No, I’m not talking about the universal healthcare or affordable education, which I think everyone in the U.S. should have had access regardless of whether they’re so fortunate to be born in a family with financial means. I’m talking about something of a much less significance, like having a clean bottom after using the toilet.
In a typical American household, after one is finishing up the business on the toilet, one simply wipes their butt “clean” with toilet paper. Somehow, we were collectively taught to assume that this process of butt cleaning is good enough. At the same time, we could find all kinds of toilet paper products in the grocery aisles. Regular or tube-free? Quilted? Single-, double-, or triple-ply? With aloe vera and vitamin E? Do you prefer bamboo fibers? I dislike choosing a new brand of toilet paper when the familiar brand is not available. None of these different varieties of toilet paper could make me feel that they can really clean my butt. Could you imagine just wiping your hand clean if a piece of poo is on your finger? I wouldn’t think so. Does it seem crazy to be talking about this? Perhaps. But don’t you want to know where I am going with this? Sure you do.
Ever since David and I traveled in the Southeast Asia, we noticed one thing that toilets in several countries in this region have in common. If you’re thinking about a squat toilet, I need to stop you right there. Yes, you may still find squat toilets in the Southeast Asian countries. Actually, you may find them in most Asian countries, even in Japan. But that’s not what this post will touch on. What I would like to talk about is a handheld bidet.
A handheld bidet, a bidet shower, a bum gun, or a butt sprayer is a small hose with a spray nozzle on the end that is placed next to the toilet. Its function is to deliver a spray of water used for anal or genital cleansing after using the toilet. It looks similar to a kitchen sink sprayer. It’s one thing I love about traveling in this part of the world. I’m serious. Don’t believe me? You can google “bum gun” and see what people have been talking about it. One person in a video clip said the bum gun was intimidating at first so he had avoided using it until one time he ran out of toilet paper. But once he tried it, he said, there’s no going back. Using toilet paper felt barbaric afterward, he added.
We love using butt sprayer so much that, when we were living in our house in Virginia, David installed it in both of our toilets. The toilet in our condo in Bangkok came with it. Many squat toilets in Thailand now are even equipped with butt sprayers. I’m often reminded by tweets on Twitter of how much Thai people hated it when a supposedly luxury hotel that they stayed didn’t have the butt sprayer installed in the toilet. A butt sprayer is definitely one thing I wish being widely installed with toilets in the U.S.
Note: I don’t think I need to teach you how to use a butt sprayer. The instruction is widely available on the internet. I would like to remind you to test the water pressure before using it, though. Some of them have a value to adjust the water pressure at the base of the hose. Also noted that many public toilets in Thailand don’t provide toilet paper. So, it’s always a good idea to carry some in your bag while out and about. Some restrooms have a toilet dispenser like the one in the picture below OUTSIDE the toilet rooms. Be sure to take some into the toilet with you.