Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Gail on January 25, 2013, 04:45:41 PM

Title: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Gail on January 25, 2013, 04:45:41 PM
When people is in a strange house and need a bathroom, they usually ask: can I go to the bathroom? But I find this awkward, because the answer to that question is always yes, so it's ridiculous to ask it in the first place (this is my own reasoning). So what I say is: "hey, I'm going to use the bathroom, if you don't mind". It's not a question, but it leaves open the matter is the host wants to warn me about the door, or the window, like "oh, be careful with the plant when you close the door", or something like that.
But last time a friend (not the host) told me that my asking was "too direct and harsh". I'm too direct and harsh anyway, that's why I'm in this forum, but I wanted to ask you. Am I being rude to ask for the bathroom in that way?
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Shoo on January 25, 2013, 04:50:08 PM
"Could you point me to your powder room please?"

I don't think you're being rude, but you could probably be a bit more diplomatic.  :)
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Auntie Mame on January 25, 2013, 04:51:15 PM
I always ask "where is the restroom"? 
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Moray on January 25, 2013, 05:01:31 PM
I always ask "where is the restroom"?

I like this. Quick, to the point, and no unnecessary cutesyness.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Yvaine on January 25, 2013, 05:03:11 PM
I always ask "where is the restroom"?

I like this. Quick, to the point, and no unnecessary cutesyness.

Me too.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: MrsJWine on January 25, 2013, 05:17:08 PM
When people is in a strange house and need a bathroom, they usually ask: can I go to the bathroom? But I find this awkward, because the answer to that question is always yes, so it's ridiculous to ask it in the first place (this is my own reasoning).

I think this is a bit pedantic. If you're communicating what you want to communicate, exactly correct grammar isn't essential except for specific situations (editor to writer or student to teacher). I know the difference between "can" and "may," and I still find myself mixing them up just because that's how people talk. No, it's not correct, but it's normal speech. You know what people really mean by, "Can I use the bathroom?" and they would know what you meant if you said it.

Anyway, I, too, say, "Where is the restroom?" Mostly because, "May I use the bathroom?" is usually met with, "No." It's a joke, of course, but it's not really funny after the 800th time.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Gail on January 25, 2013, 07:16:24 PM
Quote
I know the difference between "can" and "may," and I still find myself mixing them up just because that's how people talk. No, it's not correct, but it's normal speech.

About the language thing, I'm translating from spanish, where "may" and "can" are the same word. The exact sentence is "¿Puedo ir al baño?".

I meant that asking for permission to do something so basic as going to the bathroom is like asking for permission to eat the food served to you. So instead of asking I prefer to say it directly.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: gramma dishes on January 25, 2013, 07:25:05 PM
In your example, it sounds as though you already know the location of the bathroom so you don't need to ask "Where is the restroom?"

So why do you need to announce to all in the room that you're going to go use the bathroom?  If you're three and still need someone to assist you wiping your little bottom that's one thing, but I assume that everyone posting here is probably past that point.

As far as I can see, there is no need to announce that you're going to be taking care of a normal bodily function.  Just hoist yourself up out of your seat and head for the appropriate door!  No one is likely to say "Where are  you going?" but if they do, just say "Restroom" and stop talking right there.  Anything beyond that is more information than anyone else needs.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 25, 2013, 07:27:27 PM
When people is in a strange house and need a bathroom, they usually ask: can I go to the bathroom? But I find this awkward, because the answer to that question is always yes, so it's ridiculous to ask it in the first place (this is my own reasoning). So what I say is: "hey, I'm going to use the bathroom, if you don't mind". It's not a question, but it leaves open the matter is the host wants to warn me about the door, or the window, like "oh, be careful with the plant when you close the door", or something like that.
But last time a friend (not the host) told me that my asking was "too direct and harsh". I'm too direct and harsh anyway, that's why I'm in this forum, but I wanted to ask you. Am I being rude to ask for the bathroom in that way?

