An odd topic to write about, I know. But Germany really wins when it comes to practicality on this one and to be honest, it would be great if the UK would adopt a few of Germany’s bathroom norms.
The separate taps
In Britain, we turn on the taps and quickly move our hands from left to right, hoping that the water won’t trickle through our fingers as the hot water nearly scorches us and the freezing cold water relieves the pain. Whose idea was it to have two separate taps at the sink anyway!? After doing a quick Google search, I’ve read that the hot water and cold water were initially stored in two separate places, hence the two separate water pipes and taps. Even as the European ‘one tap’ norm finally makes its way into Britain, you can still sometimes see that the hot and cold water come out from two separate sides of the tap.
The washing machine
Why do we wash our dirty clothes in the kitchen in the UK (where we prepare and cook food) instead of in the bathroom (where we also wash our bodies)? In Germany, the washing machine is often in the bathroom and this totally makes sense. Hygiene – hello!?
The plug sockets
Ah! That’s it, we aren’t allowed plug sockets in the bathrooms in the UK, so there’s no power for a washing machine. At primary school, I clearly remember being taught that the reason we don’t have plug sockets in the bathroom is because if water gets in the plug we could electricute ourselves. So imagine my surprise when I first moved to Germany and saw my friend blow drying her hair in the bathroom. I was so shocked!
The string light switch
Again, another safety regulation to protect Brits in the bathroom. The famous string light switch feature is based on perceived risk and is in place to stop us from getting electrocuted when turning on the lights. Or I guess we could just dry our hands on a towel beforehand?
All in all, it seems this is a case of safety vs. practicality. Or is it just that us Brits can’t be trusted to think about the repercussions of mixing water with electricity? Either way, whilst I now live a luxurious bathroom life in Germany, if I did move back to the UK and had to select my top options from the above, I would opt for the single tap, followed very closely by having the washing machine in the bathroom. I bet you’ll think about this the next time you use the loo 🙂