Thursday, 27 February 2014

The GYM, Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford

For those of you who are unfamiliar with gymnasia, they're institutions designed to extract subscription money from people. They are filled with machinery which human beings willingly use with the specific intention of becoming exhausted, experiencing muscle fatigue and vowing never to return. In the exact opposite of traditional employment, customers spend money in order to be able to work. But Points of Loo is not about gymnasia, it's about toilets.

It is, however, important to understand the context in which a toilets are situated. My experience of the gym is not of a place where people enjoy spending time. The facilities reflect this nature, they're small, functional and joyless.

The flush appears to have been upgraded at some point in history, no longer a contact handle but the flashy, pointless feature that is a motion sensor. Full points for keeping up with the times, there. The story is, of course, that a flush sensor is there for reasons of hygiene, not allowing your hands to come into contact with something that's touched someone else's hand, immediately before washing said hands.

In the real world motion sensor flushes do one of two things, either flush incessantly whenever a human being is in the room, or require direct contact to trigger. This one is the latter.

To add to the joyless, exhausted nature of it's patrons, the facilities here are filled with advertising to alleviate the symptoms of exercise and fatigue. Todays cubicle has one astonishing offer:

Put yourself in the mindset of myself, after one too many sit-ups, lifts and strides upon the treadmill. Barely able to believe my eyes. That's absolutely right! Only twenty of my English pounds for a masseuse to place a candle in my ear for thirty whole minutes! That's only a mere 66 pence for a whole minute of having a candle in my ear.

Once again a little off topic, but I could recommend buying a candle and attempting the treatment yourself for considerably less. That is, if you dare to risk placing a candle in your ear without the aid of a qualified masseuse.

Hand washing facilities are ample, although a push button which, after the hygiene gains of not touching the flush (much), require several pushes and some amount of contact. So even with a motion sensor flush you have to resort to soap and water.

The dryers are Dyson Airblades, which, contrary to Peters comments, I like as a piece of technology. It's a rare splash of fun in this joyless building to watch the flesh of your hands being displaced by high speed air. Add to this the delicious irony that belongs to the fact a large proportion of patrons only use this dryer to try and avoid wobbling flesh and the hand dryer is easily my favourite thing about these facilities.

They are, at least, well maintained, cleanliness is largely good, toilet roll and soap are plentiful and I've never met a non-functioning fitting.

In conclusion, they're functional, joyless and deeply in keeping with their surroundings. There is nothing in this room to make me smile, it's so-so. This can only be 3.5 out of 5. Very good at being a toilet, but for my money it's lacking in a USP. Would use again, but it's only because I keep using the same gym.

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