I’m at a pary, and the conversation has gone on too long, and an awkward silence falls. A strategem suggests itself: “I just need to go to the loo,” I say.
And then the toilet cubicle is there for you. It’s not much - just a small, quiet, space where you can’t be seen and you’re not expected to do anything except sit (and excrete, but that’s beside the point). All that makes it an oasis of peace.
Sit down. Maybe poke at your phone a bit. Breathe. Think about how things are going. Relax your face.
Thanks to the necessity of answering nature’s call, there are very few places where you won’t find a toilet cubicle, and few times when you can’t excuse yourself. Overwhelmed by company? Want to escape an awkward conversation? Need a break from work? The toilet gives you a permanently plausible excuse for five minutes’ peace.
My love of the cubicle’s peace makes me one of those men who shuns the urinal. It doesn’t hide you away in the same fashion, and I just find it easier to relax sitting down. As a child, I used to take my book into the toilet with me and read for a good half an hour - try doing that at a urinal.
So next time you take refuge in the loo, take a moment to be grateful for these ubiquitous little hidey-holes, sources of solace for introverts everywhere.