I’m glad you found the post interesting jbz2079, it sounds like you’ve had some direct experience of toilet desperation re your girl friend. I’m also glad you were not cross with her, I’m sure she felt bad enough anyway.
I haven’t been back in the UK for a while now, but it doesn’t sound like things are improving. I’m based in France now where some things are good and others definitely worse. The toilets are definitely worse; the ‘classic’ French design requires you to pull the flush and sort of leap-frog out of the cubical at the same time, or risk soaking wet feet. They strike fear into all but the most devout Francophiles but at least there is no seat to get dirty!
On the positive side the French do have a more relaxed attitude to answering the call in public, the men and the women to some extent, they just don’t care! Despite this, I think walking up a side street and just going for it is a step too far for most of us. If you do use diapers for whatever reason they are a lot easier to purchase, they are stocked in most Supermarkets and most Pharmacies. This might due to the way that health system works in that you buy what you need and then get reimbursed by whatever health insurance you have elected to pay into. As a result the ‘products’ are much more widely available and no one bats an eye when you arrive at the till with them.
I don’t know whether ‘diapering up’ is common in France. I remember one time I went back to the UK I needed take the train from Clermont to Paris, it takes about 3 and half hours. Our carriage wasn’t very full and young woman a couple of seats away was reaching up to put her travel bag on the overhead rack. As she did so part of her blouse un-tucked from her trousers revealing the top of, you guessed it, a diaper. I think a couple of kids had noticed because they had muttered ‘la couche’ to each other, which the French actually use for baby nappies. Anyway a nice gentleman tapped her on the shoulder and whispered something to her, she responded with a cheery ‘merci’ and calmly tucked herself in. So no big deal but hence my point about clothing in my previous post. All the same, I had to smile to myself because there can’t have been more than 12 of us in the carriage and at least two of us were wearing diapers for the trip.
About halfway though the journey I got up for a leg stretch and checked out the loo anyway, to see what I might be missing. Peering in there was the usual collection of used paper towels overflowing from the bin, no clean paper towels and some liquid of unknown origin bobbling about on the toilet seat. If I actually tried to use this loo I could just see me having a Bridget Jones moment : Pull knickers and skirt down to half-mast, bend down and try to hover over toilet so as not to touch the liquid of unknown origin. Train hits some points, I pitch forward and head-but washbasin. Rebounding back I sit on liquid of unknown origin, stand up in shock and pee all over skirt and knickers anyway. Hmmm, exactly sort of accident I’m trying to avoid!
So, I thought I’d try and hang on for the nice loos in the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord. Unfortunately, standing around in a queue for a Metro ticket at rather chilly Gare de Lyon got the better of me.
Sorry about the slightly comedic take on things, but you’ve got to hold on to your sense of humour even if you can’t hold on to your pee!