Though the general odour is the same in both countries, there are certain design elements, safety policies and naming conventions that somehow got lost in The Pond (pun definitely intended).
Here are 6 major differences between British and American public toilets.
1. The name
Let me begin by clearing a few things up (last pun, I promise): Americans don't typically refer to public toilets as public toilets. The preferred terms state-side are restroom or, quite simply, bathroom. This is in stark contrast to the British, who famously refer to both the public toilets and the physical toilet as the loo, while gender-specification is laid out through the use of terms like the ladies' or the gents'. But we Brits aren't the only ones who give the bog a nickname. Depending on their geographical location and/or the social situation, Americans will interchangeably refer to it as any of the following: the John, throne, outhouse, potty, pot, krapper, shitter and porcelain god.
2. The water level
I still haven't made peace with America over the following rather staggering toilet-based design flaw. American toilets, for whatever reason, are filled with an unfathomably high water level, which - for tall, male users in particular - can be a rather dangerous feature. Then again, there's a downside to the low water level found in British toilets and it this: splashback.
If there's one thing Americans don't like, it's invasion of privacy. Funny, then, that toilet cubicles in American restrooms are distinctly non-private. That tiny crack between the door and the door frame is definitely big enough for other lavatory-goers to catch a glimpse - unwitting or otherwise - of your bits and bobs. As pathetic as this sounds, a fully-concealed cubicle interior is definitely something I miss about England.
4. The toilet seat
While the toilet seat does not represent a major difference, it is nonetheless noticeable enough to warrant a mention. British seats are almost always a full oval shape with that extra bit of surface curvature on the up-face. American toilets - particularly public ones - are sometimes incomplete ovals, in that the front sides don't always meet. Just an observation.
5. Cubicle size
It has been said that even the size of the cubicle differs, depending on which side of The Pond you are on. British cubicles have a tendency to be that little bit more narrow, sometimes making it difficult to... well, to do the things one does with toilet paper.
6. Automatic vs manual
While Britain is certainly no stranger to automatic public loos, it's got nothing on the United States, where everything, everywhere is automatic. Sometimes, American toilets will even surprise you by self-flushing merely as you stand up. And everything - from the taps to the hand-dryers to the soap dispensers - is automatic. While there are instances of these things in Britain, it is not nearly as widespread.
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