Comedy, Think Piece

Global Warming and the Arctic Pub toilet


Author: Hannah Smith

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

You’re halfway through your second pint and a feeling has been gathering for a while, you know that you don’t have long left before you are going to have to just break that blasted seal. Once you’ve popped…you can’t stop. Oh please, no I didn’t just fart.

This is problematic for a couple of reasons, one, the obvious, this is a stream that will just keep coming, a tap that is constantly turning, an inconvenient interruption every time your friend gets to the punch line of their story. It is a constant interruption to an otherwise pleasant evening. Two, and this is far more disturbing, you know that no matter what pub you are in, no matter what part of London this is, from your trusted local to the brand new pub you’ve just stepped inside, this is the first wee of many where you will be forced to risk your genitals actually freezing over. And you’re going to have to do that a million times in the course of the evening.

You open the door to the toilet and an arctic wind hits you, in the corner of your eye you think you saw a Polar bear but it’s hard to tell, your face is whipped and tingling with cold, your eyes have started to water from the pain of the cold, dry air. Your fingers lose all feeling as you fumble with first the lock, and then your clothes. Bracing yourself as the cold wind hits the area and almost tears off a layer of flesh. The pee when it comes is steaming at first but turns to icicles as soon as it hits the air. Your vajayjay could actually freeze over and now the eye contact you made with the hot guy on the way to the toilet feels hopeless. “Yes, I will go home with you but we’re going to need a pick axe.”

You John Wayne it out of the toilets because your entire nether regions have now frozen over, having barely shown your hands at the freezing cold water you tried to clean them under. Shivering as you attempted to clean your hands and fix your make up. The arctic sea ice might be melting but go to any pub in London and you’ll find a new one developing in the toilet bowls.

You seriously consider saying no to a third pint but then, it’s Friday (read every day of the week), you’ve earned this. If a frozen vagina is the price you pay, well, it’s the price you pay.

Look, pubs, we know that heating your old Victorian / Edwardian building is expensive, we know you’re slowly turning into crèches and restaurants and flats, we know you have your struggles, we get it, we sympathise but please would you stop taking it out on my reproductive organs?

I’ve worked in pubs and I know that managers and owners are very concerned with making the toilets look like old Victorian lounges, a sofa here, an ornamental soap dispenser there that will run out within an hour of being filled, paper towels and a small antique bin to put them in, the kind that is full after one empty toilet roll holder, toilet roll holders that will beautifully carry one bloody roll for an evening’s worth of drinkers to share, cling onto, fight for. They want everything to look good. Great, brilliant, I will step over the over-flowing paper towels, I will get my anti-bacterial out when the soap is empty, again, I will drip dry…except, no, I won’t because the drips turn to ice and now I’ve got a sheet of ice covering what used to be my vagina.

The brave of you might even take the time to look for a radiator, you won’t find one, or if you do, you will touch it and not only will it be turned off, it will be so cold that your hand will stick to it until a family of penguins take pity on you and peck you free. Crying with relief, you look up at the skylight to catch the Northern lights dancing above the OPEN bloody window that no one can reach. There hasn’t been a star seen in London since sometime in the 80’s but over every pub toilet in the Capital dance the Aurora Borealis seven nights a week, twelve months of the year.

I’m not sure when global warming first started to affect the London ladies toilets but I do know we have to do something to halt it. We have to stand up and say we want to do our million-in-a-row-wees of a Friday night in warmth, without threatening our ability to reproduce, without crying tears of frozen pain every time we pull down our knickers, we want to be able to wash our hands without chattering teeth, we want to enter the toilet and exit it without our body temperature plummeting to damaging degrees, we want to know that we won’t be found frozen to the toilet seat, dead from hypothermia at the end of the night as the pub is locked up, we want to know why in 2016 the only room in your Victorian / Edwardian building without central heating is the dunny? We want to stop this before the worrying trend of the restaurant with the arctic toilets starts to creep from the odd one, to all of them.

Please, someone, please help.

And she exits, pursued by a bloody Polar bear…

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