Picture the scene; you’re in a bar (an establishments of reasonable size that can justify at least ten cubicles in the ladies), and it’s quite busy. You pop to the loo only to find yourself in the world’s largest queue. There’s no queue at the bar, just here. The line shuffles down amidst tuts and grumbles; a few really drunk girls in perilous heels are just about staying upright. With two women to go, I start playing the lav lottery game in my head, weighing up the options; checking the form before placing any bets.

The game is simple, it involves guessing what will be wrong with my assigned relief space; starting from the larger issues (which in extreme cases may mean waving a destined dunnie away to another and waiting for Lady Luck’s next fine hand), to the things that don’t matter but detract from the whole experience (if there is such a thing). So here we go:

  1. The cubicle –
    1. Is it big enough for the average person to get in without scraping knees or having to climb over the toilet whilst shutting the door? Thankfully you’re in a pub, not an airport; luggage is not an option.
    2. Is it wide enough so you don’t have to sit on the sanitary bin?
    3. Narrow enough to reach the loo roll without a waddle?
  2. The door –
    1. Will the door shut, shut and lock securely, or kind of shut and rely on handbag/hand/foot/(insert body part here) to close?
    2. Will you be lucky enough for a lock be present, or instead be greeted by a large hole where the lock used to be? Of course if you are, it’s sufficient in size to give you a lovely view of the queue when seated.
  3. The loo –
    1. Is it blocked?
    2. Is the seat present?
    3. Is it fixed correctly, or on one hinge that could catch you off guard after a bit to drink?
    4. Is it cracked, so the slightest movement in situ could leave parts of you trapped and require friends to extract you?
    5. In fact, is it clean enough to be sat on, or require the time-perfected “service station squat”?
    6. And to top it off, will the flush work?
  4. Essentials –
    1. Any paper? Didn’t pack tissues in your handbag? You are left to the mercy and good grace of your neighbours. Ah the mixture of helplessness mixed with camaraderie, you can’t beat it.
  5. The environs/the little things –
    1. Is there a hook on the back of the door for my bag? I find it keeps fresher for longer if dry.
    2. Is there somewhere for your drink that’s not on the floor– believe me, you need to take it with you it given the length of the queue.
    3. Graffiti is optional but witty or random is best.

All points above score minus one, except the little things, which score plus one. My top score is minus six. I urge you to give it a go. Take that list with you next time and see how your luck fares on a night out! Good luck!


Kate Fewson
Closed Loop Projects

Posted October 2014

The Public Lav Lottery – Kate Fewson, UK