Written by Various Artists


“Of course I’ve tried the handle”

Our Sarah Millican got locked out of a toilet at a rather inconvenient time recently. So she and a few of other contributors have decided to share their ‘oh shit’ – often literally – moments.

door with handle

Looks fine, right? That’s what our writers thought…

Sarah Millican
A few weeks ago I was in Portsmouth at the Guildhall. We had noticed the dressing room toilet door had the lock bit sticking out so the door didn’t shut properly. We all made a pact to not look at the small gap when someone was on the loo. All good.

I go on stage at 8, bring on the support act and while he is on stage, the dressing room is empty so I take this opportunity to have my pre-show poo. I go in the loo, the door shuts very easily behind me. Odd. Ah well.

When I’m done and hands are washed, I turn the handle and the door won’t budge. Properly locked in. And the support act will bring me straight on stage in seven minutes. I bang on the door with the base of my fist (I’ve had noisy neighbours) and my tour manager comes fairly quickly. We have a plan. The stage manager thinks there is a key and thinks he knows where it is. My friend who is at the gig with me will catch the support act’s eye and ask him to do longer.

I open the toilet window. To others it looked like it was to see if I could climb out but really it was so that when the door burst open, everyone wasn’t flooded with the smell of my shite.

I didn’t panic. At all. I’m normally quite claustrophobic but I was fine. I just thought, if they can’t find a key, they’ll just take the door off its hinges. I discovered when I’d been released (SPOILER) that the only way you could do that would be if the door was already open. Hmm. Ignorance is bliss.

My friend who was gesturing to the support act to do longer, accidentally did the sign for ‘wrap up’ but when he started to do just that and she panicked, he realised and did longer. He did 18 mins in all. So I was ‘trapped’ for 13 minutes. The fourth key worked and the poo smell had gone by that time. WOOP!

“Ten-year-old me sat in a dark toilet, convinced I’d be imprisoned there forever, not even able to pull my pants up because I hadn’t got enough paper to wipe.”

Karen Campbell
I got locked in the toilet at primary school after I’d done a poo. They had to get the tall deputy head to come and lift me over while all the kids gathered in the loo to watch. I still to this day rarely lock the door.

Bisha K Ali
I got locked in a toilet at a zoo in Hyderabad, Pakistan. I screamed for approximately an hour before my aunt realised I was missing, retraced her steps and found me. My acrobatic cousin found a way to climb in over the top and help me slide the stuck bolt. As a result I always do a speedy check of the toilet cubicle for an escape plan now. I’m 27 and your toilet scares me.

Nadia Kamil
Walking back from town (we went to get the scratch ‘n’ sniff booklets for Red Nose Day) with my grandfather, I really needed a wee. There was a new fancy public loo – one of those all electric numbers. He popped the 20p in, the door slid open like the entry to a space ship, I went in. Sat on the toilet, I went to get loo roll , but it was motion activated and wouldn’t come out. I pulled a sheet out and immediately the lights went out. The whole thing was on lockdown.

I called out but couldn’t hear anything. It was soundproof? Great for big plops, terrible for trapped children. So, 10-year-old me sat in a dark toilet, convinced I’d be imprisoned there forever, not even able to pull my pants up because I hadn’t got enough paper to wipe.

As I consigned myself to the rest of my life in a dark toilet, I started crying. Then the lights came on and the door opened because my Grampa had put another 20p in because I’d taken so long that he got worried. I do not trust electric toilets to this day (looking at you, Virgin trains).

Laura Lexx
I was quite unceremoniously NOT locked in a toilet on a train when the next person wanting to come in opened the door and it opened painfully slowly to reveal the grand prize of my bare ass mid-flow. There is no way for the person on the outside to reverse the door so I had to stand and moon the entire carriage while pressing the close (and lock) button to finish.

Chalk up a win for the pelvic floor muscles but definitely a low point for self-esteem.

“I rushed in, shut the door, had my wee, pulled my jeans back up and looked – no door handle.”

