Posts Tagged 'toilet'

Going To The Bathroom Abroad: The Butt Hose Edition

This is my bathroom. As you can see, it’s nothing special (aside from how clean it is). It’s actually nicer than my last bathroom back in the States, with its black mold and peeling linoleum. Because contrary to what some folks back home have envisioned, I’m actually not living in a straw hut. Nor am I not taking dumps crouched down over a squat toilet. Using the bathroom is a totally Western affair.

Except.

Look closer—what’s that thing snaking out from the wall and resting perkily in its holster?

Why, it’s a butt hose.

I don’t know if that’s what it’s actually called, but that’s what I call it. Maybe I haven’t been looking closely, but I haven’t seen butt hoses outside of Asia.

At first they confounded me. What the fuck were you supposed to do with that thing? I thought it might be for cleaning and admittedly used it as such once—got a real good angle on those hard-to-reach tiles behind the toilet. But that couldn’t really explain why I’d see the butt hoses around town, in fairly squalid bathrooms where toilets were either missing seats or were of the squat variety, and where toilet paper was a laughably far-fetched wish.

You know those little old ladies that sit outside bus station bathrooms in Latin America and charge you to enter? You know how they give you one painstaking square of toilet paper? I was thinking that Southeast Asia could really stand to learn from that jam. I mean, the pay-to-stand-on-a-scale hustle appears to be worldwide, so why not the charge-for-toilet-paper hustle?

Haha---these signs are reeeeal funny, until you go into a bathroom with muddy foot prints on the toilet seat

Cause they don’t use it.

Word?

Word.

Well, not everyone doesn’t use it. But from what I hear, the butt hose is the Southeast Asian answer to toilet paper. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense: instead of smearing a dry piece of paper around there, you give the area a refreshing little spritz. It’s kind of genius, and far less intrusive and intimidating than a bidet, with its cranks and levers that strike fear and worries of cultural inadequacy into the hearts of Americans.

The butt hose takes up a lot less space too—just sits there innocuously against the wall, as if to say, “Use me if you’d like, madame.” It doesn’t stare at you from beside the toilet, in that way that makes you comfortable and unable to look away while you’re dropping one, wondering if you’re a less evolved human being because you can never figure out how to spell, much less use, that European contraption of ass-refinement. It’s a metaphor, really, when you think about it.

I’ve become a big fucking fan of the butt hose. Once it was explained to me, I began to work it in to my shit-taking repertoire—cautiously at first, perfecting my preferred angle and pressure. Now I’m a convert. A missionary, actually, since I felt the need to carry the good news to a friend over lunch yesterday:

“Dude, have you gotten into the butt hose?”

“The what?”

“You know, that hose you see in all the bathrooms?”

“Yeah, what’s up with that?”

[Insert semi-graphic demo and staring eyes from the neighboring tables.]

It’s really taken my dump-taking to a new level. But, because I’m so fucking international and can’t be confined to any one culture, I’ve taken to doubling up—using both the butt hose, then toilet paper to dry. It’s like a mini-shower for my nethers. And considering how much you sweat here, any extra freshening is a welcome affair.

So hello there, new friend. You’re looking fresh today. What’s that you say? Well, don’t mind if I do…


Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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