Leap Blog Day Guest Post #3 -- That Darn Wet Toilet Seat

So I have one last late entry from Anti Inertia.  When I asked this blogger for a guest post the only question back was, "Can I write about anything?"  I, of course, said yes, I mean who am I to stifle anyone's creativity right.  Below is what resulted.  I think you will agree after reading this, and other posts on Anti Inertia, this blogger has an amazing ability to dive into a topic with both feet and provide insight that you didn't think possible given the topic.

That Darn Wet Toilet Seat
Anti-Inertia at Anti Inertia

When you clean your face, I’m curious, what do you use?
How about when you clean your hands?
It sounds silly, but if you think about how you clean your hair, your teeth or even your entire body they all have one thing in common.  But before I spoil it for you, let’s all take a minute and think about all the different ways we clean ourselves.
Taking this a step further, to clean your throat (keep it out of the gutter folks) a Doctor is likely to recommend gargling or something along those lines.  To clean your nose and/or your sinuses, beyond the advice of a medical professional, we have products like the Neti Genie.
You’re not going to clean your face with a paper towel, right?  It simply won’t do the trick.  Parents especially know this, you’re not going to consider your kids’ hands clean (or your own) unless they’re washed with water and soap; correct?  And I’m pretty sure you’ll blow a gasket if you try to clean your nose/sinuses without some form of liquid.  Yet, I’m repeatedly surprised with why more than two-thirds of the 1st World thinks it’s OK to clean oneself with dry material.  You know what I’m talking about here.  Don’t shy away from it.  Don’t deny it.  Hell, if you’re amongst that two-thirds population; especially if you’re in West Europe or North America, then you should definitely read this.
Why on Earth do you accept the fact that it’s OK to clean all but one orifice with water (or some liquid) except your privates?
  Is it any wonder that flushable wet wipes, like Cottonelle's wet wipes, are selling like hot cakes (no pun intended)?  So why, oh why, have we just accepted what our parents (and their parents) to be the way to clean our under-carriage?  Paper?  Really?  I don’t care that it’s called “toilet paper” it’s still paper.  Dry paper!  Again … wet wipes are better.  And for God’s sake, if you haven’t yet tried wet wipes, then get off your ass and buy some (again, no pun intended).  No, I’m not affiliated with any manufacturer, vendor or anything related to any product mentioned here.  Now … Do us all a favor, once you get some wet wipes, be sure to use toilet paper until you feel you’re clean –clean enough to pull up your pants.  Then, and only then, use a wet wipe.
If this is truly your first time using wet wipes, then please … please … come back here and tell us in the comments how you now feel.  Be sure to keep it clean though (pun intended).
Now that you’ve experienced wet wipes you know what moisture, or to be exact, water, can do for your hygiene.  But before I go down that road, I’m curious to learn why we use toilet paper in the first place!
Why is a 6th century Chinese practice and invention so widely used in 1st World countries?  These are countries that should know better; and have the means to address such hygienic matters due to a plethora of resources (money, water, education, etc.).  Oh oh oh … here’s a good question:  Why are we using toilet paper when the very country/culture that invented it hardly uses it?  Have we become so dependent on the Chinese that we cannot relinquish THAT too?
Here’s the kicker … toilet paper was an upgrade!  We here in the States have used newspapers, telephone directory pages and other paper products.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your parents or grandparents.  OK, wait.  Don’t do that.  I’d hate to see the comments resulting from that inquiry.  The Old Farmer's Almanac was sold with a hole punched in the corner so it could be hung on a nail in an outhouse.  Generation X’ers, and some of Generation Y (and older generations, of course), will remember the Sears catalog.  No way; you say!  The back-then widely-distributed Sears Roebuck catalog was a popular choice until it began to be printed on glossy paper (at which point some people wrote to the company to complain).  Don’t believe me?  Here are two resources:
Rodriguez, Linda (2009-07-08). "Why toilet paper belongs to America". CNN.com.
The Wikipedia link I referenced above shows how the French “dismissed the use of paper as ineffective” with the following quote:
The 16th century French satirical writer François Rabelais, in Chapter XIII of Book 1 of his novel-sequence Gargantua and Pantagruel, has his character Gargantua investigate a great number of ways of cleansing oneself after defecating. Gargantua dismisses the use of paper as ineffective, rhyming that: "Who his foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his ballocks leave some chips." (Sir Thomas Urquhart's 1653 English translation).
Now I’m not advocating wet/moist wipes in lieu of toilet paper either –I could discuss the benefits of one product over the other, but there are resources out there that (beyond their self-serving intentions) represent that topic quite well.  One such resource is from Swipe –A Cottonelle and Charmin competitor.  Again, a bit self-serving, but still worth a read.  Here’s another one of their articles I thought was worth a mention.
Of course, what the likes of Swipe fail to mention is how Swipe is yet another upgrade to toilet paper –leafs, sticks, newspapers, catalogs, toilet paper and now wet wipes.  Think about that progression (almost called it an evolution).  Then think about how older cultures, like the Chinese, Indians, the Middle East, Africa … the birth of humanity as we know it … how do they handle their anal cleansing (yes, I said it).  Granted, in places where water is scarce or not closely available, any available material (including stones) is used instead. Use of paper as in the western world is rare in this region and is seen only in some urban and westernized societies.  In other words, only as a mimic of being cool like the guys in the 1st World.  That, however, doesn’t make it right.  We could always stand to learn a thing or two from our elders –those people who have proceeded us … the source of older civilizations.
You might be surprised to learn that the use of water for cleansing one’s privates after defecating or urinating is very common.  Go back and look at that progression of products and see where we’re headed.  Yes, water.  And only water.  Enter bidets.
From Wikipedia:
The bidet is commonplace in many European countries, especially in Spain (30%), Portugal (70%), Italy (95%) and Greece, and also in Japan where approximately half of all households have a form of bidet (often combined with the toilet in a single appliance). It is also very popular in the Middle East. In India and the Indian subcontinent, the use of water for cleansing the anal area after defecating is very common. About 95% of the population follows this practice.
In the U.S. and UK bidets are not yet as popular as in the areas mentioned above, but are slowly becoming more common. Attachable stainless steel or plastic bidets that are fixed to existing toilets are gaining popularity as they are easy to use and cheap. Whether it’s for health reasons, like for hemorrhoids, or for overall hygiene as is the intention behind this article, washing with water with or without a bidet is key.  A bidet is simply a tool, which would solve the 1st World problem of you cleaning your own ass with your own hands, albeit using a canister that pours water on your hands at all times;  limiting any sensation of your own defecation since water is washing it away at all times.  That is disgusting; right?  Um, this whole topic is borderline disgusting.  But noooo; instead, you’d rather feel every texture via a thin veil of paper –Toilet paper.  Sitting there scraping away. Scrape after scrape.  Until it’s clean enough.  Really?  I’m not even going to attempt to discuss dangle-berries.
Keep your ass, hands and overall hygiene clean and use water.  Scientific American has numbers to show that it’s an environmentally responsible and green approach.  BidetKing (not intended as an endorsement of any kind) was quoted saying: 
It’s pretty amazing to us how America has gone this long without a more widespread acceptance of the bidet. We live in a culture that’s pretty obsessed with keeping things clean and sanitary. Anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, magic sponges and the list goes on. We’re constantly bombarded with ads telling us how dirty our hands and counter tops are under a magnified lens. And yet, for perhaps the ‘dirtiest’ part of our daily routines, we just wipe our butts with toilet paper? That should be good, right?