Hannah Dunleavy
I got locked in my own bathroom at my 30th birthday party. I twisted the thing that unlocked it and it just snapped off in my hand. The volume of noise meant I couldn’t attract anyone’s attention, so I just had to wait for someone to notice I was gone and/or need the toilet themselves.

It took a surprisingly long time considering there were about 40 people in the house and they were all drinking heavily. Still, at least I could hear all the fun they were having as I sat lonely on the bathroom floor.

Eventually, after I’d persuaded everyone that I was actually locked in, rather than being so drunk I couldn’t operate a door, one of my cousins kicked it down.

The whole thing was so frustrating that not only did I never lock that door again, I didn’t rehang it until (about 10 minutes before) the landlord came round six months later.

Juliet Meyers
I was in a hostel while travelling on my own. Suspecting I might be getting the runs I nipped to the loo which had no windows or light and was pitch black inside. When I’d finished, I couldn’t unlock the rusty lock that looked like it belonged in a castle with the stupid enormous key and of course, it was dark so couldn’t see the problem.

I banged on the door half-heartedly at first in case I needed to go again. Then banged hard, I heard the key fall out and I couldn’t find it for what seemed like eternity. And I still called half-heartedly because I reckoned I might still have some more using of the toilet to do. It was boiling and I was sweating buckets.

Eventually, I found the key nowhere near the door and managed to open it.

Annabel Giles
When I was at nursery school in Malta, I got locked in the loo and there was a turkey locked in the one next door. I don’t know.

JoJo Smith
Happened to me at a gig in Norfolk years ago. I was given a separate dressing room to the lads. I was dying for the loo after hours in a car, so I rushed in, shut the door, had my wee, pulled my jeans back up and looked – no door handle. Just one tiny window which I had to holler out of for almost 20 mins before a passer-by heard me and went to the front of the theatre to ask them to free me. I realised nobody would have missed me till the MC called my name. Phew!

“I looked at climbing out of the window, but the drop was sheer and the window was small and I thought being stuck in the window was less dignified.”

Cal Wilson
I was doing a solo show in the Auckland Town Hall for the comedy festival. The closest loos were accessible from backstage, but down one flight of stairs and along a corridor. I nipped down for a quick pre-show wee, 15 minutes before I was due onstage.

There were three or four stalls, the usual basins, all protected by a heavy old wooden door with an ornate knob. After I’d abluted, I went to open the door, and the knob came off in my hand. I fumbled around for a bit, trying to get it back on, but it wouldn’t go.

I started to panic, because there was no way my tech was going to know I was in there, and the corridor was devoid of people, so there was no point in shouting, or banging on the door.

I heard a noise behind me, by the basins, and discovered a rather frightened looking Chinese tourist with her small son. They were both looking at me in horror, like I’d done it deliberately to trap them. Neither of them spoke any English, so I just ended up waving the knob about helplessly for a while, before trying to fit it back on.

Eventually, with about two minutes to spare, I managed to fit the bloody thing back into its socket, and release us all back into the wild. I sprinted up the stairs, just in time for the tech to wander backstage and ask me if I was ready to go…

Angela Barnes
I once spent a night in the bathroom at a friend’s house because I couldn’t open the door. Only in the morning did I realise I had been pulling when I should have pushed. I may have had some gin.

Ruth Bratt
I was staying in a cottage with some friends. Everyone had gone to bed. I went to the loo at about 2am. The lock got stuck on the door. I shouted, but everyone was asleep. I looked at climbing out of the window, but the drop was sheer and the window was small and I thought being stuck in the window was less dignified. I sat on the floor for a bit.

I finally got out at 4.30am when I found a stray Kirby grip and jimmied the lock.

Annie Caulfield
I was locked in a public toilet in snow aged 11. This is when I discovered my mother, intrepid Margaret Caulfield, always carries a small screwdriver: “Because you never know.”

Daisy Leverington
I locked myself in a cubicle on purpose with my toddler when a large group of emo type teens came into the loos. Toddler chose that precise moment to loudly ask: “Mummy, why do you have hair on your foof?” A tidal wave of stifled laughter came from the queue and we stayed put until they had all gone.

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Written by Various Artists

Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.