I was on a training course last night. It was long and hot and in a stuffy little airless room so I drank vast quantities of liquid. When it finished I dashed to the toilet – it was already occupied. I stood and waited, legs crossed for what seemed like forever. Finally they came out. I had my hand on the door ready to go in and someone started talking to me.

So, you’re a teacher then?

No, I work in pastoral care in a school. [Please let me do a wee]

Oh. Whats you’re job title?

Pastoral Assistant. [I need a wee. I need a wee]

I once applied for a job like that. Do you enjoy it?

Yes. Sometimes. [Please stop being nice and talking to me because I am going to have to wee very soon or it will be unpleasant for all involved]

What school do you work in? Is it primary or seconday?

[Can’t hold it anymore] Really sorry, I have to go to the toilet. [Sweet relief].

I’m not sure what the etiquette in this situation is. Any tips?

6 thoughts on “Etiquette

  1. I don’t know if one is obliged to be polite in such a situation! There are times and places for small talk – and standing with one foot in the door of the loo is frankly just not one of them!

    Perhaps the etiquette is: I would really love to tell you all about my job. I’ll see you in the corridor/common room/suitable place in 5 minutes when you’ve finished doing what you need to do [meaning: when *I’ve* finished doing what *I* need to do!!]

  2. Wait till you’ve been yelled at through the door by a staff member who came across too late to get anything to see me. She knew my timetable but had tried to enforce her own many times. This time I had gone well before. But she was in the corridor??? Yelling loudly? No, no, no.

  3. Chatting to strangers in toilets – just not right really… I can’t think of a better way to handle it though surely if there were a proper etiqutte for this sort of even then it should clearly state don’t stop someone trying to visit a toilet – it could get messy…

  4. I agree with your final solution too. Depending on how irritating they were being you could also try a “really sorry, baby’s kicking my bladder again and it’s going to end in tears in a minute if I don’t go RIGHT NOW” or somesuch.

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