Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Toilets, Or the Lack Thereof

Articles like this one make me glad to live in the here and now. From Regina Jeffers:
But what excuse could a Regency guest have for excusing himself or herself during a supper party? Would he or she say they were going to “freshen up”? What would a man say, and where did he go? Believe it or not, some sources say the men never left the dining room but relieved themselves behind a screen in the same room. I do not know about you, but the thought of sitting at a table and listening to someone urinate behind a screen while I attempted to eat my meal (and not counting the obvious smell) would be a real turn off for me, but I am realistic enough to understand the necessity of such crude designs in the Regency period. If any one seriously had the need to leave the table for personal reasons, a footman would be sent to escort them to the proper facility. 

Ladies did not want to draw attention to themselves leaving the table to go to the toilet. I think most waited until the ladies left the room so the men could enjoy their drink and smoking and then went. The men often used the pot  in the room, so we have heard, as soon as the ladies left. I have often heard that women ate and drank very little at balls and social functions because they could not easily discover a means to relieve themselves at these events that lasted for hours on end. (Read more.)

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

I daily count my blessings for living in this stupendous time, and never forget how anomalous its material comfort and abundance are, both in history and at the present. Cheap mass-produced indoor plumbing is at the top of my list of things for which I'm grateful, followed closely by clean, potable municipal water on tap, relatively cheap central heating, an abundance of tasty food and incredible variety thereof, vaccines, pasteurization, cheap clothing, rapid transportation, and nearly free access to the body of the world's accumulated knowledge.

I thank the brilliant minds and benevolent souls of all the ages past for making the discoveries that built that knowledge, and preserving it for we who are the beneficiaries. We have so much to thank all of them for.