Tuesday, February 28, 2006

EXQUISITE EUPHEMISMS & EGESTA ETIQUETTE


Or, how to say discreet things in public without causing embarrassment

By: Count Guidobaldo Le Touquet, one who excels in excursive expeditions into a myriad of matters involving the expedient expulsion of effervescent effluvium.



It has been said that distasteful discussion about the expulsion and evacuation of masticated materials is better left for locker room chitchat or all-night sister gabs.

While everyone purports to be in favor of respecting "Mother Nature", few want to talk about their daily duties nor what to do with the precious poop left behind by domesticated pets and people plus numerous Sasquatches, Yetis, and Yahoos that inhabit the Wild Wild Kingdom on planet Earth.

Impromptu “calls of nature” are to be expected since we are after all Homo-sapiens. Although how we respond to such primal urges in a social context requires mastering all manner of niceties, and a code of conduct better known as ‘Egesta Etiquette’.

To assist in this process, the English language has coined a variety of flowery phrases and mellifluous metaphors to express the urgency of attending to the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Since the days of Adams and Eve, men and women have been excusing themselves to attend to their offal obligations. Macho males do not wax eloquent on this topic. Instead they prefer to use rather short and succinct expressions like, “I’m going off to take a piss, dump, leak, piss or a crap”.

Those males with a little more class such as “Men from Mars” and their close kin often referred to as “metrosexuals”, observe a little more propriety about these middling matters by avoiding the use of any delightfully raw and debased expressions in reference to the discharge of organic matter.

Victorian ladies and Vixens from Venus on the other hand tend to express things in a most discrete and delicate manner, in hushed tones at all times. Cultural fashion dictates that females find alternative titillating terms that reflect the ancient rituals and customs associated with wishing to be ensconced in the privacy, comfort and convenience afforded by her very own tinkle temple thank you very much.

To the average non-English speaker or alien from outerspace however, common evacuation euphemisms and potty parlance appear rather ambiguous if not altogether enigmatic.

While might wish to ask, “Where’s the bathroom?” to a server walking by in a fancy restaurant, it is rather more polite and indeed some might say even de rigeur to inquire from the maître d’, directions to the nearest “necessarium”, “place of ease”, or “comfort station”.

Being quite at home in one’s own “loo” or “water closet”, seated upon a posh porcelain god, is one thing as is trudging happily about in the backwoods somewhere to enjoying the call of the wilds not to mention an aromatic piece of architecture known as a “biffy”, “latrine”, “outhouse”, “privy”, (or the floating kind known as a “head”). However, it’s best not to dwell for any length of time on this tawdry topic of conversation while in mixed company.

Please refrain from any reference to any mobile, miracle methane technologies such as “high-speed honey wagons” and digitally-programmed “dunnies” or “donnikers”, as this will inevitably result in unwarranted questions from curious souls wishing to know more about these mundane yet mucky matters. On the other hand, Zen-inpsired environmentalists will probably find it helpful to refer to the value of using “night deposits” in replenishing the soil in their roof-top urban garden and as a way of honoring “Mother Nature”!

As to excusing oneself to make a “quick pit stop” at the closest “can” or “john”, it’s best to say something more innocuous like, “Do you mind if we stop to find the ladies’/mens’ room, the restroom, or the facilities?”

Last but not least, when faced with an ordure ordeal or on the brink of a biological break, it is best to abstain from using the vulgar vernacular such as needing to “drain the lizard”, “perfume the loo”, “siphon the python”, “tap a kidney, “train Thomas on the terracotta”, “void my bladder”, “water my horse” or “see a man about a dog”.

Instead, one should relieve oneself by relying on a few good-old standbys such as:
  • "I’m going to freshen up."
  • "I’m going to powder my nose."
  • "I’m going to see Mrs. Murphy."
  • "I’m going to shake the dew off a lily."
  • "I’m going to visit the ‘Happy Room’."
  • "I’m going to visit the little girls’/boys’ room."
  • "I’m going to visit the little inventor’s room."
  • "I’m going to visit the Powder Room."
  • "I’m going to visit the Tinkle Pantry."
  • "I’m taking my daily constitutional."


For those with “blue blood” who adore “red carpet” and “royal treatment”, please feel free to use the following phrases:

  • "I’m going to my Royal Office."
  • "I’m going where even the Emperor must go on foot."
  • "I’m going where the King/Queen goes alone."
  • "I’m reclaiming my throne."
  • "I’m retiring for a while to reign on my porcelain throne."

And, to those who’ve been raised on indoor plumbing or who're spending vast amounts of money and leisure-time hidden away in a spiffy spa behind a bolted bathroom door – may you find your inner peace and your Manifest Destiny ...without the need for either T.P. or me!

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