The Punch‘s Chris Deal recently mentioned that he, unlike most men, doesn’t read on the toilet because he just can’t face reading “while hovering 20cm above my own faeces”.
Better though than being in a public toilet while the fecund vapour from some other fellow’s steaming pile of awfulness fills all the breathable space. Often while standing at a urinal – as the paint on the wall starts to caramelise and the plastic dispensers begin to melt – I have considered shouting towards the offending cubicle: “Flush the bloody toilet why don’t you?!”
Do women read on the toilet? Do women go to the toilet in the toilet? The reluctance of women to talk about what goes on in their water closets was the reason a writer for a men’s magazine recently smuggled himself into a female loo to find out. As expected most of the visitors were there to apply make-up and talk but the noises from the cubicles either side of him – one sounding like gum boots being lifted out of thick mud – were so deafening he couldn’t catch any of the conversations.
It is widely assumed that people don’t buy hardback novels because they are too expensive, and difficult to read on the train. The real reason is they are too difficult to read on the toilet: too cumbersome to hold in one hand and with a dust jacket that flutters. Furthermore, on the back of the dust jacket – beaming up at you, as you sit there with a fistful of toilet paper and your pants around your ankles – is Bryce Courtenay or Colleen McCullough.
People’s love for reading on the loo is the reason I cannot borrow books from the local library. The thought of the mainly elderly clientele sitting in their bathrooms attending to various ailments, while one of the library’s yellowed hardbacks sits on their knees, is too much to bear.
The same goes for second-hand cars. Is the saving of a couple of thousand dollars worth the unholy experience of looking down at that mottled driver’s seat and imagining the previous owner’s bulbous buttocks shifting about on it – and the deposits of methane and hydrogen sulphide imparted by the same (lifted) arse?