The most picturesque toilet I have ever visited was in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.
I appreciate that’s quite a random sentence with which to start a post on a language blog, but this morning I found myself musing on that hilltop location, where the greenery spread out for miles and the fluttering breeze made it the most tranquil place imaginable to spend a Ngultrum.
What brought this back to mind? Well it was a news story centring on a dispute over the most remote public toilet in the UK mainland, and the rival claims of two Scottish conveniences to be the remotest loo in the UK. A slow news day, perhaps.
So why is there a Wordability interest? Very simply, the article discussed the whole concept of ‘wild toileting’, a phrase I was not previously familiar with and one which a search of the internet suggests is not in wide circulation, with only a smattering of mentions in a handful of places to represent its digital footprint.
With no official definitions to hand, it seems to have been used to mean ‘the practice of relieving yourself in wild locations and to the detriment of the surroundings’.
It’s a very entertaining term, and I guess there isn’t really a current alternative in English for this particular scenario, but it does seem a little superfluous. Most of us would still just talk about going to the loo, or whatever the vernacular is in our dialect of English, even though it’s a wild loo and isn’t made of porcelain. I’m not sure this is a term that is here to stay.
Mind you, I think it would be quite nice if wild toileting could come to mean something else, perhaps carrying out your business while screaming or shouting or thrashing about with an electric guitar. Alternatively, it could mean taking a scattergun approach to where your doings actually end up landing.
Or it could just be what you end up suffering when you’ve been been caught in a shitstorm.