Honestly, I dislike the "do you mind?"  It makes me think, "why would I mind".  If visiting, I usually just ask "Where's your restroom?".

But for people that I don't know well, I might still say "may I use your restroom.?"  And I do normally use "may" and "can" correctly. Just because the answer is going to be yes, it doesn't mean it's impolite to ask.  It's like being at a jewelry store and saying "may I see that necklace".  I've never been told no by the salesperson.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: doodlemor on January 25, 2013, 07:41:56 PM
You could say........

Would you please direct me to your bathroom?

Or, you could ask where the bathroom is when you first enter a home where you haven't been before.  You could say.........

Would you please show me where your bathroom is - I'm sure that I'll need it before the evening is over.

I often show people the way when they first enter my home, and no one has ever laughed or complained about the information.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Yvaine on January 25, 2013, 07:54:32 PM
As far as I can see, there is no need to announce that you're going to be taking care of a normal bodily function.  Just hoist yourself up out of your seat and head for the appropriate door!  No one is likely to say "Where are  you going?" but if they do, just say "Restroom" and stop talking right there.  Anything beyond that is more information than anyone else needs.

Yeah, when I know where the facilities are located, I just say "I'll be right back" and go off to do my thing. Everybody knows where people are going when they do this.

Except with people I know really, really well, in which case we sometimes joke about what we're going to do, like paying the "coffee tax" or "beer tax." But for regular acquaintances, just "I'll be right back."
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: camlan on January 26, 2013, 07:12:16 AM
In a house where I don't know where the bathroom is, I ask, "Where's your/the bathroom?" Usually in an aside, not as part of the general conversation. I figure no one really wants to know that I need the bathroom.

If I know where the bathroom is, I'll just quietly excuse myself for a moment. Or, with one side of my family, I'll say, "Got to go use the facilities."

Everybody needs to use the bathroom at some point in their day. But there's a polite fiction surrounding its use. We don't talk a lot about it and many people use euphemisms instead of coming right out and saying what they mean. It's a lot like farting and burping--we all do it, but society asks us to minimize the effects on others and to not make a big deal out of it.

Different people have different standards on this matter. I know households where people will say, "Gotta go poop," and I know households where no one ever says the word "bathroom." It's a "restroom." And saying "toilet" out loud? Oh, my dear, the eyebrows would rise so high they'd never return to normal.

In all matters bathroom-related, if you aren't sure of the standards of the people you are visiting, I'd err a little on the side of being more discreet, rather than blunt and open, as the safer option in offending the least amount of people.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Van down by the river on January 26, 2013, 08:33:42 AM
I always ask "Where is the ladies/restroom?"
In all my years I've never had this be an issue. If you know where it is, "excuse me for a moment" and head to it.
Of course if I'm in a casual setting my response is more "hang on, I gotta P!!!"
But that's just in my circles. :D
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: TheBardess on January 26, 2013, 10:23:28 AM
There's no reason this should even be an issue. If you're in a familiar setting and you know where the bathroom is, there's absolutely no need to announce you're planning to make use of it- just get up and go (with maybe a quick "Excuse me a minute," or "Just a minute, I'll be right back"). If someone asks where you're going, just give a quick response of "Restroom," and leave it there. If you don't know where the bathroom is, just ask "Where is your bathroom?" and when told, say "Thanks," and go.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Zilla on January 26, 2013, 11:51:52 AM
Well it's basically the same thing.  In your first scenario, you are asking someone to use the bathroom in which they always say yes.  In your scenario you are asking them if they mind you using their bathroom.  In which the answer is always no they don't mind.  The second scenario might even put them on the defensive as to say, "Why in the world would I mind that?" and wonder if they gave off a vibe somehow.
If you truly just want to let them know that you are using their bathroom, I would just say, "I have to use the restroom, is it through here?" That way they can point you the way and alert you to any issues.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: MrsJWine on January 26, 2013, 03:08:43 PM
I think you're really overthinking a question that's completely common and normal. If you're at a good friend's house, you don't need to ask, obviously. But if you don't know where the bathroom is, or it's an acquaintance, "May I use the restroom?" is just how you indicate that you need to use the restroom, and perhaps they could tell you where it is.

