Flush Dance

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Netty. Bog. Loo. Privy. Dunny. John...

No, these aren't suggestions for the 2005 Edition of the Book of Baby Names. Of course, specifically pointing out that it's NOT baby names probably won't prevent some people from naming their kid Bog... So, if you are out there: I'm really, REALLY sorry, Bog, that I unwittingly inspired your parents to name you after a slang word for a toilet.

Oh, and I promise not to tell your parents that the guy mistakenly credited for inventing the modern toilet is called by the unfortunate name of Thomas Crapper. (Yes, 'Thomas' is an unfortunate name indeed, isn't it?) But more about that, and him, later.

Anyway, yes indeed, all of those are words used worldwide and through the ages for a place that we are still surprisingly too coy about to call by its real name. Yet, whatever we call it and whether we are rich or poor, and no matter how much we try to shy away from admitting it, the fact remains that we all need one.

You may be wondering (or you may not be... I never know with you lot!) why I'm writing this potty post. (And no, it's not JUST because I've been on a gross post streak since yesterday.)

It's because today, November 19, 2004, is a very, very special day indeed, and hopefully I'll be the first but not the only one to say:

Happy International Toilet Day!

According to several sources, Thomas Crapper (I said Thomas again, hahaha!) is widely credited for inventing the modern toilet. However, according to the BBC, this isn't true: "He simply improved on the original design developed by Sir John Harington who installed one for Queen Elizabeth 1.

It took almost 200 years for his invention to be taken seriously with valve toilets in the 1730s.

In the 1820s the first flush toilet was invented by Albert Giblin, acting as a forerunner to today's modern loo."

So whether you worship at the porcelain throne, or have a commode at your abode; whether you have an inhouse, or an outhouse, or a hole in the ground; and whether yours is tucked away in the smallest room in the house, or a very regal and stylish affair that's part of a lovely and large bathroom; whether the seat on yours is hard or soft, cold and uncovered or covered, cozy and warm; and whether you powder your nose, or go to the little girl's room... whatever your choice of euphemism for the toilet and what you do there, pop a laxative, give thanks to the toilet-trio of Giblin, Harington and Crapper, and celebrate your lavatory!

(Dedicated to one of my favourite potty-mouths.)


Gretchen said:

A really good post Red! I've always wondered about those things in the WC that one can never refer to in the typical sense of the word. (Well, not really).

Where is it called a "Netty" at anyway?

TimT said:

The Arabs call the place 'the house
Where everybody goes';
The Poms came up with that regal name -
'The throne room' - I suppose!
While us Aussies are quite funny, and call the place 'the dunny'
And as for the South Efrikans, well, they call it - who knows?

But we luvs our lav! we does,
We really really does!
So when you next sit on the toilet seat
And are putting up your feet,
Say, 'I luv you lav!' - just once - and just be-cos.

redsaid said:

Thank you, dear Gretchen for being easily impressed! Yeah, I thought it was about time for us all to step out of the "Water Closet." Okay, that's very lame, but hey, that's to be expected from me!

As for answering your question about the Netty, I once again turn you over to the ever reliable BBC: "The Geordie netty is one of the best examples of the family toilet. It was located outside at the bottom of the yard or garden.

The waste fell into a pit or box full of fire ash. Every so often someone would take all the ash away and sell it to some local farmer as fertiliser.

More modern netties were flushable and can still be seen in some old English pit villages."

And TimT, nobody knows, because South Efrikans, due to our Calvinistic upbringing aren't allowed to speak about it.

Cheers and again, happy International Toilet Day!

LT said:

poop poop poop poop poop poop poop

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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  • LT : poop poop poop poop poop poop poop... [go]
  • redsaid : Thank you, dear Gretchen for being easily impressed! Yeah, I thought it was about time for us all to... [go]
  • TimT : The Arabs call the place 'the house Where everybody goes'; The Poms came up with that regal name -... [go]
  • Gretchen : A really good post Red! I've always wondered about those things in the WC that one can never refer ... [go]
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