Dunny paper, loo paper, bog roll,toilet paper, toilet tissue, papier toilette, PQ (this one is good – it’s French and so tres elegant – it’s pronounced ‘pai-cue’, short for papier cul,’arse paper’)… So many glorious ways to label a roll of perforated paper that wipes your bits. But whatever the name, there is a fashion here in France that never goes out of fashion – your PQ in pretty old pink.
Forget baguettes, 2CVs, the Eiffel Tower… Yes, when I think of a recurring image over here, I think of pink PQ. In almost every home you visit, you help yourself to, pink. In any cafe, bar or restaurant toilet, pink. Have a stroll down any supermarket toilet tissue aisle and you goggle over mountains of… pink. Good luck if you’re searching for non-bleached, non-patterned or basic white. They’ll be the few small piles hidden amidst the enormous volumes of joli rose – or once in a while spotted in a public loo!
Why? In fifteen years of frequent pondering (nearly always whilst sitting on someone else’s loo, reaching over for their dainty pink squares) – and asking most French people I know – I still don’t have an answer for it. I’m by no means the first person to be asking either – I have friends! Loads of them. There are millions of internet search engine results concerning this very discussion in both French and English. Some bloody funny theories too. But still no answers!
It doesn’t explain the pink, but here’s a bit of trivia – correct me if I’m wrong! – about the French and their PQ, found in my search for THE answer: it is said toilet paper was introduced in this country at the beginning of the 20th Century, but as it was long considered a luxury item, it was only from the 1960s its use became widespread.
And in shades of pink at that.