Bog Trotting
“The mysterious English aversion to having locks on toilets”

Apropos of nothing - save the fact I’ll be stayin’ over at a mates house in a few days - a question which has long puzzled me:

“why do the English never have locks on their toilet doors?”

I’m just going though a mental list of friends, acquaintances, in-laws and other ‘Persons Known to Me’ - as the police would have it - in whose houses, over the years, I’ve spent the night. And consequently, in whose houses I’ve availed of the bathroom facilities in the morning. And I’d say that in almost every case I was confounded by the lack of a lock on the bog door.

I used to think this was what Germaine-fucking-Greer would call a ‘Gender Issue’. Due to my incredible good looks and sex-appeal and the fact I’m hung like a chipolatta, most of the ‘Other People’s Gaffs’ I stayed in when I first came to England belonged to girls of the female variety. I just assumed that they didnae bother with bathroom locks because they liked to crap with the door open in case they missed the chance to inject a strategic “So she sez… and I sez….” into whatever conversation was taking place elsewhere in the house. But of late, I have come to realise that the lockless bog is not in fact a ‘Girl Thing’ but a ‘National English Trait’.

[Which means it may well be possible to get grants from English Heritage to have unwanted locks removed from your own bathroom door].

So what is this all about? Women may view a trip to the toilet as an unwarranted intrusion into their perpetual jabbering, but for us blokes The Bog is the venue for that daily gladiatorial contest known as the ‘Early Morning Crap’ [or EMC]. This titanic struggle with ones bowels is the highlight of most blokes’ mornings. It is the seminal moment which sets you up for the rest of the day. A man emerges from the toilet after a particularly onerous crap, feeling like he’s just done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson and lived to tell the tale. That’s why we like to take a book or newspaper in there - it helps pass the time and give us inspiration during lulls in the action! - and it’s also why we need the security of a good, solid - preferably soundproof - door, fitted with a sturdy lock in front of us.

When yer average bloke is locked in his diurnal bout of unarmed coprological combat; mounted atop the ceramic throne, fists clenched white-knuckled, neck veins standing out like steel hawsers, eyes wide and bulging with pain and terror, sweat pouring in torrents down the forehead, knees twitching uncontrollably, feet drumming on the floor, contorted face lit satanically through the green smoke coiling and billowing from the toilet bowl - the last thing he needs is for the bathroom door to suddenly fly open to reveal some other member of the household standing there in their pyjamas. Not only does it ruin the concentration, but it erases at a stroke whatever mystique and magic may formerly have coloured the relationship between those two people.

It is for this reason that I’ve been so shocked to realise that, contrary to my initial findings, it turns out that in England not even the blokes fit locks to their bathroom doors! What has led to this sad state of affairs? -Are all my male friends henpecked downtrodden victims of the matriarchal society, forbidden even the consolation of communing in private with their bowels of a morning? -Or is it that, a couple of millennia ago, the concept of the toilet as cross between Battlefield and Portal to the Afterlife was driven to the Celtic fringes of the British Isles with the invasion of the effete Romans, bringing with them their scented bath oils and underfloor heating?

If so, is it not time that the English male rose up and reclaimed his anal heritage?

Incidentally, anyone inspired by this article into offering to fit a bathroom lock for a female acquaintance should be aware of a potential problem, which will be aired in a forthcoming post entitled “Why, when you ask a girl if she has a screwdriver you can borrow, does she look at you as if you’ve asked her if she owns any industrial Laser Welding gear and then hand you a butter knife out of the kitchen drawer?”

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