Last week I had to make a pretty humiliating phone call to the Irishman. It went something like this:
me: "Hi, it's me"
him: "Hi" (when he's at work he is very serious on the phone)
me: "I have a confession to make"
me: "You know how I felt a bit sick after the curry we had last night"
me: "Well, before I left for work I went to the bathroom" (he leaves for work earlier than me)
me: "And now I feel better, but..."
him: "Uh, okay..."
me: "Well, uh, I mean, what I'm trying to say"
him: "Oh right (chuckle). That's okay. Gotta go bye."
I'm recounting this ridiculous episode for you because it's actually something that's been on my mind for nearly a year now - the way British people deal with, well, poop. The topic came to my attention when I realized soon after moving here that every bathroom (or "loo") features a toilet brush. Not just residential bathrooms, mind you; every loo in my office has a toilet brush, every pub and bar toilet stall has one, even public restrooms like in train stations have them. Obviously I've scrubbed a toilet in my time, but I didn't quite grasp that if you use a toilet and leave a little behind it is common courtesy to scrub it away. I grew up in a house with four bathrooms - my father is quite proud that there is one for each of us - and it is a testament to my mother's housekeeping that the bathrooms were always spotless. But the toilet brush remained far out of sight, in the cupboard with the cleaning supplies. In college and my subsequent apartments, I only had one shared commode and then I think our toilet brushes lived next to the toilet just for convenience's sake, but I don't think anyone used it unless it was with the toilet bowl cleaning solution. I asked the Irishman once about this topic, and he was incredulous that it wasn't part of my psyche to understand that brush + bowl = scrub more often than not. I didn't want to attribute this behavior, or lack thereof, to Americans overall; maybe it's just me and I didn't want to flush my entire nation down with me. But I am curious about this cultural difference, so American readers - what's your loo etiquette?