TOILET SCARCITY GOT YOU FLUMMOXED?
Miss Madame to the rescue–toute de suite.
Dear Miss Madame,
I’m going to Paris for the second time, after a two-week stay in Bordeaux but before my trip to Ibiza, and what I have noticed about France is the pink toilet paper (fun!) and the lack of facilities (pas si fun!) It is nearly impossible to find a place to tinkle! And when I pop into a restaurant to answer nature’s call, the waiters, waitresses, bartender, pastis-guzzling patrons, and owner all make unpleasant remarks about how Americans are a bunch of freeloading pigs.
I’ve even been chased into the street by one irate wait staffer who proceeded to chew me out in front of a picturesque boulangerie (true story)! All I’d done was use the restroom before trying to buy a coffee (the French wait staffer in question lavished upon me all the usual attention of a French service industry employee, which is to say none, so I left.)
Miss Madame, I pose you two questions, one an opinion and the other a factual matter. Firstly, does the overall lack of consideration for a lady’s needs strike you as odd? Perhaps a tad sexist? I might also add that, once a girl does find a john, the john is usually missing his lid and requires a good wipe-and-paper before he’s fit for use, if he isn’t just a hole in the ground (how does one go No. 2 in a hole without tempting disaster? It’s all a bit too Chuck E. Cheese for my taste.)
Secondly, do you have a list of toilets that a person might actually use in Paris? A pregnant friend of mine is coming to town next week, and these days she pretty much sets up camp in the nearest bathroom. We want to enjoy the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the pleasures of the Seine, but might have to plan strategically. Please, can you help?
Sincerely, Can’t Hold It Any Longer
Can’t, My Dulcet Doppelganger!
Oh, how I thrill with delight when a dear reader, a real jet-setter like myself, contacts me with a sensible problem where I may be of concrete use.
Dearest Can’t–I, too, have desperately cleaved to the call of nature and hounded the winding, mysterious streets of gay Paris for a place to relieve myself with dignity. I, too, have experienced outrage over the sheer number of male genitalia encountered en plein air on my pensive flaneurings, during which I intend to ponder the state of my spiritual life, not draw inevitable comparisons between Gallic and Anglo equipment!
But, my dearest Can’t, never you mind if this is a feminist issue, a safety issue, or a sanitation issue. First and foremost, my sweet, this is a customer relations issue. You, a client, have purchased an experience, known as ‘France’.
Upon confirmed purchase of this experience, you are entitled to a. Gastronomic Delirium, b. Romantic and Illicit Interludes with impenetrably accented tour guides, waiters, busboys, and all hommes named Pierre, and c. The Retention of your God-given rights.
Among those rights are a. Happiness, b. Eternal Life, c. Superiority, and d. Unhampered access to the Lady’s.
If anyone, and I mean anyone, dear Can’t, impedes your full enjoyment of the above rights, I say put your well-shod foot down. Afterward, when you find yourself understandably ignored and marginalized, I suggest you do what we Americans do best: put your money where your morals go.
Thus, the simplest solution to this customer service issue? Between one jet-setter and another? TAXIS, my dear! Not even a desperately full bladder can impinge on the delight of whizzing through the Latin Quarter, headed for the nearest available toilet (in your hotel suite, of course!)
Here’s the website for my favorite taxi service, who waste not a minute of your precious bathroom time on traffic laws or regulations. Yellow means GO!
Public Toilets in Paris, for those truly in need (who ain’t?)
image credit Taylor Erwin