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View Full Version : Wiping your bottom the Indian way or the European way?


quicken78
02-12-2004, 08:53 AM
Okay. I live in India. I have only just discovered that Indians rarely use loo paper, preferring to use either a bucket of water or a 'spraying device' that is connected to the mains.

This is absolutely shocking to me but my Indian friends are convinced that it is much 'cleaner' to use water than to use paper. Is this actually true? Aside from being perplexed by the actual dynamics of the operation, how can you be sure that you have completely removed all remnants of your [input appropriate euphemism]? I understand how bidets may be 'cleaner' than paper but they do not require you to touch yourself. Furthermore, why has paper evolved as the modus operandi in 'developed countries' if it is so much less hygenic than paper?

The other thing that Indians constantly insist on is that it is 'better for you' to sleep on hard beds (ie no springs, thin matress). Is there any evidence to suggest that this is true? Personally, I very much miss my tempur-pedic mattress and I am just wondering whether I have some unseen benefits from sleeping on what feels like concrete.

notquitekarpov
02-12-2004, 09:03 AM
Not just Indians, most Arabs and Persians and lots of Asia too. So, extending the scope of the question although I cannot help with an answer.

I have had to "go arabic" in the past (when working in Syria - until I learned to carry some paper with me!) and never managed to do it properly without getting soaked/getting wet feet in the process.

Is there a training course?

Philster
02-12-2004, 09:07 AM
The craze that is sweeping this nation (USA) is to use wipes, which are premoistened with a cleaner, and are thicker that traditional paper products.

Well, craze is an overstatement, but many here think that dry wiping isn't as effective. If I had to wager, I'd say dry wiping with 'loo paper'...or 'toilet paper', is the least hygenic approach.

jjimm
02-12-2004, 09:12 AM
I don't know the science or the history, but surely water must be cleaner - for your arse.

Not sure about the hygiene of having had your left hand touching poo - perhaps this might transmit disease. Then again, you only ever use the left hand, which you wash thoroughly with soap afterwards, and by habit don't use the left hand to touch people or food or anything.

Having travelled in South-east Asia, I am personally a convert to this method.

Early Out
02-12-2004, 09:46 AM
OK, I've asked this question in several "bottom-wiping" threads, and I've never gotten an answer. If you use the "spray with water" or "clean with water from a bucket next to the toilet" method, how do you dry off your butt before pulling your pants up again?! I have never seen a towel or roll of paper towels in one of these "clean yourself with water" facilities.

Zcrysis
02-12-2004, 11:35 AM
OK, I've asked this question in several "bottom-wiping" threads, and I've never gotten an answer. If you use the "spray with water" or "clean with water from a bucket next to the toilet" method, how do you dry off your butt before pulling your pants up again?! I have never seen a towel or roll of paper towels in one of these "clean yourself with water" facilities.

From my personal general experience you dont. But if youve done a good job of it, all you have on your ass is water anyway, and that will dry up anyway. I mean how much do you worry when you spill water on your t-shirt?

notquitekarpov from talking to a few westerners i know who have lived in India they have found it useful to figure out the balancing out and to understand the weight shifts before actually getting any water involved in the proces. I guess this would be a classic YMMV though.

noname
02-12-2004, 11:58 AM
If water is good enough for the rest of your body, it should be good enough for your arse, plain and simple :). Also, we believe that water washes everything away if spread properly, but paper only wipes in a straight line. The hands can be cleaned later by a strong soap, or sand (if you can afford a soap). hope this helps :eek:

About beds, yes, it is believed that sleeping on hard beds is good for your health. soft beds ressult in paunches, which sleeping on hard beds doesnt. another belief is that a soft bed always develops a cavity near the center, which is not good for your spine. a hard bed will always be flat, and so is good for the spine as well. I prefer a hard bed to a soft one myself.

The Griffin
02-12-2004, 12:04 PM
They must all walk about with wet patches on the butt of their jeans. I guess it would dry quickly in the heat...

