Monday, June 13, 2005

Public InConveniences

Okay, now we venture on to even more dangerous stuff - public toilets ... You may not believe it, but most public toilets do not have any toilet paper (which they consider unhygienic!), they merely have a hosepipe situated nearby the loo. This means that the floors of the loos are almost always swimming in what one hopes is water - which I consider unhygienic! Now, what I want to know is this - if you can master the art of squirting the hose in just the right place, and at just the right angle, how do you dry yourself off if there is no loo paper? Or do they walk around holding those tiny little battery-operated fans at just the right place under those voluminous black robes of theirs?

Even in the flat, each bathroom is equipped with a bidet and a rather interestingly angled hose/tap type of thing. These are basically carwashes for your *ass*. None of us have been brave enough to actually try using it, because it seems one would have to get into the "prepare for crash landing" position used on aircraft - with your head between your knees - and then try to twist yourself into a pretzel in order to reach the tap which is situated directly behind your butt, turn it on to the correct pressure and readjust the angle, whilst at the same time trying to maintain your balance on the (seatless) porcelain bowl. I am afraid I would get into position and then have a fit of giggles, give myself a slipped disc and have to wait for someone to rescue me. Or worse, turn the tap up too high and give myself a free enema. I HAVE asked, but nobody seems to be prepared to demonstrate How To Use Your Bidet Without Drowning.

(Bidet in French originally meant "small horse" - which seems to describe it perfectly!)

Question : Are bidets for *assholes*?

PS : They do make great foot-washing basins, though ....

While we are on this delicate subject, consider the rules and regulations which Moslems must adhere to when using the toilet :

Muslim’s toileting practices could be compounded into six areas— entering, seclusion, the prohibition of facing Mecca, squatting, cleaning and stepping out.

The Qur’an states that one should enter the restroom with left foot first while saying a prayer of protection. It is not permissible to enter a restroom while carrying anything that bears the name of Allah, such as the Qur’an, or any book with the name of Allah in it, or jewelry such as bracelets and necklaces engraved with the name of Allah. Muslims should keep silent when in the restroom. Thus, talking, reading, greeting others and answering greetings are not to be done inside the restroom except for risky situations, like guiding a disabled person.

One should be out of sight, thus doors of toilets should be securely closed. Privacy is therefore a major requirement when providing restroom facilities for Muslim users. Muslim women specifically have problems with Western-style public restrooms because they find stalls with gaps between the floor and wall too immodest.

Islam prohibits facing the Qiblah (Mecca) while defecating. The Prophet said “if you go to defecate, do not face Mecca nor turn your back toward it. Instead, you should turn to your left side or your right side”.

Muslims are encouraged to urinate while sitting or squatting and not while standing. Squatting or sitting is said to be better since it is healthier for the body and there is less chance of urine splashing onto one’s body or clothes. Islam strictly prohibits direct contact with urine and feces as these are considered impure. The Prophet once passed by two graves and said “Both are being punished. They are not being punished for major sins. One did not shield himself from urine and the other carried gossip.” This explains why hole-in-the-ground squat-type toilets are still popular in some areas.

After using the toilet, one should performs the Istinjaa (cleansing with water). However, when water is not available, a material that does not have a smooth surface, such as stone or wood can be used. Tissue paper can be used as long as it does not absorb the feces or urine and cause the hand to come into contact with it.
Qur’an forbids the use of the right hand in order to clean oneself from the impurities of urine and feces.

Muslims have a practice of leaving the toilet with right foot first. They utter a prayer of forgiveness as they leave the toilet.

Prayer uttered before entering the restroom with left foot: “O Allah, I seek Your protection from the male and female devils”
Prayer uttered after leaving the restroom with the right foot: “I seek your pardon. Praise be to Allah who removed discomfort from me”

Well, that's enough to make you constipated!!

No comments: