Many women in Japan fear being overheard going for a wee in public lavatories so they flush at the same time to cover up the noise. This wastes a lot of water. To prevent this, Japanese loos are fitted with a 'Sound Princess'. Pressing it drowns out any embarrassing noises with the sound effect of a lavatory flushing, rather than the real thing. However, if you find yourself in a loo which doesn’t have a Sound Princess fitted, you can use a portable keyring device called an ECO OTOME.
The marketing blurb for the device is as follows:
'Imagine walking into an empty public bathroom and thinking, great! Now is my chance! You sit down and are about to do your business when suddenly someone comes in and sits in the stall next to you. The room is dead silent. Maybe they are just as shy as you about going to the bathroom! This clever little keychain gadget from Japan (where toilet shyness is common) solves a real problem for those that are shy: namely the embarrassing sounds of our noises as we go to the bathroom. Push the button and 25 seconds of continuous sounds of a running refilling toilet permeate the room in a natural, unobtrusive way, masking the sounds you make and allowing you to finish what you started without worrying about anyone hearing what is going on. Push the button again for another 25 seconds of bliss. …. Comes in three different designs: pink with a cute little heart, for the inner girl in every woman; baby blue with a ribbon, for that free and fresh feeling; and a white "save the earth" unisex model for both men and women (yes, men suffer from toilet shyness as well)…'
There's an iTunes app with a similar purpose that makes the noise of a shower running. It has a volume control to meet all levels of need.
People have been known to catch hepatitis and dysentery from toilet seats; also fungal infections, puerperal fever and viral gastro-enteritis, but the only way you're at all likely to catch any disease from a loo seat is if you don't wash your hands.
Toilet seats are teeming with bacteria, but they're only a problem if you touch the seat with your hand, and then touch what’s known as a "soft entry point" such as mouth or nose. So, disposable paper loo seat covers (known as 'ass gaskets' or 'butt gaskets' in the US) are really unnecessary. Wear one on your face instead.
Doctors are probably responsible for the myth that you can catch STDs from loo seats. In the late 19th century, they spread the rumours to encourage more people to come forward for treatment: 'I caught it from a toilet' having less stigma than 'I got it off a whore.' There was another myth that you could get STDs from drinking fountains.
In my experience, if you have to keep the lavatory door shut by extending your left leg, it's modern architecture.
The architect Sir Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe (1816-1905) designed the clock mechanism for Big Ben and gave the language the verb 'to grimthorpe,' meaning to ruin an ancient building by 'restoring' it.
He was also said to be the finest locksmith in England. He got so fed up with visitors failing to flush after using his loo that he had a special lock fitted on the door so it could only be opened after the chain had been pulled. You don't flush, you can't get out.
The number of people hospitalized in toilet disasters in the USA in 1996 was 43,687, in Britain in 1994 it was 476.
By 2001 the Mir space station’s solar panels lost about 40% of their effectiveness due to frozen urine floating in space at very high speeds.
All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet.
According to Debrettes, the correct etiquette:
'when nature calls is either slip away quietly or excuse yourself from the group. Leave it clean, always flush and never discuss.
Generally, loo is the preferred term, 'Ladies' or 'Gents' in public venues is also widely used. 'Lavatory' is unambiguous, while 'Toilet' is the internationally recognised word, but may still raise an eyebrow in more class-conscious circles.'
In the 12th century, if you were caught short on the street, you simply went where you stood. This was unacceptable to the delicate-minded, and a solution was found by providing mobile human lavatories. Men and women wearing voluminous black capes and carrying a bucket would, for a farthing, shield you from prying eyes while you did your business. We only know the name of one of these public servants: Thomas Butcher of Cheapside, who was fined in 1190 for overcharging his clients.
Australia is an outdoor country. People only go inside to use the toilet. And that's only a recent development.
Alfred Lord Tennyson liked to entertain guests by doing impersonations of someone going to the lavatory.
Each of us visits the loo on average 2,500 times a year.
Martin Luther claimed to have been first visited by the holy spirit while he was on the toilet.
On average, 32% of the drinking water in the West is flushed down the toilet.
The Thai words for 'paradise' and 'toilet' are the same.
Toilet paper was invented in Green Bay's Northern Paper Mill in 1902, but it wasn't until 1935 that they could advertise it as 'splinter-free'.