You Don’t Say – Vol 30– by Ray Hudson
We have become hypersensitive and hyper politically correct, to the point where we are afraid to say what we mean even when speaking plainly is completely safe. But lest I stray into something too serious, I thought we’d look at a number of things where direct language has been squashed, or should I say ‘massaged into the background.’ This week, the subject is the discussion of which, creates terror in the hearts of most. Yet there isn’t a human being made who’s unaffected by the ‘call of nature’ (there’s the first euphemism).
Toilet: There I said it. We all know what it is, and we all know what it’s for. However, referring to it and the human practices around it (or on it) can be humorous, embarrassing, not for discussion, or vague. So we invented a whole lexicon to deal with it – so here’s the poop!
Rest rooms: I don’t know about you but it would seem a more appropriate reference to a hotel.
Washroom: Part of the ritual but more appropriate for the laundry or a place with a shower.
Comfort Station: A place for spiritual or emotional solace. Come to think of it…
Bathroom: When was the last time you went to the bathroom, intending to take a bath? Splish-splash, rubber duckies and all.
Powder room: When the ladies go (often together) to the powder room, what are they powdering? The inference is they are going to this great cosmetic repair station for touch up – sure! And while we’re at it, why do they all go together? Can you imagine a table of guys at the pub, one stands up and says, “I’m goin’ to the (insert euphemism here) who wants to come along?” That’s likely an invitation for a dunking in the porcelain water container.
Men’s Room, Ladies’ Room – seems more like a place for a gender specific social club meeting.
More truth in advertising I say! How about the truth of “spend a penny” (although I doubt there are many pay toilets around anymore), Throne room because there are likely more imperial thoughts hatched during these sessions, or the graphic images generated with the term for the porcelain chamber pot referred to as the Thunder Mug. Personally I like one I just ran into referring to it as the “oval office” – quaint. But I digress. The most truthful of all is the sign that says ‘toilet.’ What you see is what you get, unless you are in Britain where the most common form of graffiti is to deface the signs in windows indicating space FOR RENT – safe if you use those two words (which they don’t), but on dangerous ground if you used the words TO LET (which they do) inserting an “I” in the space between them leading visitors to believe there was an abundance of public commodes.
Does anyone blush when the kiddies have a giggle-fit over Whinnie the Pooh?
Kinda leaves you feeling flushed, I think I’d like to be excused now if I may.
If you’d like to share any language issues, irritations, comments or gotcha moments, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org