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Public toilets are a necessary requirement and should be, I believe, in the forefront of public issues. Suffragists (of the 20th century) were instrumental in gaining the provision for women and of course, men have benefitted too. Rightly, no gender preference in this matter. However, there do seem to be comfort disparities, especially for ladies.

Where there is public toilet provision, (it is not universal) there always seems to be more male toilet provision. That is more, in the sense that the male structural and natural need is well provided for. The same cannot be said about women’s needs.

The female toilets have inadequate provision and are always furthest away.

Women do take longer in using the cubicle, and with accepted natural more complex reasons. Consequently queues form in women’s toilets sooner than in men’s, and they move more slowly because of natural requirement. The reasons for this, must, in certain environments, include the towing of children in buggies and meeting their toileting needs. The nappy changing facility is a blessing where it exists, even so, it is not appropriate for all family toileting. Fewer men than women are involved in children’s personal hygiene activities.

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Some of the slowest moving and longest queues are to be seen in shops (which provide customer toilets) cafés, bars, cinemas, and theatres.

Many municipal facilities have closed permanently. Others open seasonally. On street provision of the ubiquitous circular pay-as-you-go facilities, are often out of order with technical problems. I almost got a shower in one of those and was lucky the door slid open to let me exit. ‘Out Of Order” dutifully flashed up on the electronic sign, following my departure.

Do you think public unisex toilet provision would be an answer?



  1. :yes: Public Toilet facilities certainly seem to be ‘on the decline’…..UNLESS…my need for such is no longer so pressing….:)) Not often found out and about in Town….;)

  2. *respect* to you for taking up this important issue !

    I am not in favour of unisex loos, unless it is for parents with children but I do think there should be more toilets for women because men are equipped to pee practically anywhere should the need arise – even in a bottle !!

    Automatic cubicles are NOT the answer and also quite scary as you’ve pointed out.

    I remember in the 60s there was a ‘good loo guide’ and prizes where given for the best toilets. I remember visiting one in Covent Garden. You have my vote – good public loos should be a priority.


  3. Sure, there are toilet facilities in many social areas. Whether they are adequate in meeting the need of the business and the public combined is a major question in many such places.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. I fully agree with the thrust of your comment Mira. There would be concerns about designated unisex public toilets.

    I remember hearing about the Good Loo Guide, I have never flipped through its pages.

    I once thought about compiling my own public toilet guide in the 1980’s, when in a fit of pique. Note, there was no adjective in front of the noun. I was prepared to be totally objective on all fronts, stating without fear or favour, what I thought. I even got as far as the measures I would use. I didn’t write anything up, I couldn’t cover sufficiently wide and broad enough mileage in the UK to do it in a reasonable time frame.

    :yes: x

  5. Of course, if the French system of franchised toilet attendants was used, this might improve things, but everybody would have to pay whatever it took to get in. In my experience they charge according to whatever the punter will stand for and give service accordingly too. Pay enough and they will wash the squat and offer you a clean towel for the washbasin. Pay even more and they may even smile. 😉

  6. And Lilian you may have hit upon a core point here. Because women who are in towns, or are where there are shops with toilets, they will use them, likely, in preference to anything publicly maintained because of personal cares. The business toilets are probably well used and and in busy times, as I have seen myself, queues have to be negotiated, whatever your personal state of need. All the flushing systems make it worse. Keeping them in good order and clean becomes vital.

  7. Some of the services you mention I have received here in the UK, not often, and only at one or two service stations on motorways.

    Did you ever read Clochemerle or see the TV adaptation of the book? Admittedly it focuses on men’s urinals, one in particular.

    I rate a good refreshment stop by the toilet and comfort facilities they care to provide.

  8. Interesting perspective, Nadinemook.

    No, the white pieces in the picture are not foot prints, it is a sit or crouch over public toilet. The toilet is high and you would need to climb on the toilet to stand on it. The white pieces are supposed to represent a toilet seat.

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