CALL OF NATURE

Unspoken rules of using public toilets

In most cases, you only ever use this facility when you cannot hold it any longer

In Summary

• Sitting on that toilet seat is sacrilegious and our mothers warned us of this since we were young girls.

• The least you can do is lay tissue paper on the seat before using it. And not just one layer of tissue, at least four (if you are very paranoid).

Public toilet at the Central bus station on May 25.
PUBLIC TOILETS Public toilet at the Central bus station on May 25.
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

It is not always a happy thing to use public toilets in Kenya.

Even the well-maintained ones still make you cringe when you want to access them.

In most cases, you only ever use a public toilet when you absolutely cannot hold the call of nature any longer.

Now, I do not know about men’s public toilets but, women’s toilets have unspoken rules, especially in Nairobi.

So ladies, in case you have never heard of the rules of using public toilets or you have forgotten, here they are:

1. Do not seat on that toilet seat.

This one is a universal rule for public toilets everywhere.

Sitting on that toilet seat is sacrilegious and our mothers warned us of this since we were young girls.

The least you can do is lay tissue paper on the seat before using it. And not just one layer of tissue, at least four (if you are very paranoid).

But even after laying tissue on the seat, some women still opt to employ ‘ninja tactics’ by suspending themselves over the toilet so as to absolutely not touch the seat.

I personally recommend this method because you can never be too sure. Women are too prone to infection down there.

2. Carry your luggage inside the toilet.

Luggage includes babies by the way.

In case you have someone with you whom you actually trust, then maybe you can leave your baby and luggage with them.

Kenyans have become notorious for baby-snatching.

Trusting a perfect stranger can lead them to confidently walk away with your child, even when they know the area is surrounded by CCTV cameras.

If you are alone, your best bet is actually going into the toilet with your baby.

3. Be ready to improvise.

Now, you are inside the toilet, you have your bags with you (and maybe your baby too) and you turn to lock the door behind you.

Alas! The door has no lock. It is either broken or the nail that usually works as the lock is not available.

You will have to be creative.

I suggest you hang your bag on the nail on the door (if there is one) and then you put your baby on your back (if your baby came into the bathroom with you).

There has to be a place to hang your bag in there. Perhaps on top of the flash-tank, or the Rentokil (you know, that bin we put sanitary pads in).

If all else does not work, you could always use one hand to hold the door and the other to hold your bag. Women have been known as master multitaskers after all.

4. Have spare change handy.

Lastly, remember access to a public toilet is Sh10 that usually caters for the tissue.

Carry coins around to make it easier.

Even if you have your own tissue, remember not to argue with the attendants. Just give them that ten shillings.