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Thread: spend a penny?

  1. #1
    goodsogi is offline Junior Member
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    Default spend a penny?

    "The average person spends three years of their life on the loo
    Researchers have found that girls really do take longer to spend a penny than boys."



    Does the green mean "spend time"?

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: spend a penny?

    It's just an expression that means to use the toilet.

  3. #3
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: spend a penny?

    Quote Originally Posted by goodsogi View Post
    "The average person spends three years of their life on the loo
    Researchers have found that girls really do take longer to spend a penny than boys."



    Does the green mean "spend time"?
    No. "Spend a penny" is a British idiom for "use a pay toilet."

    At one time, private stalls in public restrooms had a small lockbox on the door. To open the door, the user had to put a small coin (a penny in Brtain, or a dime in the US) into the box. The idea was to raise money for the upkeep of the toilets.

    So the habit grew up of people saying they had to go "spend a penny" when they were going to the loo -- meaning that they were going to spend a penny to pay for the use of the stall.

    There are lots of euphemisms about going to the public restroom. One old fashioned one in the US is that you're going to "see a man about a horse."

    Sometimes B girls or semi-prostitutes would ask their dates for money for the ladies' room (in upscale places, that would have included a tip for the staff woman who kept the area clean, handed you a towel after you had washed your hands, or who would help you fix your hair or repair a rip or dab off a spot on your dress.) '

    The woman's escort was supposed to understand that he was to give her a large sum of money -- maybe $20 or $50. It was a way for the relationship between them to be paid for without the man having to just give her money the way he would a common streetwalker.

    Besides her needing money for the ladies' room, the other way for a man to pay a woman for her company was to give her money pretending it was for her taxi ride home. The idea was that the amount would far exceed the taxi fare, but it made handing over money more graceful.

    "Spend a penny" means "use the ladies' room, the WC, the loo."

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