Toilet paper’s been commercially available in the U.S. since 1857 — and produced “splinter-free” since 1935. Yet, despite its ubiquitous presence, the odds are that one day you'll find yourself in a bathroom, in great need of this trusty tissue, and there will be none in sight. So what do you do? Simple: Pursue all options — every single one of them.
If you're in a public bathroom, you have several choices.
- Ask stall mates to help. Swallow your pride and call out to others to pass you some tissue. If no one else is in the bathroom, find a stall that has toilet tissue. No luck? Grab a few paper towels on your way back to your stall, tend to your needs, then dispose of wrapped paper towels in the sanitary napkin disposal bin or in the trash can. No tissue or towels? Time to move on to the next option.
- Call or text a friend. Seriously, people rarely go anywhere--including the bathroom--without taking their cell phones. You can text or call your emergency to the friend you're with at the time. If that’s not an option, call the establishment you're in and inform them of your dilemma. Should the stars not be aligned in your favor, and no one answers your pleas, move on to option #3.
- Forage for substitutes. Two possible hacks for toilet tissue are paper toilet seat covers which are flushable, and paper towels (if you dare to walk to the sink area) which are not, so wrap them in a clean paper towel before discarding in the sanitary disposal containers or in the trash.
- If all of the above fail, then it's time to think outside the box--or the roll. Search your pockets, wallet and purse for anything to wipe with--blank checks, a bunch of receipts, Kleenex, a handkerchief. If you happen to have a bottle of water with you, why not go European and create a DIY bidet? You're desperate, so stay open to all options.
- As a last resort, take a hard look at what you're wearing. Socks? Small scarf? Mittens and gloves? Depending on the scope of your need, these may be the answer.
On the other hand, if you're in someone's home and you cannot find toilet tissue in any of the bathroom cabinets, it's easier to get relief. Simply call out to your host. Don't be too timid to yell, cell or text. Your host will appreciate the heads up.