Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - Page 8 News List

What a relief!

Paris show lifts taboo on historic outdoor loos


Hollywood legend Alfred Hitchcock — whose Psycho offered the first footage of a flushing toilet in a mainstream Hollywood film — was a fan, insisting on meeting journalists at one for his interviews during a 1969 Paris visit.

The exhibition also includes touching testimony from the urinals’ former users, including one old man who admits for the first time that he met his life’s partner in one.


Another, 73-year-old Jean-Pierre, was positively misty-eyed about them.

“I was touched up by dancers, fashion designers, actors and singers in them... You could meet someone in a smelly urinal and a few minutes later be in their sumptuous apartment. It was such an adventure!”

An attempt last year to revive “pissoirs” on the streets of Paris to stop men from urinating against walls — a perennial problem — was quashed by feminists who argued they were sexist because none were adapted for women.

T’was ever so, said Martin, who said women have been “long forgotten” in the history of public lavatories.

In keeping with pissotiere tradition, and Paris city hall’s policy of free public toilets, the exhibition is open to all. You don’t have to spend a penny, joked Martin: “We could not have had it any other way.”

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