When a public toilet in America isn’t working properly and you stumble out of the stall looking bewildered, it’s not unusual to establish a certain camaraderie with your fellow bathroom-goers: you simply swing open the door and shrug your shoulders, giving the other women an adorably confused look that says, “I don’t know, girl!”
But in the UK, people don’t want camaraderie — especially in a dimly lit “loo” with no toilet paper at a pub called the Spread Eagle. And that’s too bad, because public restrooms (but don’t call them restrooms, because British people won’t know what the hell you’re talking about) are hard. And really, really annoying. You go to the toilet, and you, you know, do whatever. And then you’re done and you just want to flush, right? Because it’s gross if you don’t and also really inconsiderate (because, for some reason, no one wants to use the stall where someone hasn’t flushed when actually that doesn’t make any sense because that means the person didn’t touch the handle with their gross germ-hands, so you should actually want to use that one).
Anyway, you go to the bathroom, but when you try to flush the toilet (in the UK they have buttons, not handles, just in case you were curious — IT’S SO CRAZY AND EUROPEAN), nothing happens. Maybe the water ripples a little bit, maybe a faint flushing sound emanates from the depths of the sewage system (which is super old, I bet, because everything in England dates from the Romans or the Normans or the Saxons or something), but the evidence of the deed remains. So you emerge from the stall looking perplexed, trying to use your ironically raised eyebrows to warn anyone waiting in line to like, “beware!, the toilet isn’t working!,” or whatever. But as a general rule, British people won’t look you in the eye, so you think to yourself, “Ha, they’re in for a surprise!” and chuckle because you didn’t have to use the gross, unflushed toilet but now they have to because they didn’t heed your obvious eye-warnings.
But then, as you’re washing your hands in the highly impractical British sinks that are divided into two faucets — one for hot water and one for cold (so that you have to plunge your germ-hands into an ice cold stream before quickly switching over to a scalding hot one so that you don’t burn yourself) — only then do you realize that the joke’s on you! Because that toilet that you couldn’t flush is totally flushable! That British girl just flushed it! And she comes out of the bathroom stall and looks at you like, “ugh, Americans,” and leaves without washing her hands because the sinks are really inconvenient.
Because that’s how British people live. They just deal with shit.