Posted by: roamingolivia | March 16, 2011

Toilet stalking + clarification on ‘Britishness’

It just came to my attention – in a really amusing conversation we just had in our office – that there is a guy who follows my colleagues into the loo.

I’ll get to that in a minute. I wanted to write something like a clarification that the use of the word “Britishness” in the previous post was not meant to imply that the racism – as it was correctly pointed out – is a key aspect of “Britishness”. Of course, such a suggestion would be objectionable (whether one is British or not). I suppose that a more appropriate title for the post could have been “Encounters with the Britishness debate” or something similar – i.e., these are mainly how the so-called debate on Britishness has made its way into my cultural life in the UK. Most of the time no one talks about this topic at all, or if they do, it’s in a positive way or in a more inclusive way. But actually these are really two of probably very few conversations I’ve ever had about Englishness or Britishness.

The post was not intended to imply that that is the primary content of the debate over Britishness, or what Britishness is like. Or even that there is a thing called Britishness, although clearly in the minds of those people there is a concept of it – or at  least of Englishness. But it has been interesting to see the criticism, as I am not really personally invested in the debate. It was probably more like reporting when I talked to radical Muslims, who claim that non-radical Muslims are heretics, and calling the post “encounters with Islam”. Fair enough.

Back to the toilet stalker. I am working in a different office than I’d normally be based in, and locked in a project room with lots of people I don’t normally work with. I really like them (although a high percentage have colds and thus I am forced to view them as contaminants), and we have some amusing chat sometimes. Today I learned from them that there is a guy who follows them into the loo and just watches them use the urinal.

Sometimes, he apparently just stands next to them and plays with his phone. Other times, when they go to use the drinks machine, he sees that they’re not going to the loo and returns to his seat.

It had never even occurred to me that this could happen, since we have more discreet toilet facilities and thus never face this problem. In a way, the public use of toilet space in men’s loos means it is perhaps strange that it doesn’t happen more? But it has also been amusing that no one has any idea what to do about this. One of my colleagues said, “I know that if this wasn’t at work, I would just turn around and piss on his leg, and ask if he’d seen enough.” But perhaps in the workplace this is not really the way such things are handled. But how to adapt the mega-corporation’s bureaucracy to deal with this?


  1. Does this really belong on the internet? For me, It falls in the category of too much information.

  2. Dear Ms Alison,

    You could do well with a book! I am a darn good writer, but I envy your tone, pace and candour. It’s a long time we did a bit of friendly ‘drop-notes.’ This is it from me!
    Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

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