Ohh Sh*&: Bathroom Etiquette Around The World
Ohh Sh*&: Bathroom Etiquette Around The World
Travel is the greatest teacher of all, we can agree on that. But the extent of what I have learned around the world never stops amazing me.
While I grew thinking we all pooped the same and never gave it much thought, once you've been around the world you'll quickly learn otherwise.
It makes sense that we'd all figure out a different way to do our business, but after living abroad the last few years especially in cities with a wide range of nationalities I've seen it all. Let's start with the basics of bathroom etiquette.
I'll never forget when I first visited India. I was staying in Chennai, right by the beach. With the time change I found myself up wide awake at 5am and wondered down to the sand to watch the fisherman prepare their boats while the sun rose. With men all around, many squatting, I too squatted down to enjoy the beautiful view with them - an amazing daily display of beauty we all take for granted each morning. I was refreshed to know that no matter where in the world I was I could enjoy such a beautiful sight with complete strangers, that is until I realized they were all shitting. Right next to each other, side by side on the beach, poop everywhere. Sigh.
I'm going to do my best to keep this as clean as possible but when you're talking how to poop around the world sometimes it gets dirty. We've got a lot to get through, the misunderstandings are endless - I was even just reading that many people believe all Americans shower every single time after they poop. We've got some work to do.
The Squat Toilet
I first moved to Thailand when I was 19, and along with all the other things that blew my mind, the toilets were a whole new adventure. As a dude, I can take my time in the crapper, and with the squat toilets you quickly realize you'll be more focused on your balancing act than reading your social media updates.
The next thing you'll be faced with is that there is WATER EVERYWHERE. Do you have to take my pants off completely so they don't get soaked? What is this bucket with a pail in it? Why is there no toilet paper? HOW is this supposed to work?!?
Practice your squatting first, we'll get to the rest later. The squat position is not just for pooping in Asia and India, its simply the best way to sit. Spend enough time backpacking through SE Asia and you'll be a pro - then just do the same in the toilet.
No Toilet Paper
I've had some of my most hysterical conversations about this one, and with men and women alike. In the Middle East and India, using toilet paper is considered foul - which I still find insane. By this, you are suggesting cleaning your butt with your own fingers is cleaner!?! I mean seriously.
No matter where you are traveling, always have toilet paper around as you'll be shocked how many countries simply exist without it. And yes, that pail and bucket of dirty water next to the toilet is supposed to be flung on your butt. How do you do this and stay dry? Don't ask us, we have yet to figure it out.
Ok, this fascinates me and no one has ever been able to give me a straight answer. Skip this part (or the entire poopy article for that matter) if you don't want to get dirty.
So, you're done doing your business and you either have a bum gun (water hose) or a bucket of water next to you. Your pants are down to your ankles and you're sitting on the toilet. What next? You stick a hose in the toilet between your legs and power wash your bunghole? First off, gross. Second, NOW YOU'RE SOAKING WET. With no toilet paper you just pull up your pants and have a soggy butt all day?
Or even filthier, you finish your business, clean your poop shoot with your fingers and then spray clean your shitty fingers with the hose over the toilet, insuring not only that your poopy fingers are (somewhat) cleaner but now your poop water is all over the toilet and floor?!
The Case For Paper
I'll never forget when a young Arab female friend of mine said "eww, so you just use paper and mush the poop all around. thats GROSS!" No, it's not. Please read above and realize it is by far the most sanitary way to take this on.
I've heard people in India and Asia asking "doesn't the paper hurt your butt?". NO! Haven't you ever seen a toilet paper commercial in the US, they are on about every 5 seconds.
In closing, I have no idea what we have learned here today. I'm not one step closet to understanding any of this, all I know is that I'll stick to what I'm used to. I'll continue to carry toilet paper with me wherever I go and vow to never use a bum gun again.
Please leave your comments and thoughts below, I am genuinely curious and no matter how gross you might think this all is, remember we all poop, and if there is a faster, cleaner and easier way to do it we want to know!