Author Topic: Asking for the bathroom  (Read 5344 times)

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Gail

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Asking for the bathroom
« on: January 25, 2013, 05:45:41 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?
The last time I said what I was really thinking there was an "intervention".

Shoo

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 05:50:08 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.  :)

Auntie Mame

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 05:51:15 PM »
I always ask "where is the restroom"? 
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Moray

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 06:01:31 PM »
I always ask "where is the restroom"?

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

Yvaine

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 06:03:11 PM »
I always ask "where is the restroom"?

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

Me too.

MrsJWine

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2013, 06:17:08 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.


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Utah

Gail

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 08:16:24 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.
The last time I said what I was really thinking there was an "intervention".

gramma dishes

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2013, 08:25:05 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.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 08:27:27 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.

doodlemor

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 08:41:56 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 08:54:32 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."

camlan

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2013, 08:12:16 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.
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Van down by the river

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 09:33:42 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

TheBardess

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2013, 11:23:28 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.
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Zilla

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Re: Asking for the bathroom
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2013, 12:51:52 PM »
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.