09 June 2009

The little brush

(This post is going to address a delicate subject residing in the intersection of engineering and bodily functions. I will make every attempt to address this topic in a tasteful manner, but I ain't makin' any promises. You have been warned.)

One little amenity that you can come to expect here in the UK is that right next to most toilet bowls sits a little bowl brush in a holder. Instead of being hidden away in a cleaning closet like in most places in America, the bowl brush is right there for you to see, and more importantly, use. Its presence is pretty pervasive, not only in homes, but in businesses, restaurants, the pub-- it would be more unusual to not see a bowl brush than to see one.

This might lead you to conclude that Brits are culturally indoctrinated to clean up after themselves, a practice that, frankly, more of us Americans could stand embracing. It certainly fits into the image that the UK is a tidy place.

But I don't think that's the reason at all. I think the reason is that with a British toilet, you have to clean up.

See, the average British toilet is shaped in such a way as to present a much smaller “landing zone” for your incoming “package”, which results in it being difficult to achieve that “nothing but net” delivery that keeps things tidy (even with the metaphors, that was painful to write). So I suspect that the brush is a matter of not habitually grossing people out rather than a well-respected cultural nicety. But the expectation does appear to be that you, like a good camper, leave nothing behind.


  1. That's a disgusting topic! You'll be writing about Rate My Poo next. I'm sending this to my friend Brenda who will send it on to the censors right after she reads it.

  2. Someone has to be bold enough to bring these important items to light...

  3. well, I look forward to the next thing you bring to light. Must make sure not to be eating breakfast while reading though....

  4. You southern belles are so delicate. But you don't fool me-- I know that ubiquitous little brush didn't escape your notice...