Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love You As Much As……

The odd thing about American drama series is that any scene set in a gentleman’s lavatory – usually in a place of work – involves an unfeasibly attractive gentleman walking into the lavatory purely to wash his hands. What is this? Or, in times of extreme stress, to splash some water on his face. It seems that Americans do not urinate. Or say ‘goodbye’ before hanging-up a telephone.


I walk into the gentleman’s lavatory of my place of work.

I need to wash my hands.

Whilst yanking paper-towels from the dispenser in a hugely devil-may-care masculine manner like that bloke who looked like a darts player in NYPD Blue, I notice that a conversation is taking place. In the Gents.

I look around. I am the only person here, save for an apparent occupant of one of the stalls, the door of which is shut.

Fuck me. He’s got another fella in there. They’re having a chat.

No. It quickly becomes apparent that the conversation is one-sided.

Unknown Gentleman: Yeah yeah I hear you but it’s all so deadline-sensitive I CAN’T just leave it. You know? It’s now or the whole thing’s blown.

I am astounded. Mobile-phone conversations are frowned-upon within the confines of the office (this is England after all, where we have perfectly good phones with wires, and if you want to talk on a phone that doesn’t have wires – like some sort of degenerate - then maybe this isn’t the place for you. Well. That seems to be the policy at my company. I’m not sure I disagree) but he could have gone outside. No need to lock yourself in a toilet cubicle.

There is the unmistakeable rattle of a toilet-roll in its industrial-quality dispenser.

Oh. Oh dear. He’s not just having a conversation.

UG: Thing is, cut-off point is today. That’s it. Or it doesn’t happen. You know how it is.

There is an additional rustle. Not of tissue. This sounds more heavy-weight.

He’s reading a fucking newspaper.

And they say men can’t multi-task.

Whilst admiring this man’s time-management skills (and whilst lurking in a public lavatory without legitimate reason) I am slightly appalled. Surely this was not the ubermensch Nietzsche had in mind?

UG: Sweetheart I know. I KNOW. But he’s just teething. HE IS. No. I’m not saying this is more important than our son. But you know he’s getting a sore tum and a temp because … ok OK. I’ll be home on time. Well. Maybe seven-ish. NO, what I do for a living is not more important. I mean, it IS important, what I do IS important and ……. Right. RIGHT. Look, I’m not arguing……

I decide to leave. I’ve been drying my hands for more time is necessary and I also feel as if I am now intruding on a family dispute. In an office lavatory. Which is a first.

The gist of the whole conversation seemed to be:

‘Sweetheart, I love you and our family. It’s all as equally important to me as reading the paper.’

‘In fact, a conversation with the mother of my children is as important to me as having a shit.’


Blogger Brennig said...

Ah no, I think he was saying something completely different. I believe his message was: 'I love you as much as I love taking a dump'.

And who knows... taking a dump might, in his scheme of things, be a very major player. In a time sensitive, deadline critical kind of way.


I believe that toilets are an important measure of an organisation's mean value to an employee.

You know you're working for a company that values its staff when the toilets resemble the facilities you'd find in a four- or five-star continental hotel.

Unfortunately most folk have to put up with a WC that resembled Pizza Hut. Or their toilets.

8:02 am  
Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

Honestly the nerve of some women eh? She is phoning to moan about how hard she has it staying at home all day while the 'poor' man has to multitask, sharing out his precious spare time by having a shit, reading his paper and listening to her 'irrational' worries. Selfish bastard! Ooops I meant to say, sheesh how does he cope with the strain of all those demands on his 'me' time?

1:29 pm  
Anonymous Megan said...

Thought I'd be able to leap in with some clarification on America's activities here but dammit I have very little experience with men's lavatories and any hand-washing/face-splashing tendencies of the natives in them. My instinct is that the hand washing thing is media propaganda to refute the rumor that no American man washes his hands in the loo - regardless of why else he went in there.

Two theories instead. A: some writer early on was confused by our calling the facility a "bathroom" and felt some sort of ablutions should be going on or B: it's "handwashing" (nudge nudge) and you're not getting the metaphor.

2:17 pm  
Blogger bittersweet me said...

perhaps you might suggest an electric hand dryer be installed, then no one could take advantage of the facilities for conversations. Although i am strangely attracted to masculine manhandling of paper towels. hmmm.

4:24 pm  
Blogger Cynnie said...

Why would a woman call her husband and whine about the baby fucking teething ??
his wife is a wimp..

4:36 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

B: I'm tired so can't think of anything to say.

DJ: We're all pigs. No need to hide your feelings.

Megan: Welcome. And no. I'm reallly not getting the metaphor.

Me: Steady.

C: Hello again. Love the new pic.

9:59 pm  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

oh shit. Apposite. My mobile went off a few days back while I was so ensconsed.

"I'll call you back" I muttered
"No!" he said, "it's urgent!!"

I then sat there removing the previous nights chicken vindaloo (too much information) while a union member told me his troubles.

"What's that noise in the background?" he asked

"Farting" I replied

We were unexpectedly disconnected and he hasn't called back.

My reputation as an (acting) union convenor has been hugely enhanced.

11:46 pm  
Blogger Clarissa said...

Are you hinting that you are shockingly attractive yourself? Thing about the American men washing their hands in the loo is that they generally have horribly styled hair that wouldn't move in a tornado. naff.

10:20 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Dinners: Nice one. Really.

Clarissa: No, that wasn't the hint and you'll be pleased to hear my hair is suffiently short to require almost-zero styling.

9:05 pm  
Blogger londongirl said...

Oh god. I know I should be impressed by the man multitasking, but that really wasn't what we had in mind when we said we wanted men to improve in that area...

10:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the faggots he had for lunch. Gotta dump 'em....

11:02 pm  
Blogger Misssy M said...

Talking whilst on the loo is unacceptable behaviour. I bet he's also the type that comes and sits on the toilet when his wife is in the bath. Nasty.

9:32 pm  
Anonymous Kaija said...

This sort of thing happens in the ladies as well, though I think it's appalling no matter whose public utility is being used as a phone booth. And what does the person on the other end think when there's a big industrial flushing noise going off in the background??! I'm certainly not one for uptight etiquette all the damn time, but I do think some things cross the line. My parents' line about there being a time and place for some things comes to mind...but then I probably wasn't listening.

1:58 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Confession. I SO just talked on my cell while in the slasher just the other day. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.

3:26 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

london: 10 out of 10 for trying though.

Anon: And the non-funny joke keeps rolling.

Missy: Really. I know people who do that. AND THINK THAT IT IS OK.

K: Keeping defecation and conversation seperate really is a basic I think.

R:Hang your head.

8:30 pm  

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