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Getting stuck

Ever got stuck in a loo? I have. On a couple of occasions. Once when I was about Eliza’s age I got stuck in my Granny’s loo. My memories of it are blurry but I recall blind panic, my mother shouting at me through the door with fear in her voice and this grey metal lock that I was too scared to know what to do with. Too many people were shouting at me, I just couldn’t do it. I forget how I got out in the end. I think I might have been hoiked out through the window by my father.

Then I got stuck again when I was on holiday with an old boyfriend in Antigua.  We were with a group of friends (well all his friends to be exact, I was the token girl, it wasn’t a great holiday as you can imagine but it was the best he could offer me – Lord knows what I was doing with him.) Anyway I digress.  On holiday with an old boyfriend and his friends, one evening when we were at the hotel bar I excused myself to go to the loo.  I mentioned to the boyfriend that I was going, he couldn’t have been less interested. There were some prettier, thinner, better endowed girls than me on the dance floor probably. He was that kind of bloke. So off I went to the loo.  There was a bit of a queue. A few girls being girly, me feeling deeply inadequate. A mix of difficult-to-shake-off depression and ingrained lack of confidence coupled with desperately wanting female company but unsure how to cross the divide. I was ‘the girl’ with all the good looking guys, and they were the good looking girls on the pull. I was, I fear, the enemy.

I digress again.

I got into a cubicle eventually, amidst perfume, lipstick and much hair spray. I thought nothing of locking the door, why would I? It was a normal loo. Only it wasn’t. It was a tricksy bugger and the lock got stuck as I found out to my horror when I couldn’t open it. I was back at my Granny’s age 3 but this time no one knew I was stuck, no one was shouting or trying to help me, I was just stuck. And the ridiculous thing was that it took me at least 5 minutes to build up the courage to ask for help. Tentatively at first I just said,

“Er, excuse me?”

The girls kept on chatting.

“Erm, hello?”

They stopped,

“Did someone say something from that bog?”

“Er, yes it was me, I think, I know this sounds silly, but I think I might be stuck.”

Giggles. “Stuck? Oh no, come on girls, she’s stuck!”

They were pretty nice after that, they tried to open the door, they failed. They went and got the barman, he failed. He went and got a screwdriver, inexplicably he failed still.  In the end I managed to squeeze myself through the tiny window above the loo. I couldn’t quite believe I was doing it at the time. Surely someone could have got me out? Surely my boyfriend might have noticed I’d been gone a while and come to look for me? But no he didn’t. He couldn’t care less.

I remember poking my head, then my body out of the window and seeing some local lads out the back having a crafty fag (or spliff, who knows),

“Er, hello? Would you mind helping me please?”

Surprise turned into laughter at the English girl half in, half out of the window. But they rose to the occasion. They came and rescued me. I nabbed a toke off their joint.

I went back in to the bar and my boyfriend noticed me.

“Been a while haven’t you?”

“Yes I got stuck in the loo.”


“Yes, I had to climb out.”

“Oh God.” he rolled his eyes and turned back to the pneumatic dancing machine he had been ogling on the dance floor.

I got myself a drink and quietly cursed the tosser I was with and wondered what on earth I was doing there.

Anyway as it happens I was stuck in the loo today.  I was at a rather important meeting, we had been waiting some time so before we all went in I excused myself. The lock stuck and I was sent straight back to being 3 years old, then 25 years old yet again. Panic slowly started to rise through me, the lock was jammed and I simply couldn’t move it. I couldn’t possibly get stuck in the loo in a client’s offices, that was just way beyond the ‘let’s laugh at the PR girl’ type of behaviour. I steeled myself for the pain. I knew it would hurt. I shoved the lock with all the strength I could muster and cut my finger, but I opened the door. Thank God!

Back into the meeting, no one noticed.

I am now wearing a Princess plaster. Of course.


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