The challenge of using public loos

Public toilet Image copyright Thinkstock

A woman's satirical take on the challenges of using public loos goes viral in Argentina.

For women the process of using a public toilet can be a lengthy affair. But why? People are talking (and laughing) about it in Argentina, after a woman revealed what exactly goes on behind cubicle doors in a funny Facebook post that has been shared more than 110,000 times recently - although the story itself has been circulating for years.

It all starts, says Luciana Ochoa, with a voice in the back of your head - your mother telling you "never, ever sit on a public toilet." Depending on the state of the facilities, women basically have two options: to wipe the seat and then proceed to cover it with paper, or to use a frankly unpractical posture that Ochoa calls "the ninja position" - a sort of hovering squat which ensures no part of your body ever touches the seat.

Things can get even more challenging if the door's lock does not work. "This is when your muscles start trembling," Ochoa writes. "You are suspended in mid-air, squatting, with one arm holding the door, and your five-kilo bag around your neck."

In her post, Ochoa trickles out detail after detail until the point when the woman emerges, exhausted and sweating, only to hear the inevitable question from a male companion: "Why did it take you so long?"

"'There was a long queue,' is what you decided to answer," she wrote. The story, while not original (we've found versions on the internet goes back to at least 2003) prompted hundreds of comments, by both men and women, revealing their own insights into the public toilet time warp. Here's a typical one: "You forgot to say that when there is no paper to dry your hands, you use your hair," commented Susana Recabarren.

Updated 14 April to include the fact that the post is not original to Ochoa.

Blog by Gabriela Torres

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