Three Things Thursday

It’s the final one of the year, and because it’s celebration time, here are three things you can use…

Happy Toilet!

Happy Toilet!

… to eliminate the post-festive waste and enjoy some Quality Time.

Toilet humour has featured here before because, let’s face it – it’s my favourite kind of humour. This time, however, it’s no laughing matter. It’s also, thankfully for viewers and readers, no fecal matter. That’s because I’ve handpicked only the cleanest receptacles, despite a life lived around some pretty bizarre effluent-collection devices.

My first inkling that the world’s waste was not all routinely swept away from under our pampered and papered butts from a shiny porcelain bowl and into the depths came as a terrible shock. On a childhood camping trip to France, which I had always considered pretty civilised, I walked into the camp-ground bathroom block to discover something that looked like a shower base but without a shower in it. Confused, I tried to find the toilets. My dad had to explain that this was a toilet, but one where you had to squat, just like when you got caught short in the countryside and went in the bushes. I refused to believe him – to be fair to the French this was more because of trust issues concerning my dad’s predilection for practical jokes than because I was horrified by the concept of the squattie toilet.

Squattie

Squattie

Fast forward ten years to my first trip to south east Asia, in the days when very few places (ones I had access to on my backpacker budget, anyway) had western toilets, and I discovered the great benefits of the squattie and became a proselytising convert. By then, I’d spent a reasonable amount of time in portacabins at music festivals in England and in fly-infested dunnies in the Australian outback, where there may have been a seat but I generally didn’t want to sit on it. A clean basin, whether I sat or stood on the rim, was quite a treat. The example pictured above is pretty much exactly the same as those early experiences, being one that I came across in a national park in the middle of nowhere on a recent trip to far north Thailand. These days, they’re generally clean, efficient to use, very comfortable and, in most places, they have an automated flush rather than the bucket system here.

My ten year-old self would doubtless have been baffled by the range of options available. As a teenager, my best friend and I devised a 10-point scale for public conveniences. We were pretty discerning, with scores for smell, decor and cleanliness among other ratings. The league table we compiled of motorway service station pit-stops the length of the M6 in no way prepared me for the experiences I would later encounter.

A super efficient bathroom on a night boat to Koh Tao was simply a square of wood blocks in the base of the boat over a square of nothing-but-sea. Very liberating, although probably not fun for Nemo. There was also the time when, in a rural village in northern Thailand, I encountered the outdoor toilet pit with the large pole at the entryway. “Is it to help you squat?” I innocently asked. “No, it’s to keep away the pigs if they come in,” I was told.

Coming back to Asia a further fifteen years down the line, and things have changed a fair bit. This time around, I’ve barely seen a squattie. Some places still have the bucket flush, but most have a western-style loo with a regular flush and the new added bonus, the bidet hose, of which both I and Wonderboy are huge fans. How many forests-worth of toilet paper can these simple miracles save?

Then there are the super-deluxe, pampering-for-your-posterior techno-toilet seats favoured in Korea and Japan. These things are the way of the future, I’m convinced. If they could somehow be adapted for squatties, they would be this Parrot’s favourite Throne, although the heating function that makes things so toasty in the northern winters would be a little redundant if you were perched on the thing.

The super-deluxe

The super-deluxe

Removing waste is probably the least impressive action these are capable of. A close examination of the controls at the side show they can; heat up, play nice waterfall sounds to disguise the sound of whatever it is you’re really doing, spray, spray like a bidet (not sure why these two are separate functions) and air dry you afterwards. I’m waiting for the next model which will give me a vajazzle and hand me a moist towelette afterwards.

Enjoy the festive season readers, and wash those excesses away in comfort and style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Don’t try this at home, folks

It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

What’s your most memorable bathroom experience?

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