Don Kavanagh is the editor of Hospitality magazine.

Don Kavanagh: Time off in the loo

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Washroom waits and toilet troubles, over the years Don Kavanagh has seen it all.

Women go in flocks to the bathroom. Photo / Thinkstock
Women go in flocks to the bathroom. Photo / Thinkstock

You may wish to avert your eyes from this particular column if you are of a tender nature, as I intend to speak about toilets.

Nothing coarse, obviously, but there comes a time in every drinks writer's life when he or she must address the issue, so it's best I get it over with.

Having spent more than 25 years in and around pubs, clubs, bars, dives and speakeasies, I can claim some authority on the subject. Although not as much as one of the Bee Gees who, when describing his drinking binges, said: "You know you've got a problem when you know the name of your toilet manufacturer, and me and Armitage-Shanks were on first-name terms."

(In a similar fashion, I've always felt a surge of pride when I've entered a bar in New Zealand and encountered the peerless Steelfort logo on the trough. It's nice to know that there is some corner of an Auckland bar that is forever Palmerston North.)

But really what I want to talk about are the strange rituals involved visiting the khazi in a bar.

Women, as everyone knows, go in flocks. I'm sure there are good reasons for this, including security and social ones, but really we blokes know that you go together so you can talk about us.

Oddly enough, the male of the species has a strong aversion to going to the loo with another guy. The lone stride towards the door seems a more natural way of doing things. Once inside things can be scary enough without having a friend to hold your hand, as it were. Stagefright can be a terrible thing, and communal troughs are the worst for this.

Still, for all the perils and pitfalls, I've seen some funny moments.

The best was when a man, clearly in an advanced state of refreshment, entered. He was an older man, dressed in slacks and a zipped up cardigan and he swayed past me as I was washing my hands. I watched in mixed horror and delight as he proceeded to unzip his cardigan, pull out his tie and, with a satisfied sigh, let nature take its course. Upon finishing, he tucked in his tie and wandered out of the bar, never even noticing that the front of his trousers were now wetter than an Auckland summer.

- Herald on Sunday

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