Saturday, August 17, 2013

'Toilet Dating': The Shit has hit the fan!

Myself (The Loo Tour Lady) and Matt (Creator of Doing Something) Lead the charge on the first Toilet Date Night. (Photo: Jose Farinha)  
Mostly this blog is meant to be about my research, not my tours, but it has been such an odd and exciting week I simply have to share.

About the same time I was exploring festival toilets I was contacted by a company called Doing Something to run a date night tour for singles. They find the quiryest things to do on dates and go do them. Which is a brilliant concept if, like me, you're incapable of having dinner with someone without discussing toilets. If that terrifies your date at least they have something to distract them. Unless they happen to have come along on the toilet date, but then they are presumably prepared!

We wasted no time, and a week later I lead my first Friday Night Loos event. A really lovely group of people showed up and I took them on an abridged version of the tour with slightly more of a focus on pubs and socializing. It was both my largest tour and my strangest, and I loved every minute of it.

And they pitched it to the press- so just one week later I am feeling semi-infamous. Responses range from amusement to disgust.

Here are some choice quotes:
"The monthly night held on Fridays will give participants the opportunity to get to know each other in the unique setting of a loo, which will hopefully flush out the losers." Dating firm hopes to wipe out the competition with toilet night for singles (The Metro)
 "If the date doesn’t go well you can probably get some editor to buy your story called, “The Toilet Wasn’t the Crappiest Thing About Our Date.” Five reasons toilet dating doesn't sound like the worst idea ever (The Gloss) 
"OK, to be fair, I actually think this isn't maybe the worst idea ever." Introducing toilet dating. Maybe it sounds cuter in a British accent. (Glamour) 
There are many more, including one in French!

The press have christened the adventure "Toilet dating" which has probably helped the rise to the (to be expected) slew of assumptions that it involves illicit encounters in grimy toilets by desperate singles.

Here's my take on it:

Ironically, I think it takes quite a classy type of person to come on a loo tour. Anybody can joke about it and take the piss, but my experience has been that the people who actually take the plunge and do it are the people who get the fact that there may be more to it than cheap jokes about bodily functions (much as I do love those!)

I have certainly been known to talk about toilets on first dates... in fact, generally (date or not) within half an hour of meeting someone they will know about my tours. Then they will want to know why. Then they will want to tell me their favorite stories. It's like "If you give a mouse a cookie..." Generally the longer the conversation the more I like the person. Not because I have a weird toilet fetish (interest yes. obsession... okay, probably. fetish no.) but because it leads on to other subjects... I find out about their awareness of innovation, social justice, communities and cultures. The toilet is the source and the destination.

It's at once wonderfully taboo and wonderfully communal. We may blush or laugh, we know we're not generally allowed to talk about it, but we all have experience with it. So why not start a date with one of the few things you know you are guaranteed to have in common? Once you've got over that you can probably talk about anything.

Booking are already coming in for the September Event.

If guests are expecting grime and dirt, cramped stalls or 'speed dating' (as it was advertised on one site) then they will be sorely disappointed. Besides, I'm sure anyone that way inclined can figure it out without my help.

The rout is still being determined, but it will definitely include The Cellar Door, which remains my absolute favorite location not only for its toilet-connections but for its wonderful staff and amazing cocktails. If that can't change people's minds about the dignity and sophistication of the toilet then nothing will.

I guess the night will separate the losers from the loos-ers?

Explaining the history of waterborne sewage. What would you discuss on a first date? (Photo:Jose Farinha)  

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