7 Reasons That You Shouldn’t Read (on the toilet)
This is a subject that totally divides the sexes. For some reason, reading in the toilet is something that women just don’t do, and they’re right. I agree. I read a lot. I’m also a man. To some people, this could mean that I might reasonably be expected to be found reading on the toilet, or would be, if people were in the habit of finding other people on the toilet which fortunately – for the most part – they’re not. But I won’t be found reading in the toilet ever, because I won’t be reading on the toilet in the first place – unless I’m dealing with some sort of emergency that requires me to use the toilet and read important instructions simultaneously. Like coming face to face with a self-assembly lion. Other than that, however, reading while using the toilet is something that shouldn’t ever be done. Here are seven reasons why.
1. It’s Disgusting. We’ve all seen those shock-docs in which restaurant toilets are subjected to ultra violet/infra-red/magic-poo-seeing light, and they don’t make comfortable viewing. They show specks of faecal matter (close your eyes if you’re at all squeamish) spattered (you can open them again now) on far walls, high ceilings, behind sinks and well, just about everywhere, and the nearer to the toilet the surface is, the more bottom-mud there will be on it. So if you’re reading a book while you’re using the toilet, or even leaving a book near the toilet, it’s going to get faeces on it. That is an undesirable trait in a book.
2. It’s Disgusting Multiplied. Having left your excrement all over your book, once you’ve finished it you’ll return it to your library or lend it to a friend or a colleague who’ll probably read it in a normal place like a chair or a bed or something. So not only are they taking your shit with them into their bed, they could well become ill while reading it. “I seem to have picked up a horrible stomach bug,” your colleague will tell you as they call in sick,” still, at least it gives me some time to read the book you lent me.” You’ll have poisoned them. And you’ll probably end up covering their workload at the office too, while they lounge around at home. The only winner in this scenario is Jeremy Kyle.
3. It’s Just Weird. Well it is. Why, out of all the things that men do so brilliantly well, is the only example of their multi-tasking prowess the ability to poo and read simultaneously? Is it that the very act of sitting down on the toilet feminises them and renders them suddenly capable of doing more than one thing at once? And why don’t women read on the toilet? They’re always telling us they can do fifteen things at the same time (often while they’re burning something in the kitchen or standing on the cat’s tail) but put them on the toilet – where no one can see them – and they suddenly become mono-taskers. Does this mean that the multi-tasking stuff is all for show? If you put a toilet and a book together in the same place and you get more questions than answers. Unless, of course, the book is a book of answers. They can only be trumped by a toilet of questions.
4. What If Someone Else Wants The Bathroom? There are other people in the world too. Other people that might conceivably want to use the toilet for the actual purpose of using the toilet. It’s no fun for someone to have to hang around outside the bathroom crossing their legs and screwing up their face while shrieking, “I need the toilet! I need the toilet!” with increasing desperation (well, it is, but not for them). It’s like Superman. Does he ever think about people that need to make a phone call when he’s using a phone box to change into his costume? No he bloody doesn’t. And their phone call might be an emergency. He’s an inconsiderate bastard. Essentially, if you read on the toilet you’re just like Superman.*
5. Health & Safety. It’s not just about books any more. There are hi-tech reading devices out there that the hapless and misguided might conceivably try to use while in the smallest room. Kindles, for example. But no one knows what possible effects would occur if they dropped an electronic book into the toilet (I googled it**). It would stop working, that’s obvious, but it also contains a battery so, I assume, it’s possible that it could short-circuit and send a small electrical charge through the water in the toilet bowl if dropped. Now if you were connected to the water in the bowl in some way (by a stream of liquid perhaps, you are in the toilet, after all), you’d get an electrical shock. Right in the very last place you’d want one. They’re not even allowed to torture people like that at Guantanamo Bay. They’re restricted to water-boarding them there, or forcing them to spell Guantanamo. The monsters.
6. What If You Run Out Of Paper? Outside of Kerry Katona, is there anything more tragic and desperate than someone that has just discovered there’s no toilet paper once they’ve completed a movement? Probably not. At that moment, people will use anything that’s near to hand (perhaps even their hand). If they’re reading a book, there’s no question that they’ll tear a page or two out and use that to wipe themselves with. But what if they’re reading the Bible? That would be blasphemous. What if they’re reading the Encyclopedia Britannica? They could end up ignorant about aardvarks or Zurich. What if they’re reading Dan Brown? That would be hopeless as the pages are covered in shit already. It’s just better not to have a book within reach in the first place.
7. Pity The Writers. At 7 Reasons, we’re generally just happy and flattered that people read us at all. But we’re also British and, as such, feel duty-bound to uphold notions of taste and decency and to urge our readers toward decorous behaviour. So we have to draw a line. And that line is at the bathroom door. We can’t write while imagining our readers on the toilet and you probably don’t want to be imagined using the toilet by us while we write***. For our sake, as well as yours, you should never – even though you probably weren’t considering it anyway – read 7 Reasons in the toilet. You should, of course, continue to outfit yourself in your Sunday best before settling down in your parlours and libraries to read us, just as you’re doing now. Nice hat, madam, by the way.
*This argument hasn’t gone well.
**I did find many instances of people dropping their iPhones down the toilet but that just made me laugh a lot. Or is it lAugh?
***That sentence took nine rewrites before it even made partial sense.