Wikipedia: A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human urine and feces. They are often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory.
What Wikipedia doesn't go on to say, however, is that a toilet should be a 'private' place where you go to use as stated above. That's my opinion anyway.
Wiktionary: private (adj.) Not accessible by the public.
Now we're clear on the meanings of toilet and private, let me begin. I loathe American public toilets. LOATHE I say! Said toilets are everywhere. Parks, Restaurants, Stores, Malls, Schools, Gyms, you name it. We all have to use these facilities at some time or another, so why, I ask you, are the toilet doors never big enough? Is there some kind of strange regulation that says there must be at least a half inch gap between each side of the door and the supporting wall/stall and that there must also be at least a foot gap between the bottom of the door and the floor? If I can see folks waiting in line or washing their hands clearly through the gaps when I am inside said toilet, then they can see me too. This really freaks me out people! I almost feel like getting lengths of toilet paper and hanging them over each side of the door so that nobody can see me through the gaps, but nobody likes to spend more time than they have to inside the toilet, right? Plus, it might slide off and make my cubicle more noticeable due to the activity behind the door. No sir, that would not be good.
I have visited many toilets in my life. I slipped and fell into a squatty potty in Italy. Not an experience I'd like to repeat, but hey, at least nobody saw me do it! I have done my business through a hole in a wooden shelf on the side of a mountain. The wooden shelf had 3 walls round it and a door that closed to prevent anybody from seeing you - positively pleasant! The only people who could see you from the wall-less part would be the birds. I have spent lots of time pondering the computerized consoles around Korean toilets, wondering what each button was for - but in complete privacy because the door closed properly. By the way, some Korean toilets have an Etiquette Button which when pressed, will make background noise so nobody outside the cubicle can hear what is going on inside - PURE GENIUS!! On Cheung Chau Island, the toilet was a long, deep trough, but the cubicles were private. Although people waiting in line could see what went into the trough (nice), they at least couldn't see anything from your ankles up. The toilets in China were the worst. Not only were they squatty potties, but most of them did not flush and everything was just left in there until somebody came and cleaned it out. I'm gagging just thinking about those and you know, thinking back, I can't actually remember if the doors there were big enough or not. I was in and out of those as fast as possible.
So in summary, I'm not vain or silly enough to think that anybody would actually want to watch me in action while I'm inside my private cubicle and I don't exactly want to watch anybody else while I happen to be waiting for a free cubicle. Let's face it, who in the world would? So why does the gap around the door have to be so huge?! Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic or perhaps I'm visiting the wrong
establishments, but when I do have to use public conveniences, it would
be so nice to do so in PRIVATE!!!
Disclaimer: In no way am I saying that British toilets are much better but I'm pretty sure most of the doors there fill the gap properly :)