Now research has proved that women really do spend longer locked in the bathroom – the equivalent of one year, seven months and 15 days, a month longer than men.
But men are much more likely to dally on the loo itself than women, according to a survey carried out by a bathroom company.
It found men spend an hour and 45 minutes every week going to the toilet – whereas women get everything over with in a mere 85 minutes a week.
The poll of 2,500 people revealed that going to the toilet accounts for the biggest chunk of time spent in the bathroom – an average of one hour and 42 minutes a week, or almost 92 days over a lifetime.
Another hour and 25 minutes of each week is then spent in the bath or shower – a total of more than six months of your life. The average Brit then spends just under half an hour each week – or 62 days in a lifetime – drying themselves off and cleaning your teeth takes almost 18 minutes a week, although Scots spend half a minute less than the rest of the UK brushing their teeth.
And while some of us jump into the bath or shower then leap out again, ready to start the day, others spend longer, turning it into a daily ritual.
Some 51 per cent of people asked said they spend around five minutes applying moisturiser after a bath or shower, and more than a third of women spend time in the bathroom applying make-up, with 36 per cent of saying they spend at least seven minutes doing this before facing the world.
Many people say escapism is a factor, with peace and quiet being high on the list of things people associate with the smallest room. And rather worryingly, 43 per cent of people – 45 per cent of Scots – reckon the bathroom is the only place they get time to themselves.
Another 39 per cent say they often retreat to the bathroom when they want to think.
A spokesperson for Bathstore, which carried out the research, said: "It's incredible to think we spend so much time in our bathrooms over the course of our lives but it just goes to show how important a domestic space it is … it's a place to be on your own, to get away from it all."
BIG IDEAS FOR SMALLEST ROOM
LOTS of people keep a pile of dog-eared Broons annuals or copies of Viz magazine next to the loo, but the revelation of how long we spend in the bathroom suggests we would have time to catch up on the great works of literature instead.
With 560,000 words, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace takes the average reader 31 hours to complete.
So with men spending an average one hour and 45 minutes on the loo each week and women 85 minutes, we could all read the epic twice a year.
And the hour and a half we spend in the shower every week could be used for learning languages – to learn Mandarin, linguists say you must listen to it for at least two hours a week.