If someone I barely know asks me, "How are you?" in a public setting, I don't launch into a detailed list of all the things that are wrong that day. The question, taken literally, really is asking how I'm doing, but in such a setting with someone I don't know, that's not really what they're looking for; they're just being courteous. Likewise, "May I use the bathroom?" isn't really asking for permission; it's just how people say it. Still, if you really hate it, "Where is your restroom, please?" accomplishes the same.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 27, 2013, 12:55:07 AM
I don't see the big deal in asking "Where's your bathroom?" I personally would find it odd if anyone was offended by that (or thought it too "blunt", etc).

If I knew where the bathroom was, I'd just say something like "Excuse me" or "Just going to use the bathroom - back in a minute" or something.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Gail on January 27, 2013, 05:07:20 AM
Well, I always thought it was good manners to "warn" the host that you're going elsewhere, because not doing it could mean that you leave to roam the house on your own.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: that_one_girl on January 27, 2013, 08:27:13 AM
How about "Donde esta el bano?" (yeah I'm missing a lot of accent marks, sorry) or if you are feeling polite, tack "Perdoname" onto the front? I'm not sure if there is a more appropriate/polite word than "bano"?
Asking where the bathroom is definitely gives the opportunity for them to give any special instructions, such as "hold the lever down for a count of five when you flush" or "don't let the cat out, I have her pinned up in there today" or whatever
If you already know where the bathroom is, just excuse yourself and go.  Your friend shouldn't be bothered.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Yvaine on January 27, 2013, 08:33:56 AM
Well, I always thought it was good manners to "warn" the host that you're going elsewhere, because not doing it could mean that you leave to roam the house on your own.

I didn't see anyone talking about not saying anything at all--just what wording to use.

(Though at a more "big crowd milling around" kind of party, I'd probably think it was weird if a guest made a special point of finding the host in the crowd just to tell them they were going to the bathroom--not asking where it is, just to announce--because it would feel like a little kid asking permission. Saying something when you leave for the bathroom is really more for a party where everyone is sitting together in one room. And of course you can always ask the host where it is if you don't know, no matter what kind of party it is.)
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: #borecore on January 27, 2013, 09:01:48 AM
In a place where I already know the location of the toilet, I simply walk away (in a large group, if I'm not talking to anyone one-on-one) or say, "Pardon me" or "Excuse me for a moment!"

Works just fine!
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Thipu1 on January 27, 2013, 10:37:43 AM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.

       
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: VorFemme on January 27, 2013, 02:35:35 PM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.
       

I was always amazed at how many guests didn't know their left from their right and wandered into the wrong room, "by accident".  Depending on the house - they might have ended up in VorGuy's home office, the baby's room, the guest room, or the master bedroom (which did have a toilet, sink, and shower in it).  But they weren't supposed to end up in the master bedroom or the baby's room......either because those rooms weren't cleaned up for company or because there was "stuff" in there that wasn't intended to be seen by guests (diaper pail comes to mind, cat litter pan, or the hosts showered & changed clothes literally minutes before the first guests showed up and the bathroom looks like it).
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Xandraea on January 27, 2013, 03:20:02 PM
At a Hogwarts themed birthday party for my DD, I taped a sign across the double-door'd office (effectively sealing it), with an arrow pointing left.  The sign said, "Moaning Myrtle"  (The kids got a kick out of it, and it kept them out of my office, too!)

If I were hosting any other group, I'd do something similar, as the washroom is around the corner out of sight from the main part of my house.  Closing doors to rooms meant to stay private, leaving the washroom door open, and a light on inside makes it clear where guests should go.  Signage just helps point the way.

