Monday, July 03, 2017

Toilet, lav, loo, bog, john - what do you call it?

Last weekend was the Wales Air Show (I watched the Red Arrows and the Spitfire/Lancaster fly past. Red Arrows amazing as always and when the spitfire flew over I was immediately there, in Reach for the Sky and numerous other British war films. The sound of their engines is so evocative.

Anyway driving to Sainsburys this morning I noticed the many portaloos lined up along the promenade and thought, 'I must be getting old as I could not go anywhere that would require me to use a portaloo.'

Reconsidering I realised it was nothing to do with age: I have always been fussy about toilets. 

I wouldn't go all day in school because I hated the toilet block and even, more recently, when I worked in Linden I would try to avoid going until I got home because I didn't like the toilets in work. In fact i don't really like to use any toilet other than my own.

It probably goes back to my childhood - as most things do it seems - when my gran would always tell me to put toilet paper down on the seat of a public toilet so I wouldn't 'catch anything.' I don't think she ever specified what it was I might catch but she didn't need to: I was terrified. For years even with paper on the seat I'd perch above it precariously.

And now I would rather go for a wee in the woods than use some of the facilities offered. If only I could get the hang of balancing so that neither my feet nor my knickers get wet ...

By the way, I recall from Jilly Cooper's book, Class, that toilet is very lower class. Or it was when the book was first published in 1979. Ever the wannabe-snob I tried then to stop using the word and calling it 'loo' instead but you may take the girl out of the toilet but you can't take the toilet out of the girl.

My grandfather called it the lav but I don't think we ever referred to it as the lavatory and certainly not bog, ugly word. Auntie Dusty, who'd lived in America since the war, called it the john.

What do you call it?


SmitoniusAndSonata said...

For some reason , Year three pupils at the local senior school are being taught that English people say cloakroom .

Liz Hinds said...

Not a phrase I have ever used in this respect!

Anonymous said...


nick said...

Jenny and I usually call it the toilet but in company we refer to the loo. Anyone who calls it the bog is so vulgar one would simply have to give one's excuses and leave.

Liz Hinds said...

Very carry on, Anonymous!

Why, indeed, nick, so awfully vulgar.

Di West said...

Loo for me !
Love Di xx

Di West said...

PS New title from Trubes xx

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Depends who I am talking to. If it is the youngest granddaughter I say , do you need to go to the toilet and if it is the others it is the LOO ..