Wash, don't wipe, your butt.

By Sparklee A Hole.

If you can read this, you are a human, and you poop. A subject that may delight a few, and disgust many more. but opinions don’t count, because we all have to go and poop. It is what happens afterwards that is rarely discussed. People from different cultures have different ideas about what you should do next. An American or a Brit, who has only ever seen a toilet roll next to a toilet, may travel abroad and find one of the five following devices at his or her disposal.

  • A porcelain bidet
  • A bucket or barrel of water with a scooper
  • A shower spray connected to the toilet tank water supply with a T-adaptor
  • An electronic toilet seat that dispenses sprays or jets of warm water and may also air-dry the area
  • A pipe that shoots water upwards.

There may be more systems than these five, but these are the common alternatives to simply using dry tissue paper to clean up.

Conversely, someone from the Arab world, or the Philippines, or parts of Asia, might visit The USA and be appalled to find out that Americans believe they can clean their anal area following defecation with nothing more than dry tissue paper. And they would be right, because it really does take more than tissue to be clean following the business.

Clearly, washing is more efficient than tissue-wiping when it comes to removing the after effects of going, especially if a lather from detergent is introduced, so what do these mysterious foreigners do in the bathroom?

The Bidet.

Often seen beside a toilet, the bidet has featured in travel jokes for decades. It is basically a little bathtub that one squats over to wash the area. These usually have hot and cold running water and can squirt, rinse and spray. Anyone who has used a bidet is probably emerging from the bathroom clean.

The electronic bidet toilet seat.

The Japanese have pioneered this field. To have one of these, your toilet needs to have electricity as well as water. These devices, controlled with the push of a button are designed to wash and then dry the area, without the user leaving the seat. Some are simple and some are full of hi-tech features.

The Tabo

Called the tabo in the Philippines but known by other names in South Asia, this system is basically a jug of water, filled in a bucket or barrel or from the tap. The user raises up slightly from the toilet seat and pours water towards the small of the back where the space between the butt cheeks is. The water naturally flows down and over the skin and washes the area.  In practice, although rarely talked about, the user usually puts soap on his or her fingers and washes the butt, just like everyone does in the shower and then rinses with the tabo. Of course this means touching the unclean substance in question (poo) but the hand is using soap and water so with practice it ends up clean when all is over. In the Philippines, bathrooms are wet, meaning there is usually a floor drain and a faucet on the wall, which is used to fill the vessel. The tabo is difficult for lifelong wipers to accept, but it does remove all traces of waste and associated bacteria, so should not be criticized. Anyone with a sink within arm’s reach of the toilet, and a plastic jug or jar, can try the tabo right now, with nothing to install. In rural areas, the tabo is also used for outdoor, full body bathing.

The bidet shower spray.

The Arabs call it a shattaf, (sounds like shit off, which is basically what it does), but this is nothing more than a handheld water shower that connects to the water inlet valve for the toilet via a T-connection. Room temperature water is sprayed on the anus after the business is done. As with the tabo, hand washing the area with soap is an unmentioned option. These sprays are often called diaper sprays or nappy sprayers, because they can also be used to wash off most of the baby poo from your baby’s diaper before tossing it in the bleach pail. The baby poo just goes right down the loo. The downside to using a handheld shower spray in a colder climate is, in winter, the tap water can be extremely cold. In some places these are called the muslim bidet and other names, because the muslim world is apparently quite particular about keeping clean down there. But if your bathroom is in Thailand or Saudi Arabia, to name a couple of places, you’ll probably have a sprayer adjacent to the toilet, and the water will not be a cold shock.

The sprayer pipe.

In Egypt you are likely to see a curved brass pipe at the back of the toilet bowl. This is water spraying at it’s most basic. Just turn on the tap and a jet of water shoots towards the butt for hands-free washing, or manually assisted soaping, as discussed under the tabo.

So here is the taboo subject of cleaning the ass being discussed in a magazine. Some will find the whole subject unthinkable and live their whole lives failing to properly remove poo and bacteria with their little pieces of tissue paper, and others will never use tissue paper instead of washing. While it may be obvious which idea is more effective,  preconceptions about what is civilized may keep most westerners in the dirt until they are buried in the dirt. But whatever you do following a poo, follow by washing your hands with soapy lather, and you’ll stay safe.

Sparklee A Hole is always ready for inspection and never has to hide his underwear deep in the laundry basket.

Editor’s note: We had almost 150 comments on this post, some quite well written and lengthy. But some comments contained less than tolerant cultural attacks etc., and so we made a decision to disable comments for this post and delete all that were here.