I agree with all who've said, if you know where the bathroom is, unless guests are all seated together (i.e. dinner table), it's fine to just go use it.  If seated together, excuse yourself quietly and go use it.  If you don't know where it is, quietly ask the host where it is, say thank you, and go use it.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Goodness on January 27, 2013, 06:47:05 PM
I agree with the several previous posters who mention 'over-thinking.' We're not living in a 1950s sit-com; we're allowed to say 'bathroom.'

At my age, I need a potty break fairly frequently. If I don't know where the bathroom is, I'll just say "'Scuse me, where's your bathroom?" And if I've been in the home before and know, it's "'Scuse me; I'll be right back." The instant I head for the bathroom, my host(ess) knows what's up without my having to mention it.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: kareng57 on January 27, 2013, 10:07:55 PM
Well, I always thought it was good manners to "warn" the host that you're going elsewhere, because not doing it could mean that you leave to roam the house on your own.


That sounds pretty odd to me; presumbably, if guests are invited for more than a 2-hour or so period, it would seem to be a given that they would need to use the bathroom facilities.  If they've been there before and already know where they are - then, what's the issue?

If a host figures that I'm "roaming the house" while simply looking for the facilities or finding the coat closet - that would probably be my last visit to the house, in any event.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: cicero on January 28, 2013, 04:05:46 AM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.

       
that's what i do. and if i'm a guest in someone's house - i just ask "where's the bathroom". I also think OP is overthinking this.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Gail on January 28, 2013, 04:43:32 AM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.

       
that's what i do. and if i'm a guest in someone's house - i just ask "where's the bathroom". I also think OP is overthinking this.

I'm not overthinking anything. A friend told me I was being blunt doing what I do, she thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom, and I wanted your opinion.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: kckgirl on January 28, 2013, 05:43:44 AM
A friend ... thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom...

Your friend is wrong.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: audrey1962 on January 28, 2013, 07:45:28 AM
I'm not overthinking anything. A friend told me I was being blunt doing what I do, she thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom, and I wanted your opinion.

I do agree that you are being blunt by saying, "hey, I'm going to use the bathroom, if you don't mind." However, you do not need to ask permission to use the bathroom. If you already know where the room is located you merely say, "excuse me" and discretely leave.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: gramma dishes on January 28, 2013, 10:23:21 AM
A friend ... thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom...

Your friend is wrong.

I'm curious as to where your friend got that idea! 

When I was a teacher (second grade) the children did have to ask permission (we had a hand signal and I would just nod) because the bathroom was not with my classroom and I needed to keep track of who was out of the room at any given time.  But I would never, nor have I ever known anyone else who would, expect any guest in my home to ask "permission" to use the bathroom!!   :o
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Giggity on January 28, 2013, 11:48:17 AM
Your friend is overthinking.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: WillyNilly on January 28, 2013, 11:53:18 AM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.

       
that's what i do. and if i'm a guest in someone's house - i just ask "where's the bathroom". I also think OP is overthinking this.

I'm not overthinking anything. A friend told me I was being blunt doing what I do, she thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom, and I wanted your opinion.


I think you are over thinking the word "permission".  Yes, asking "may I use your bathroom?" is more polite and less blunt then just announcing "I'm using your bathroom".  Your friend is right.  But its not real permission, because yes, the person is almost certainly going to say "of course, its down the hall to the left" or whatever.  But ultimately in the polite dance of social etiquette, you are intending to use something of theirs, their resource, and yes you should ask first and not just declare "I'm doing this!"

If you really hate the idea of asking for permission, tweak it as many posters have said they do "where is your bathroom?" or "the bathroom is down the hall, right?", or even just a "please excuse me a moment".  These are all questions/requests as well, although less overt.  But its still paying forth the respect for someone's home that while yes of course they will let you use it, its still theirs, and its polite to ask first.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 28, 2013, 12:13:00 PM
When we have guests, we greet them, take their coats, offer a seat and a drink.  The next thing we say is, 'There's a bathroom two doors down on the right' and point to the hall. 

