Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Having been in sales and marketing for a very long time travelling the length and breadth of the UK, I have experienced my fair share of public toilets, particularly ones of the motorway service-station variety. The frequency of my visits to said establishments has been exacerbated by my 25-year struggle with IBS; however, more of that later.
Now I hesitate to use the words "art form" in relation to the graffiti et al scrawled on many a cubicle wall. It ain't exactly Banksy, is it? However, some of the ingenuity involved in "decorating" some of the panels I found quite remarkable.
To put more "meat" on the proverbial "bone. In an earlier post entitled ‘The Motorway Toilet Incident’, I recalled and described the dark day in 1999 when, while stooping to poop in the toilets of a motorway service station, I realised I was being watched through a hole in the dividing cubicle wall. This won’t be much of a shock for any well-travelled men reading this, as most will be familiar with seeing peep-holes in the cubicle walls of motorway service station toilets, the vast majority of which are (thankfully) filled in and repaired very soon after having been created.
I have to be honest, I was quite rattled with the whole experience which I found disconcerting as I think of myself as a relatively strong-minded chap. But it was all so strange, so unexpected, so intrusive. As I hurried from the toilets out to the car, I hesitated a couple of times, turning on my heel with every intention of going back to challenge this weirdo. I was bloody angry, so bloody angry and invaded, yes that was the word. I felt my day had been invaded. However, I didn't go back, I thought better of it and sitting in the car after a few minutes started to smile to myself. After all, trying to look at the situation as objectively as one can, it was as funny as it was tragic. “So what kind of guy was he,” I mused, “other than having at least one blue eye?” Was he the creator of the hole or had he merely taken advantage of some other Bog-Artisan’s handiwork? I mean, just what kind of person does this kind of thing? Is it so premeditated that, while sitting in his car before entering the motorway services, his thoughts are, “I am now about to enter the men’s toilets for the sole purpose of drilling a hole in the partition between stalls two and three so that I can watch, while nestled in the comfort of a plastic, multi-stained local council issue toilet seat, the bloke next door doing his dailies.” I mean, let’s look at this carefully. Some of these partitions are nearly half an inch thick MDF with Perspex on either side. It must take an awful lot of effort to make even the crudest of cavities. So, when faced with the evidence, particularly with regard to the different standard of hole one observes, it was obvious to me that there had to be different types of hole maker. After much deliberation, I decided they fall into three categories.
Premeditated, professional, peep-hole pervert. Unashamed drill- and sandpaper-carrier. He knows what he wants but impatient to get it. Produces perfectly symmetrical holes.
Has a premeditated approach but too shy to carry a drill; too poor to purchase one, or too honest to steal. He knows what he wants and knows how to get it. Goes tooled-up but with less obvious and obtrusive tools such as a screwdriver or pen knife. A patient man producing medium-sized, slightly ragged cavities.
The ripper and tearer
Been in denial for years and is as far removed from premeditated as it’s possible to be. Once the urge strikes, a biro and/or car keys fly into action. Uses fingernails as last resort. Sweats an inordinate amount. Cares little about what type of hole is produced just as long as it’s a hole.
Maybe if I had gone back and confronted the owner of the blue eye, I may have received verification regarding my thoughts on the above, however I did not so one will never know.
Anyway dear friends, bon chance on your next visit to a Motorway Service Station toilets and remember, keep your eyes peeled!