When I first started hanging out with Saffy years ago, one of the things I immediately noticed was that whenever we were out, she seemed to take an unusually long time in the toilet. Nothing could hurry her up – not the final boarding call at the airport, not the imminent start of a blockbuster movie that we’d been dying to see, nothing.
“Why do you take so long?” I once asked, frustrated that I’d literally just spent fifteen very uncomfortable minutes loitering outside the women’s toilet at Takashimaya. “I could have raised a child and sent him off to university by now!”
Saffy was serenely unruffled as we walked towards Crystal Jade for lunch. “You are such a drama queen. These things take time! We’re women. We can’t just go up to a wall, and whip it out and pee, you know!”
Saffy sighed, her impressive bosom deflating a few millimetres. “Look, first of all, I have to find a clean cubicle. That’s not as easy as it sounds. If the other cubicles are all occupied except for one and that one is not clean, I have to wait for someone to come out.”
“Define clean!” I challenged.
“No puddles on the ground. No shoe marks on the toilet seat!”
I stopped walking. “Shoe marks? Why would there be shoe marks on the toilet seat?”
Saffy looked around to make sure she wasn’t overheard. She stood up on her tip-toes and pulled me down closer. “Some women,” she whispered, “step onto the toilet seat!” She lowered herself and resumed in normal conversational tones. “So, if the floor has puddles in the first place, their shoes will get wet and they’ll leave shoe marks on the seat!”
Which, apparently, brought us to the next stage – lining the seats with toilet paper. Assuming the cubicle in question, Saffy said, in a penetrating tone, hadn’t actually run out of toilet paper.
“And if the toilet paper is the dinky square sheet kind, that’s going to take extra time, as you can imagine,” she said as we settled down at the table where Amanda was waiting.
“What takes time?”
“Lining the toilet seat,” Saffy said.
“Oh, are you explaining why we take so long in the toilet? We’re women, Jason. We can’t just whip it out, you know!”
Saffy’s bosom inflated. “That’s exactly what I said! Oh, and don’t forget, if the woman before me has just done a number two in there, you cannot expect me to go in straight after, right? I have to wait for the air to clear a bit!”
“Do you still line the toilet seat?” Amanda asked as she took a menu from the waitress.
Saffy looked astonished. “You mean, you don’t?”
“I can’t be bothered anymore. The toilets I’ve been to lately have been so gross, I just need to pee and get out as quickly as I can!”
Saffy leaned forward. “So what do…”
“I just hover!”
Saffy sighed. “Oh.”
I was completely lost. “What? What happens?”
Saffy turned to me. “Hovering is when you lower yourself over a toilet seat till you’re almost in the sitting position, but you’re not actually sitting and touching the seat!”
I raised an eyebrow. “That’s an actual thing? Hovering?”
“Only if you have strong thigh muscles and good core!” said Amanda. “Which I have.”
“And I don’t,” Saffy said morosely. “Plus I have a very lazy bladder which means it takes me about a minute to really get going and there’s no way I can hover beyond five seconds before I have to sit!”
Of course, when I next caught up with my best friend Karl, it was all I could talk about.
“Did you know that it was such a major production for women to pee in a public toilet?” I asked.
Karl frowned into his mug of beer. “Listen, mate, every thing a woman does is a major production! Whenever we go out, I dread it when Marsha goes to the toilet. We timed her once. It took her fifteen minutes to pee and another ten to touch up her make-up.” He sighed. “I wish I was single again.”
Recently, I found myself in a core exercise class with Sharyn.
“You know, ah!” she shouted over the loud music. “Amanda say I need to do more squats, so that I can get strong ties because, ah, I always take so long in the toilet, she fed up waiting. She say if I have strong ties, I can just hor-ver! Wah, I wish I was a man! Can just unzip and take out, no ploh-blem!”
Karl says this is why he dreams of a men’s only gym.