They’re not two words I ever expected to write in the same sentence, but the receptacle of which I speak has to be one of the seven great wonders of modern technology (on a list that includes the Eurostar and the i-Pad).
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is one of my favourite haunts in Beverly Hills: a large steak restaurant with a long bar down one side, and delightful staff that never make me feel less than hugely welcome.
It has the lovely Adolpho on the piano, some really good European wines (difficult to find in LA, with its excess of California plonk, which I loathe), and a sociable clientele who make it easy to make friends if you’re sitting by yourself.
But the toilet. Oh, the toilet.
The first thing that strikes you is how warm the seat is. It’s like going back to the womb; that in itself makes you reluctant to get off.
But then there are the various dials to your right on the wall: the first two say “REAR CLEANSING”, with five small vertical dots under the one, and four dots and the word "SOFT" written under the second button.
Next comes “FRONT CLEANSING”, with two sets of four dots in a diamond shape underneath. Then you have “PRESSURE” and “POSITION”, with a plus at the top and a minus below. I tell you: the place is a veritable theatre.
I didn’t know which bits to wash first, nor (not having entertained myself in this manner before), how much pressure to go for.
Was it like an Indian restaurant, where you ordered the Vindaloo and then realised, too late, that you had over-estimated how strong your constitution was?
Then there was position to consider. Did you have to take the size of your rear end into consideration when deciding whether to sit more towards the front or back of the seat? Or did the position button take care of all that for you?
In the time it was taking me to weigh up my options, a lengthy queue was doubtless forming outside the door, impatient customers who had yet to discover what an adventure the emptying of one’s bladder and bowels could be.
In the end, I tried all options. I could take the Vindaloo force on front wash, but had to take it easy on non-soft rear wash, which, on full pressure, made me feel as if an elephant had decided to empty its trunk into my back passage.
Front cleansing was an easier and far more pleasurable operation altogether, but then that was something I had already learned long ago.
The only thing I didn’t manage to do was flush the damned thing. When I put the lid down, the array of lights and paraphernalia turned the bowl into the Star Ship Enterprise. I pressed, I tapped, I looked in vain for a flush, but nothing.
When I questioned Ron the manager about this (adding my compliments to the plumber) upon my return to the restaurant (days later, it seemed, and a lot cleaner than when I had gone in), I was assured that even if you haven't managed to work out the logistics, it flushed automatically once you left the cubicle.
It wasn’t until I got back to my seat that I realised I hadn’t actually done the very thing I had gone in there for – namely, the evacuation of my supper; there were just too many other things to do.
Quite what governor Mr Schwarzenegger would think of it all is anybody’s guess. California has been suffering from a water shortage for some time now, and if the entertainment offered by Wolfgang’s toilet starts attracting bigger audiences than it already does, that shortage is only going to worsen.
I suppose they could try using the same water, recycling it and purifying it in some way, but I suspect that would probably negate the “cleaning” part of the operation.
I’m also curious as to what goes on in the men’s room at Wolfgang’s. Presumably, they have the same bowl and dials for longer performances, but I’m curious as to what their urinal is like.
Is there a small shower for testicle cleansing, a foreskin wash, added pressure for the less sensitive circumcised organ? Do men have to change position according to the size of their anatomy? Do very large penises have to be done in shifts?
There are so many unanswered questions about Wolfgang’s toilet, but at least I have information about the most important one – can I get one installed in my apartment?
Apparently, they only cost about $1500, which, when you compare it to the price of going to the theatre, is a really good deal, considering how many toilet performances you are going to attend in your lifetime.
I’m going to ask my landlady to look into it and try to convince her of the benefits of having the cleanest tenants on the block.
And when it’s installed, I might invite my 25 year old Italian next door neighbour to the premier. Maybe we can share a Cornetto in the interval.
Ready for my close-up? You bet. I already feel flushed with success.