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Thread: Cultural context of using the word туалет

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    Cultural context of using the word туалет

    Таня, a Russian colleague of mine, and I were discussing the social contexts in which using the word туалет is too direct in Russian. For instance, if she is at a restaurant with a mixed group of men and women, she would never leave the table by saying «Я иду в туалет». Instead she would stand up, say «Я сейчас приду» or «Пойду, помою руки». But if she were there with only her подруги, she might say «Я иду в туалет» and maybe even add «Не хочешь со мной» “Do you want to go with me?”

    This I understand. What I wonder, though, is whether the same conditions apply the other way around. In other words,

    A. If a Russian man is in a restaurant in mixed company, will he feel fine saying «Я иду в туалет» or will he rephrase it with «помыть руке» (or other euphemism)?
    B. If a Russian man is in a restaurant with just his male friends, will he say «Я иду в туалет»?
    C. Would a Russian man ever ask his buddy to go to the bathroom with him? That is a situation I can't imagine in the US. No American man will ever (outside of medical emergency) say to his buddy “Do you want to go to the bathroom with me?”

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    I never payed attention to this, but I think that people usually don't announce that they go to the bathroom, especially in the mixed company or in formal or semi-formal setting (I can't imaging this happening during business dinner with people you barely know). They say something like "Я отойду на минутку" without explaining their intentions. Everyone can fill the gaps anyway.

    I'm trying to remember if I ever say "Я иду в туалет".. Hmmm. If I do, most likely I won't say it for everyone to hear, maybe to a friend or someone, who sits nearby in case they'll need to find me.

    On the other hand if you are among close friends, it's possible, and no one will think twice about it.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz View Post
    A. If a Russian man is in a restaurant in mixed company, will he feel fine saying «Я иду в туалет» or will he rephrase it with «помыть руке» (or other euphemism)?
    Most probably an euphemism will be used. Like "Мне надо выйти."

    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz View Post
    B. If a Russian man is in a restaurant with just his male friends, will he say «Я иду в туалет»?
    It depends on the level of formality of the situation, degree of friendship, self-identification etc. and can vary from A. to brutal vulgarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz View Post
    C. Would a Russian man ever ask his buddy to go to the bathroom with him? That is a situation I can't imagine in the US. No American man will ever (outside of medical emergency) say to his buddy “Do you want to go to the bathroom with me?”
    I can't imagine it either. Unless it is a kind of homosexual game which is definitely not welcome in a traditional Russian male company.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Since toilets are considered as smoking places, it's pretty usual to say "Let's go smoking", though.

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    I might say with my buddies but not in mixed company "I gotta hit the head." Any Russian equivalent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika View Post
    I might say with my buddies but not in mixed company "I gotta hit the head." Any Russian equivalent?
    There are some for a company of close male friends:

    Пойду отолью.
    Пойду пожурчу.
    Пойду позвоню Журчинскому.
    Мне надо сбросить давление.

    And some others.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    The most wonderful excuse for a man at the first date with a woman is 'I've got to go help a friend of mine whom I'll introduce to you a bit later' The same thing could be said in Russian I suppose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77 View Post
    There are some for a company of close male friends:

    Пойду отолью.
    Пойду пожурчу.
    Пойду позвоню Журчинскому.
    Мне надо сбросить давление.

    And some others.

    A. It would be better to say: "мне необходимо в уборную". If you treat the stranger you can say: "где у Вас уборная?"

    B. Это смотря какие друзья! Женщинам, например, не очень нравится когда так говорят: "пойду отолью" или "пойду личинку отложу" ))
    In the presence of women would more correct to say: "мне необходимо в уборную".

    С. That's impossible between heterosexuals.

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Personally, I'll simply say something like "Я сейчас"
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil View Post
    Personally, I'll simply say something like "Я сейчас"
    so if your interlocutor will ask you: "where are you going?" You must explain somehow.

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    Perhaps, perhaps not. I can always repeat it. Well then, if someone would insist I might say irritably '#ля, поссать пошел, можно?' But it hardly ever goes to that. Most people have enough sense to understand where I go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil View Post
    Perhaps, perhaps not. I can always repeat it. Well then, if someone would insist I might say irritably '#ля, поссать пошел, можно?' But it hardly ever goes to that. Most people have enough sense to understand where I go.
    It's funny, thanks for humor, but you couldn't say that to child or parents for example

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    #ля could be omitted, and 'поссать' could be replaced with 'пописать'. The expression on my face will tell the rest. )))
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    В своем круге я если по маленькому, то говорю: "я позвонить", если на долго, то: я личинку отложить))) But it will be funny if it will tell a foreigner

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    Another thing we might say is
    I've got to see a man about a horse.

    (No idea where this came from!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz View Post
    Таня, a Russian colleague of mine, and I were discussing the social contexts in which using the word туалет is too direct in Russian. For instance, if she is at a restaurant with a mixed group of men and women, she would never leave the table by saying «Я иду в туалет». Instead she would stand up, say «Я сейчас приду» or «Пойду, помою руки». But if she were there with only her подруги, she might say «Я иду в туалет» and maybe even add «Не хочешь со мной» “Do you want to go with me?”

    This I understand. What I wonder, though, is whether the same conditions apply the other way around. In other words,

    A. If a Russian man is in a restaurant in mixed company, will he feel fine saying «Я иду в туалет» or will he rephrase it with «помыть руке» (or other euphemism)?
    B. If a Russian man is in a restaurant with just his male friends, will he say «Я иду в туалет»?
    C. Would a Russian man ever ask his buddy to go to the bathroom with him? That is a situation I can't imagine in the US. No American man will ever (outside of medical emergency) say to his buddy “Do you want to go to the bathroom with me?”
    With close friends, esp. male:
    пойду поссу (have to pee, разг.)
    пойду в толчок/тубзик(toilet - разг.)
    пойду посрать (i'll go and make a crap) за столом уже лучше не говорить, даже в уютной компании дурной тон
    природа зовет - acceptable

    In oficial/mixed company:
    пойду носик попудрю
    извините, мне нужно отойти

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