Miss Manners is still around, but I'm not certain she ever covered this topic: the use of the word "toilet".

Due to circumstances that are quite aggravating and slightly disturbing, it's time for me to perform maintenance on our guest bathroom toilet. Yes, I used the word "toilet", which, in this situation, is the proper use of the term.

Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon
Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon

In mixed company (which, in most cases, should be any company), though, the image(s) that appear(s) when one asks "May I use your toilet?" is (are) NOT the image(s) I want in my brain. Am I being petty? Probably, but there are more polite ways to ask.

According to English Teacher Melanie, the proper words to use when asking the location of the toilet in select situations are as follows:

restroom – in the US, in a public place
washroom – in Canada, in a public place
ladies’ room or men’s room – in a public place
bathroom – in someone’s house - English Teacher Melanie

When speaking of repairing a toilet or buying a toilet or cleaning a toilet, the use of the word "toilet" is preferred. But when speaking of utilizing said fixture, don't. Ever. Just keep it broad ("while I was in the restroom" or "men's room", etc.)

Is this a pet peeve of mine? Well, if someone were to ask me, at this very moment, "Where is the toilet?", 2 images come to mind: the first is them fixing the leak for me; the second is one of the images which was referred to above. (I guess the answer is "Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine").

(Well, look at this: while I was writing this story, I DID come across an article by Miss Manners that covers the use of the word "toilet". It looks like she slightly agrees with me.)


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