Look, toilet paper’s fine. It does its job and for the most part, it’s clean enough. But can’t we do better? I mean, when our hands get dirty, we wash them with water and soap. When our dishes get dirty, we wash them in the sink, with water. So when our butts get dirty, shouldn’t we wash them with water too? The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. We wash everything with water – why not our rears? Use a bidet, or better yet, use one of those fancy electronic bidet seats. It’ll change the way you look at toilet paper forever.
Personally, I’d rather wash my butt with water.  And yes, even if a bidet was not available.  I’d rather use a water canister and get the whole toilet seat wet.  Of course, that always ticks off the wife, but I have toilet paper to dry the seat (did you like that irony?).
To many, the problem is not so much a clean ass, but clean hands. Washing hands with soap after every visit to the toilet removes bacteria; without a doubt.  Keeping that hygiene point in mind at all times, with every visit to the bathroom (especially public ones), is part of what will keep your hygiene in good standing.  That very point, however, is the drive behind keeping your behind clean … using the same method: Water.  With that, I hope you’ve had ample material, bias and not, to aid you in your decision of how to keep your ass clean.  Still a skeptic?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, on this site and on anti-inertia.com
Finally, for a good & funny read on the topic, back from 2001, I urge to read this interwebz gem.

8 Response to "Leap Blog Day Guest Post #3 -- That Darn Wet Toilet Seat"

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    Anonymous says:

    The good thing about bidets is that there isn't just one type. There are so many different types of bidets that even if someone thinks they are silly, they should find a type that would help with cleaning. ANd I agree, even if I didn't have one, I would be using something to clean myself afterwards.

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