How do other cultures say, "I have to go to the bathroom."?

Actually, the Swedish sentence would literally translate to “I have to go on the toilet”.

In Thai, the phrase “going to the bathroom” is common – “bathroom” being hong nahm, literally “water room” but same same. But there are also some colorful ones – “to shoot a rabbit” for men and “to pick some flowers” for ladies.

The only Pepé I know is a skunk with an eyesight problem… are you sure you want to go there?

In real Spanish, the politest versions would be equivalent to “back in a minute”: (dame un momento,) ahora vuelvo. It doesn’t say what that person is doing at all, the same expression would be valid to go get some documents or look something up.

Less polite, “I have to go to the toilet” tengo que ir al baño (or any of the other zillion words meaning toilet).

Only to be said among the kind of people with whom you can afford to be impolite, euphemisms such as “I’m going to see whether I plant a pine” voy a ver si planto un pino (evidently related to those logs other people drop) or “I’m going to change the water for the canary” voy a cambiarle el agua al canario, which is not appropriate for women as women don’t have birdies. On the other hand, everybody can say “I’m going to water the plants”, voy a regar las plantas. Again, merely a small sample.

Most often heard where people of extreme ages are present and definitely not appropriate for polite company, samples include “I need to go pee” tengo que ir a mear or “I’m about ready to shit myself” me estoy cagando, as biologically appropriate. Of course, either verb has a ton of synonyms.

Now that pontoon season is upon us, “need to hit the head” is boatspeak for the captain finding some deserted shoreline.

I have to visit Joe under the sidewalk. :slight_smile:

In Thai, the phrase ปวดท้อง /puat thong/ meaning ‘stomach ache’ is also used to mean ‘I need a bowel movement.’ It frequently throws me off — does he need a medicine, doctor or bathroom?

The terse Thai language is full of ambiguities, though an extra word (in this case ขี้ /khii/ ‘defecate’) can often be added to resolve ambiguity.

I’m American and that is my go-to phrase, often preceeded with a ‘pardon me’ if I am in a group.

After several visits to England I started saying “I need to use the WC”, but that sounded rather pretentious (especially in Alabama), so I don’t use that anymore.

If you’re less than 12 because if you’re an adult, it sounds a little quaint and cutesy.

Je dois aller aux toilettes.

Or, more casually and informally, “jag ska gå på toa.”

English English is full of euphemisms - “Let me show you the geography of the house”, “spend a penny”, “pay a call” and the like, but usually it’d be no more than an “Excuse me, I must just…” before exiting, or “Where’s the… um/er…?” with a raised eyebrow.

As for Australia, one of my great-aunts who went to visit her son in Australia came back (in the 50s) with a tale of some ocker-ish type asking her in a hotel “Lady, where’s the dunny round here?” to which she was proud of replying “Well over there is a door marked ‘Gentlemen’, but you can ignore that and go straight through”.

In Denmark, the very polite, formal, almost stilted way of expressing it is: “Jeg skal bruge toilettet.”

In practice, you’re more likely to hear a variety of more or less vulgar regionalisms, e.g:

  • “Jeg skal tisse.” More likely to be heard from children, but not outright cutesy or childlike by default.
  • “Jeg skal på das.” Rural undertones. Often said in my father’s extended family, who hail from a more rural part of Denmark that still speak a dialect that can be unintelligible to non-locals.
  • “Jeg skal pisse.” Depending on the degree of familiarity between speakers, ranges from vulgar and rude to standard fare. To those who are more linguistically inclined, the most apt comparison I can make in terms of its connotations is to the Japanese pronoun “ore.” It almost suggests that one intends to not just urinate, but do so forcefully, and will most often be used by men as a sort of very subtle masculine verbal posturing. To hear it from a woman is very rare, in my experience.
  • “Jeg skal på lokum.” Also carries rural/blue-collar undertones, and somewhat vulgar.

There are many other odd expressions which do not see widespread use, but there is one odd euphemism in particular that I find quite endearing: “Jeg skal rette vandlåsen ud.” Directly translated this means that one intends to expel waste with such force that it will straighten out the plumbing.

People seem unaware that toilet is a euphemism - to do one’s toilet is to fix one’s hair and put on makeup.

The most brilliantly disgusting and vulgar version I have ever heard in the Danish - or any! - language is still “jeg skal tømme ryggen,” meaning “I’m going to empty my back.” Not your backside, mind you, but your back, almost as if you had faeces stored all the way up along your spine. :eek:

Two English women go on a vacation to Paris.

After two days, one of them says, “I can’t believe I haven’t been to the the Louvre yet!”

The other says, “Me neither. Do you suppose it’s the water?”

If you are, for example, riding in a car with someone, and you have to ask them to stop, you’d sign EXCUSE-ME NEED TOILET. The funny thing is, some younger people, when they sign the word TOILET, with a T, mouth the word bathroom.

Some Deaf people, when they are talking with hearing people, use an R for RESTROOM, instead of a T.

We have some… shockers, if you will. One of the most vulgar and distasteful expressions I’m personally familiar with (which is literally never used in polite company on pain of social ostracism) is “Jeg skal klemme en kongoleser i fajancen”, which translates literally to “I have to squeeze a Congolese into the earthenware.”

Huh. I’d’ve though that’d be a Belgian expression.

Indonesians may be euphemistic and say they are going to the “kamar kecil” or “belakang” - the little room or the back. Or, they may use the word “toilet.” Which isn’t a euphemism for anything in Indonesian - it means the spot where you relieve yourself.

“WC” (pronounced way-chay) is also used, derived from Water Closet. I thought that was quaint when I first heard it - now it just seems normal.

I can’t rule out that it’s originally of Belgian import. It’s certainly an archaism, and a racist one at that.

Nope, not Belgian.

We are more delicate: the first equivalent I can think of is “J’ai une taupe au guichet” (literally: “I have at mole (i.e. the small mammal) at the counter”). You know, as if it was pushing up its little head against the window, wondering when you’re going to open.