The Toilet Man

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Dan Meets Celebrities


I am in a swanky London bar. It’s impressive, with a wicker theme. I’m sitting on a chair made of wood and I feel special. I’m downing my second tap water when a feeling strikes me. I excuse myself and walk upstairs, where I am greeted by two large doors; friendly-ly offering me a choice of ‘Honeys’ and ‘Hunks’.




I am not Matt Davis, so instinctively deny hunkness, but then, my mom’s not a bee either. Despite all the assimilation attempts! Perhaps if that birthday cake had been a bee instead of a caterpillar, they wouldn’t have tried to borg her. Bees are dirty.


I’m not sure which door to pick, so I do what i always do in these situations.


I gamble. And open a door.


I open a different door.


I have emerged successfully from my cubicle. I know that sounds impressive, but i’ve literally done this dozens of times. I could be a toilet pundit! I turn left to make the hard-wired trip to the taps when i am startled.


There is a man.


A man in a suit.


A man in a suit in the toilets. The same man I saw when i came in, who seemed to be innocently acting out explosions in the sink with his hands. Who seemed like a fine young man, heading for a career in linen upkeep. I could have shook his hand. But no! Not a man that spends time in toilets! Brazenly awaiting successful cubicle emergents with a look that announces his intent! Intent to do something!


In a toilet.


This is wrong. I decide to turn away. But suddenly stop. For i have not yet washed my hands!To leave now would be like making a voodoo spreadsheet of a chef’s finances! It’s simply not done! Especially with unwashed hands!


I turn back round.


To face him.


To face… the toilet man. He sees me, and remains expressionless. He’s done this before. But… done what?


Maybe he’s paid to tell guests how successful they look. Or to offer them cheap veterinary care on the sly. Hang on… could it be? Is he from quality control? But I’ve done this almost every week of my life! I know how to wash my hands! Have I forgotten something? Is this part of a new government drive to avoid building obviously necessary desalination plants?


Why!? Why would this man live in a toilet?!


Because he can’t live in a desalination plant. Not yet.


I decide to go for it. To hear whatever wise subsidised spaying words this toilet champion has to offer. This loo lethario. This washroom wunderkind.


I step up to the sink.


“Soap, sir?”


He is holding what looks like a small watering can of blue soap, poised in position to give my hands the soaping of their lives. I am Bill Bailey in that episode of Black Books where Omid Djalili asks to feel his beard.


“Erm… i don’t think so… no.”


I look around. At four alternative sinks. Four. They all offer soap, but in a much more English not-talking-to-you way. I want to demonstrate to this man that I can actually wash my own hands, but too much time has now passed, and i imagine his arms are probably aching from holding London soap. Weighed down by all the arrogance. I take pity.


“Erm… ok, thanks.”


He eagerly sprays blue soap at my hands, and i am suddenly a child; wanting to point out to this cockney dispenser that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. Venice and Rome. I stand, lifeless, staring at the toilet man. This is some kind of London scheme to emasculate me! And it’s working! I now expect him to rub the soap into my hands. I need him to!


I look at him with a look that probably says ‘now finish your business sir, for I have another, non loo-based, engagement’. He looks back at me, and offers me a paper towel.


A paper towel?! But he hasn’t even rubbed in the soap! His procedure is all wrong! I am dismayed, and want to see proof of his graduation from toilet school, but I am English, and stay quiet.


Quietly appalled.


His laissez-faire approach has left me muttering, and rubbing in my own soap! He simply stands and watches, as I have to turn on the tap myself. I am like a 6-year old forced to live on the street. I’ll end up writing symphonies and being half-Irish.


Finally I accept the paper towel, and dry my hands. It is small, but undoubtedly a peace offering, reminding me of the hot towels they give you at the end of curries.




I smile. And have closure. We can now start afresh. But with history. Are we… Are we friends now? I start a conversation to find out, and ask what his job actually is.




He’s a toilet cleaner. Who gives out soap. I don’t understand and prepare to leave, but i’m from Birmingham and have manners. I smile, thank him and leave.


After shaking his hand.


I leave the toilets. And realise.


That I just shook the hand of a toilet man!


I look back at the sinks. And at him.


Acting out explosions with his hands.


And make a decision.


The door opens. It is World Renowned (but not for his cooking skills) Chef Dave.


How’s your job going then, Dave?”


Oh, I haven’t got that job any more.”




I apologise.


And wash my hands.


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