Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Who's making all that mess in our toilets?

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Kiwis are constantly confronted with disgusting public loos.
It's a sad fact that if left unserviced for more than an hour someone will turn up and soil any given public bathroom. Photo / Getty Images
It's a sad fact that if left unserviced for more than an hour someone will turn up and soil any given public bathroom. Photo / Getty Images

So who's making all the mess in our public toilets? Who's weeing on the floor in restaurant restrooms? Who's not flushing? Who can't aim? Who's chucking paper at the roof and smearing stuff where it was never meant to be?

This week I went to the movies at my local mall. All of the above and much more had been done to the disabled cubicle I found myself in. It was disgusting and weird. As I sat there all I could think was who, why, what?

Surely everyone over 5 years old knows how to use a bathroom. Where to direct their business, how to operate a button, how to dispose of paper towels. Yet good honest Kiwis are constantly confronted with loos so disgusting we struggle to enter, let alone pull down our pants and do the important stuff we need to do.

It's a sad fact that if left unserviced for more than an hour someone will turn up and soil any given public bathroom.

But what is their motive? Are they simply marking their territory? Do they just stand back and let rip on the walls because it feels good? As Alfred once said to Bruce Wayne "some men aren't looking for anything logical ... some men just want to watch the world burn". One thing's for sure, people do all sorts of disgusting things when they know no one's watching. There must be a certain percentage who make a mess just to mess with the world. To show the bathroom who's boss.

Maybe facility fouling starts with a spray from these people. The mess then grows and grows as innocent parties are forced further back from the bowl. Females who come across a soiled seat will often squat on top to avoid contact - increasing the chance of missing and innocently adding to the mess.

For a man, the bowl target is hard enough to hit from a normal distance. When you start standing back the chances of missing go through the roof.

That's why urinals were invented. It's hard to miss a wall. Although people do. In fact I'm pretty sure some dudes wilfully face the wrong way to spray backwards into the room.

If we were dogs we would celebrate a punished cubicle. The smells would provide a world of happy stories, instead of a gag-inducing nightmare.

Maybe we homo sapiens are being too precious. Too sensitive. Dogs love other dogs' leavings. They hunt them out. Why are we humans so grossed out? If we were dogs we would celebrate a punished cubicle. The smells would provide a world of happy stories, instead of a gag-inducing nightmare.

Being a civilised human is a curse. Not only do we not wee in the corner ourselves, we are forced to clean up for others.

Sometimes you end up in a cubicle that has been misused. You go about your business but as you finish you hear someone else enter the bathroom. They're next in. They will think you made the mess.

So you do what you can with the paper provided to clean up the previous stranger's mess. A dog wouldn't do that.

How can you spot a toilet spoiler out on the street? What do they look like? Well, in 2007, I came face to face with one. It was in a port-a-loo at the Reading Music festival. I opened a door to find the very person who had soiled the cubicle passed out, pants down still inside.

It was like coming across a criminal unconscious at his crime scene.

He looked just like you but in a Foo Fighters T-shirt. I left him there to stew in his own juices, which was probably punishment enough. Interestingly in the next port-a-loo I found a couple making love among the mess. Gross.

People are constantly doing disgusting stuff in public facilities. They always have and they always will. Who they are and why they do it is still a bit of a mystery. But they leave the rest of us with three clear options. Go at home, man up and deal with it, or enjoy it like a dog would.

As for my mall cinema: sort your crapper out, I'm paying $19.50 to see a film. You could send someone in with a bucket and mop every now and then.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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