If you have ever lived in India, as have I, or perhaps Japan, like my brother Steven, or in almost any other country in the world outside of the United States, you probably noticed that there are cultural differences. There are obvious differences, like the way a culture eats, for example. But then there are less obvious differences such as how a culture engages in bathroom etiquette. And here I am specifically referring to how people clean themselves after going to the bathroom.
This is something we are taught as children and will rarely get a chance to learn another option later on. Because, let’s face it, outside of a parent teaching their child how to clean their bottom, where else is this conversation culturally appropriate?
When I lived in South India, in an ashram, no less, I learned very quickly why there isn’t any toilet paper available. You don’t need it. But what you don’t necessarily learn at the same time, is that just using toilet paper is an incomplete and by itself, less healthy and less effective alternative. Many other countries, outside of the United States and India have water spray devices and toilet paper. This is another way that an American may come to question our ‘only toilet paper’ ways.
If you are an American reading this, I don’t expect to convince you to start washing your behind with your hand. Cultural note; in South India they only clean themselves with their left hand and only eat with their right.
We learn so much via contrast. When I went to India and started using water instead of paper I didn’t realize how much cleaner I was and felt. Coming back to America, however, I really noticed the difference. So much so that not using water to clean myself felt very incomplete and very uncomfortable.
Another thing that I don’t expect most Americans to do after reading this is to go out and get a spray attachment for their toilets. Although, that is an option.
So here is the solution that I came up with that is easy, simple and effective to do anywhere. Because once you clean yourself properly, I promise I will never want to go back and perhaps will wonder why an entire culture is walking around with less than ideal hygiene.
The technique is Dry, Wet, Dry, Dry. Since most bathrooms are designed with a toilet next to a sink, it is very easy to have your second wipe be wet toilet paper. I could go into the details of DWDD, but I think you get it. If the sink is not near by, like in some public stalls, plan ahead and wet some toilet paper to keep next to you before you sit down.
I will have to add this as a chapter to my book “You’re Fat, She’s Not” which covers important lifestyle topics like this one.
I will end this blog with the perfect Conan follow up video on the subject: