10, 2011 in Top Posts | 3 comments

Given my reputation as someone who has a butler, this may come as something of a shock. I use public toilets. Though sometimes I wish I didn’t.

7 Reasons The Gents Is Not The Place For Conversation

I follow the maze of corridors and eventually find the door to the Gents. It’s empty as I walk in. And silent. Until I hear…

1.  “Alright?” I’m a bit startled by this. A voice has never said ‘alright’ to me before. Not in the toilets. I spin around but there is no one there. No one. Not a sign of life anywhere. This is new territory. And I don’t like it very much. Now, for 7 reasons that I can’t explain, I believe in God. And one day, if I’m good, I hope to meet him. What I never expected, was that I’d meet him on a Saturday afternoon in the pub toilet. I suspect that is probably the romantic in me. I’m not quite sure what to say back. With my hand hovering near my flies I suddenly feel very self-conscious. Part of me thinks, ‘Hello Sir’ would be a suitable reply, but then my legs seem to want me to curtsy. My thinking must have lasted quite a while because before I have the chance to reply I hear the voice again.

2.  “Hello.” This time I follow the direction in which the voice has come. And I see a cubicle with a shut door. I immediately feel stupid. It wasn’t God. It was some bloke sitting on the loo. And all of a sudden this thought hits me very hard. There is a bloke; sitting on a loo; in a public toilet; trying to talk to me. I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all. I want to run but I haven’t even started my public facilities objective yet. I hurry to the nearest convenience, desperately hoping I don’t hear the voice again. But I do.

3.  “How’s it going?” How’s it going? How’s it going?! What sort of a question is that?! Between you and me, I can tell you it was going very nicely thank you, but I’m not going to tell him that am I?! My heart is racing a bit now. I know exactly what is happening. All this sweet talking has one and only one aim. He wants to pick me up.

4.  “Hey Dave, that is you isn’t it?” Ah. Well maybe I was wrong. Maybe he doesn’t want to pick me up. Maybe he just wants to pick Dave up. Relief. At least relief until he says, “Dave?” And now I have a new problem. Quite clearly I am not Dave. I don’t look like Dave, I don’t sound like Dave, I don’t have a bladder like Dave’s. I’m Jon. But of course the bloke doesn’t know this because he can’t see me and I haven’t said anything. So to him, I am definitely Dave. So what do I do? I can’t say, “No, sorry mate, I’m Jon”. That would just embarrass both of us. I suppose I could pretend to be Dave, but when you are standing in the toilets the last thing you really want to be doing is pretending you are another man. So my only other option is to stay silent. And so that is exactly what I do. And silence works. Silence tells the bloke that I am not Dave. Silence tells the bloke that this is now an uncomfortable situation for both of us and as such he should remain in his cubicle until I have left. But that’s not what happens. Because all of a sudden I hear the sound of…

5.  Water Flushing. What the hell?! What is he doing?! Doesn’t he know I am still here?! I feel like shouting, “Stay in there man! Do not leave the cubicle.” I need to get out of here. Before he opens the door. But I have had tea. A lot of tea. And, a bit like one’s relationship with Pringles, once one’s popped one can’t stop. I am sorry, but I have to tell you this so you understand the gravity of the situation, I am going on forever. But the good news is that the man hasn’t left the cubicle yet. Maybe he is waiting. Maybe it’s all going to be okay. I make it to the sink to wash my hands. And then the…

6.  Door Opens. And our eyes meet in the reflection of the mirror. And for some reason neither of us can stop staring at each other. He looks uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable. And we are still staring at each other. It’s only when I realise that I am scolding my hands under the hot tap that I can finally look away. He uses the sink next to me. I don’t dare look in the mirror. Instead I move quickly to the paper towels to dry my hands. Finally, the tension in the room is snapped, as someone enters the gents. I don’t care who it is, I don’t need to find out, I don’t need to look at them. I am just very grateful to them. Then they walk behind me and say…

7.  “Alright Jon.” I spin around and say, “Hi!”. At exactly the same moment as the other bloke says, “Alright Dave.”

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  1. This is the latest in a number of “socially awkward” posts, which makes me wonder: Were you guys home-schooled? Or did you perhaps grow up on a deserted island or in a sparsely populated rainforest? Because your social ineptitude and lack of basic interpersonal skills is rather concerning.
    At least you’re (very) funny. ;)

  2. Surprisingly, none of those. Whenever I find myself in situations that could produce a 7 Reasons piece, I act with social ineptitude throw all my interpersonal skills out of the window. It delivers more often than not.

  3. It’s good to know you’ll do anything for a post – your readers appreciate it. Or at least this one does.
    You have quite an eye for opportunities to be awkward.

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