Getting the Hard Sell on a Squat Toilet

So its been 2 and a half years since my last post! I’ve finally realised there is too much entertainment going on here in Beijing to not write it all down on a regular basis, so here goes…

Most friends and family have probably heard about the sorry state of my office’s public bathroom. Our office management, having not really planned the bathrooms very well when setting up a shared office space, didn’t leave enough room to put doors on the individual toilet stalls in the ladies bathroom (and these are squat toilets!). After about a month of my daily complaints, they finally came up with a solution – a shower curtain, One shower curtain that now covers 1 and a half of the 3 toilets – not even the toilet closest to the door.

Squat Toilet

Not my office toilet, but not far off it (and at least these ones are clean)

As such, I’ve taken to putting my head down and focusing on the ground until I can find an empty toilet cubicle. Last week, I’d happily perched myself on the last cubicle (the one with the most privacy) when a little voice popped up from the cubicle next door…



“I’m from the beauty parlor out the front”

Oh yes, I know the place

I’d actually met a bunch of the beauty parlor girls in the toilet a few days earlier while washing the dishes. Of the two girls who walked in together, one of them was obviously surprised to see a foreigner in the toilets, seemingly without even meaning to, she blurted out the standard “Hello!” and I responded in turn. I was then highly amused to hear her sit down on the toilet next to her colleague and tell her all about how she just said “hello” to the foreigner.

As they finished up and prepared to leave, the cheeky bugger inside me couldn’t resist asking her “So, did you want to say anything else to me?”

"No shitting" sign above a nasty ol' toilet

Seems like drainage problems are pretty common here – you see these kinds of signs more often than you’d expect!

She looked surprised, and asked me what I’d just said. I repeated and added, “well you just said hello, so I thought you might want to say something else”. She looked a bit embarassed, so I took the chance to make good and started chatting with the two of them and then two subsequent workmates who came in. I guess, one of which, was the one now sitting next to me chatting on the toilet a few days later.

“So, do you want to lose weight?”

Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I just said “Well, who doesn’t?

She continued “Because we offer weight loss services and I thought you work so close by, it would be really convenient for you, you could come on your lunch break or after work…”

How kind of her to have been so considerate to think of me. I think her boss would be glad to hear she’s even using bathroom breaks as a sales opportunity.

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