Comfort breaks

As I have written about regularly, some might say obsessively, is the need to spend a penny during the day while working as a cabbie. And one reliable destination to take, as the Americans euphemistically say, a comfort break during this coronavirus crisis is a friendly pub.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but, by law, all pubs must be separated from their toilet facilities by at least two doors. Presumably, this is so that you can’t see blokes standing at the urinals while you’re at the bar sipping on your weak yellow lager.

I’ve noticed, from bitter experience, that there appear to be a few other unwritten laws concerning pub toilets.

  • All pub toilets are poorly signposted. This is so that, when you first feel the need to pay a visit, you haven’t got a clue which way to go, so you head initially in the wrong direction, then have to turn round embarrassingly after you walk accidentally into the alcove behind the cigarette machine.
  • All pub toilets are situated on a different floor to the pub itself. This is to force you to attempt to negotiate a set of narrow stairs whilst in a drunken state, usually downwards, and risk losing your footing and ending up at the bottom in a heap with a bemused smile on your face.
  • All pub toilets have supposedly witty names on the doors, like ‘Ducks’ and Drakes’, or ‘Laddies’ and ‘Gentlewomen’. This is to encourage you to walk into the wrong convenience by mistake, much to your eternal shame, and because the landlord mistakenly believes that these names are funny.
  • Have you noticed that no matter how updated is the saloon bar, their toilets are stuck in the 1950s, with mock Victorian tiles, and a floor that sticks to your soles?
  • Why does every London pub smell of the same cleaning fluids, somebody is making a fortune selling a product to the brewers that nobody would use at home.
  • All pub toilets are cold, damp, poorly maintained, with puddles on the floor and lacking in toilet paper. This is because landlords know that, after five pints, you’ll be so bladdered that you have no choice but to use the facilities provided, however miserable, and so there’s no point maintaining them to an acceptable standard.
  • Whenever you visit the pub toilet, so does the creepy bloke from the bar that you’d rather never be alone with, except that you now are, and you’re standing next to him, and you’d rather be absolutely anywhere else, except that there are important biological reasons why you can’t leave the urinal for the next 45 seconds. This is because life’s a bitch.

Or am I just going to the wrong pubs for my comfort break?

2 thoughts on “Comfort breaks”

  1. As a runner I have the same issue. You can’t just pop behind a tree in Central Park. I once thought of compiling a map showing the location of all the relief stations in Manhattan. Never went anywhere, though I did float it to the New York Road Runners Club.


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