  Visitors may want to freshen make-up, wash hands or comb hair before relaxing in the living room. This is a way to let them know that the bathroom is available any time it may be needed.

       
that's what i do. and if i'm a guest in someone's house - i just ask "where's the bathroom". I also think OP is overthinking this.

I'm not overthinking anything. A friend told me I was being blunt doing what I do, she thinks I should ask for permission to use the bathroom, and I wanted your opinion.


I think you are over thinking the word "permission".  Yes, asking "may I use your bathroom?" is more polite and less blunt then just announcing "I'm using your bathroom".  Your friend is right.  But its not real permission, because yes, the person is almost certainly going to say "of course, its down the hall to the left" or whatever.  But ultimately in the polite dance of social etiquette, you are intending to use something of theirs, their resource, and yes you should ask first and not just declare "I'm doing this!"

If you really hate the idea of asking for permission, tweak it as many posters have said they do "where is your bathroom?" or "the bathroom is down the hall, right?", or even just a "please excuse me a moment".  These are all questions/requests as well, although less overt.  But its still paying forth the respect for someone's home that while yes of course they will let you use it, its still theirs, and its polite to ask first.

This. My impression were people were saying you  were over thinking the idea of "May I use your bathroom?" is anymore of a "asking permission" question than "I'm going to use your bathroom if you don't mind".  In both options the host can say no.  The first one is just phrased more politely. 
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: gellchom on January 28, 2013, 01:22:28 PM
I think you are over thinking the word "permission".  Yes, asking "may I use your bathroom?" is more polite and less blunt then just announcing "I'm using your bathroom".  Your friend is right.  But its not real permission, because yes, the person is almost certainly going to say "of course, its down the hall to the left" or whatever.  But ultimately in the polite dance of social etiquette, you are intending to use something of theirs, their resource, and yes you should ask first and not just declare "I'm doing this!"

If you really hate the idea of asking for permission, tweak it as many posters have said they do "where is your bathroom?" or "the bathroom is down the hall, right?", or even just a "please excuse me a moment".  These are all questions/requests as well, although less overt.  But its still paying forth the respect for someone's home that while yes of course they will let you use it, its still theirs, and its polite to ask first.

Another excellent post from WillyNilly.

You put your finger on what was bothering me a bit about this string.  I don't think it matters a whole lot whether the question is, on its face, for permission or for directions.  Either way is fine, but what is the problem with asking nicely even when you know what the answer will be?  I just do not get the aversion to "please" and "thank you" and "may I?" that seems to underlie so many posts seeking to use them only when absolutely required.

See, I agree that the question "may I use ..." is a convention like "how are you?" -- not really so much a question or request for permission, in the sense that the OP is correct that of course there's no doubt that the answer will be yes.  But the same is true for "May I please have a glass of water?"  Of course the answer will be yes.  But you don't just march over to the cabinet for a glass in a stranger's or acquaintance's home. 

I stress that I am NOT talking about when you are in your good friend's or your relative's house where you know that you are welcome -- maybe expected -- to take care of yourself.  And I also think that if you are at a big party and can see perfectly well where the powder room is, there is no need to go find and interrupt the hosts and ask them anything; just use it.

If you are in a home where you already know where the facilities (I'm not even going to chime on which noun to use -- I don't find any of them unacceptable) are, then you needn't ask anything -- but you excuse yourself politely (what "politely" requires will depend upon the circumstances; even "I gotta go to the can, man," can be okay -- but, like, when you're watching the game with your football buddies, but not at a dinner party at your boss's house). 

Even in such familiar situations, and for obvious "yes" questions, what is so hard or bad about saying "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me"?  Why try to say them as infrequently as possible?  My husband and I say, "Please pass the salt" to each other.  Doesn't cost us anything.  This is pretty much the same issue I raised in the post about "I'm good" instead of "no, thanks."  If you like to say "I'm good," fine, but say, "I'm good, thanks" -- the same as you'd say "No, thanks," not just "No."  Why not?

