Dear Dr. Boli: How should I excuse myself when I’m at dinner with good company in a decent restaurant, and I need to, you know, excuse myself? —Sincerely, A Gentleman Who Will Be Right Back.

Dear Sir: The principles of etiquette imply, if they do not state outright, that you should be bound by what the restaurant calls its facilities.

Restroom: “I’m going to go take a rest.”

Bathroom: “I’m going to go take a bath.”

Washroom: “I’m going to go wash up.”

Water closet: “I’m going to go put some water in storage.”

Comfort station: “I’m going to go make myself comfortable.”

Public convenience: “I’m going to be convenient.”

Men’s room: “I’m going to be a man.”

Facilities: “I’m going to facilitate.”

Powder room: “I’m going to take a powder.”

You see the principle, and can doubtless adapt it to the local vocabulary. Alternatively, you could just stand up and say, “Excuse me,” and etiquette would be perfectly satisfied with you.


  1. tom says:

    I haven’t heard the term “comfort station” for decades. When I was a lad the hometown had these things downtown that looked like subway entrances, but this subway had only the one stop. And it smelled funny.

    Well not so funny I guess, after spending decades living in NY and riding the subway to work.

  2. RepubAnon says:

    If you’re dining with a US President, “Pardon Me” is also appropriate.

  3. Occasional Correspondent says:

    Lore has it that there is a bar in hunting country — Upper Peninsula Michigan? — with restrooms marked Pointers and Setters.  This would fit easily into your scheme (“Excuse me, I have to point”, “Pardon me, I’m going to set a spell”).  However, further lore has it that there is a bar in the legal district of some city (San Francisco?) — the bar is called The Jury Room and its facilities are labeled Split and Hung.  So . . . “Excuse me while I split”, “Pardon me, I’m going to hang” — ?  Further thought required . . .   (What you set out in your final paragraph would serve but engages the local euphemism less creatively.)(by not engaging it at all)

  4. anon. says:

    The Necessary Room? “Excuse me, I need room to necessitate.”

  5. Reepicheep says:

    Although I haven’t cleaned my plate;
    Anon, I must needs micturate.

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