In Britain we have a range of euphemisms for the WC: including ‘bog’ (vulgar and masculine), ‘little girls’ room’ (embarrassingly coy), ‘powder room’’ (equally coy) and ‘public convenience’ . ‘Spending a penny’ is a popular term that harks back to the days when public ‘conveniences’ were operated by a penny slot machine in the door. All of these terms are best avoided.
Generally, ‘loo’ is the preferred term, ‘Ladies’ or ‘Gents’ in public venues is also widely used. ‘Lavatory’ is unambiguous, while ‘Toilet’ is the internationally recognised word, but may still raise an eyebrow in more class-conscious circles.
When nature calls, either slip away quietly or excuse yourself politely. Keep your visit brief, leave it clean, always flush and never discuss the experience when you return – however wonderful or horrific it might have been.
In some clubs, hotels, restaurants, railway stations and department stores, you will encounter a loo attendant – you will be expected to leave some small change in their tip bowl, but only if the place is clean and tidy – us Brits never tip for poor service!