Likewise, I don't see much of a difference between "May I please use the restroom?" and "Where is the restroom, please?"  IMHO, they are both fine.  So is Goodness's ""Scuse me, where's your bathroom?"  But "I'm going to use your restroom now" and even "hey, I'm going to use the bathroom, if you don't mind" are not, in my opinion.  (The "if you don't mind" helps  little, but the fact that it seems to be straining to avoid using the conventional question forms above would make me, as a host, pause for a second to figure out if there were some subtext.)  And I bet that's what your friend meant, OP -- not that you must secure permission, but that, in your friend's opinion, "May I please ..." is the more polite way to ask.  I would be interested to hear what your friend thinks of "Where is the restroom, please?"

(By the way, I do agree that hosts past Cub Scout age who think it is hilarious to say, "NO!" are being obnoxious.  I once asked a middle-aged man, to whom I had just been introduced, where he was from.  "My mommy!" he replied.  He's actually an okay guy, but every time I see him I can't help remembering the moronic first impression he made by doing that.)
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: Softly Spoken on March 02, 2013, 04:12:34 PM
I have to admit I laughed when I read this thread title because it reminded me of one of my grade school teachers. If we asked her "Can I go to the bathroom?" she would respond with "I don't know, can you?"  ::) It was a snarky, PA way of telling us to say "May I?" that we all secretly thought was stupid, especially when we had to pee! :o

IMHO, only children ask permission for the restroom - adults excuse themselves. Now I agreed with PPs that say that may be taking "permission" too literally, but it is an important distinction. This is why I avoid "asking" language.

I would also like to offer what may be a slightly different POV: I always felt going to the bathroom was about excusing yourself from the social situation you were participating in. So if you are in a conversation/eating together/watching tv etc., you would say "Sorry BRB/Excuse me, I need to use the restroom" just so people know what's going on. If you don't know where it is you ask. I was always focused more on finding the most polite way to segway/interrupt than on "ask v. announce." I would assume a hosts bathroom was open and available to guests, and that if it wasn't or if there was some other issue they would say something when I indicated I had to use it.

Obviously everyone has their own word preference, but FWIW I haven't said "Can I" or "May I" in regards to the bathroom since I have been in school - even if I was in an adult situation that required "permission" to use the restroom I would say "Excuse me please, I need to use the restroom" - in my mind, the excuse me was an apology for interrupting and the 'please' would be a nice politeness cherry on top to let the other people involved feel like I was deferring to them - even if I was doing something I was determined do to whether I got their permission or not! :P

Basically my intent is always to keep things polite but low key and unobtrusive "Sorry, but I need"/"Excuse me, where is?" because I know that interrupting is rude 99% of the time, and I always felt that the important social aspect of using the bathroom was discretion - no discussion of why you are going you-know-where or what you plan on doing when you get there. From an etiquette perspective, I wouldn't think anyone would want to make a bigger production out of their or anyone else's bodily function than is necessary. So yes, speak up and excuse yourself but keep it brief and polite.
Title: Re: Asking for the bathroom
Post by: EllenS on March 03, 2013, 11:00:12 PM
I was brought up to always say "excuse me." when leaving a group conversation.  If you know the house and where the bathroom is, nothing more needs to be said.

As a first time visitor, when the need arises, I would quietly ask the host or hostess, "where might I find the powder room?" or "where could I wash my hands?"  They might prefer you use a particular bathroom because of traffic flow, or children sleeping upstairs, or whatever.  It also shows respect, that you are not going to go tromping through their house opening doors and looking in rooms you were not invited to use.  Even when you have company, some parts of the house are public and others are private.

But of course, I would adjust the wording depending on my relationship to the host- a friend my own age, I might say, "and the bathroom is...??" or just "powder room?" while with my parents' friends I would be more formal.

Also, it's a quirk but to me the term "restroom" sounds like a public facility.  "bathroom" or "powder room" feel more natural to me.  And in my part of the country, nobody would ever refer to the "toilet" unless they were talking about cleaning it!