You're not going to clean it completely with plain water though, you'dneed soap too. I'd imagine it could get messing if you had a dodgy curry...

overlyverbose
02-12-2004, 12:46 PM
My fiance's from India - we've had this discussion a couple of times because we'll probably visit his family there once we're married in April. While they do have toilet paper, some of his family use their hands and he wanted to tell me what "the cup" was for on the back of the toilet. He said that he prefers toilet paper because he doesn't have to touch himself. His family generally use a cup of warm soapy water for the "initial" wipe-down, then rinse with clean water until all residue is gone. He said that his family are compulsive hand-washers. Also, because the left-hand is the hand you're supposed to use when wiping your ass, you shouldn't shake hands with that hand. You're literally giving them the shit hand, and it's a grave insult. Likewise for eating - it's considered extremely disgusting to eat with your left hand.

Although I have wondered how his family rationalize using both hands to cook. I realize it would be extremely impractical to use just one hand, but it makes me wonder anyway....

noname
02-12-2004, 01:19 PM
They must all walk about with wet patches on the butt of their jeans. I guess it would dry quickly in the heat...


There would be the layer of undie cloth between the jeans and the butt that would soak the jeans. and additionally, there would also be the layer of the shirt that was tucked in, so the jeans would be completely dry. its not that we deluge uor butts with water, just a cup/small bucket full. TMI, but hope that helped.


You're not going to clean it completely with plain water though, you'dneed soap too. I'd imagine it could get messing if you had a dodgy curry...

Water was enough before soap came along, and it is enough now. And we are quite used to the curry. OTOH, you would need a very strong soap if you travelled to India.


Although I have wondered how his family rationalize using both hands to cook

Quite simple, rinse the veggies in water before cooking them, and don't dip your hand into the boiling curry. :)

gotpasswords
02-12-2004, 03:37 PM
I've heard of the "left hand = poop scoop and right hand = shake hands and eat with" idea before, but have always wondered what left-handed people do in such a culture?

As it seems to be a deeply ingrained cultural thing, are lefties figured out early on and staked out on the nearest mountain to be left as a sacrifice so there's no danger to society caused by someone who scoops with the right and eats with the left?

Less facetiously, suppose a left-handed person were traveling there. How would they be regarded when they pick up a piece of food or a fork with their normal hand to eat it?

Acsenray
02-12-2004, 04:10 PM
but have always wondered what left-handed people do in such a culture?

As it seems to be a deeply ingrained cultural thing, are lefties figured out early on and staked out on the nearest mountain to be left as a sacrifice so there's no danger to society caused by someone who scoops with the right and eats with the left?

Obviously not. Traditionally, children are just not permitted to be left-handed. From infancy, they are severely discouraged from eating with their left hands or handing someone something with the left hand. These days, in India anyway, things are getting a bit looser and more lefties are allowed to go natural. Still, no one shakes with his left hand.

Less facetiously, suppose a left-handed person were traveling there. How would they be regarded when they pick up a piece of food or a fork with their normal hand to eat it?

I doubt there would be too much problem regarding picking up a fork with the left hand. After all, in India, if you're in a situation in which there is a fork at all, that means you're in a fairly cosmopolitan atmosphere.

If you pick up food with your bare left hand, your companions are going to be disgusted, but they probably won't say anything.

As it is there are strict taboos regarding the cleanliness of food. Indians never share food. To touch food that has been on someone else's plate is considered extremely disgusting.

Larry Mudd
02-12-2004, 04:50 PM
Is it cleaner?

Imagine that you've somehow managed to get a bit of poop on, say, your face. Would you be content to rub it off with a bit of dry tissue?

No?

What's the difference?

Carnac the Magnificent!
02-12-2004, 07:52 PM
Water was enough before soap came along, and it is enough now. And we are quite used to the curry. OTOH, you would need a very strong soap if you travelled to India.

Before soap came along, diseases like hepatitis (and worse) were pandemic, killing untold millions. These diseases still persist in the Third World, even in the era of soap and water. Their transmission is certainly aided in the absence of thorough hand washing.

I might add: Even with soap, I doubt the vast majority of Asian hand wipers regularly (and vigorously) wash their hands for the required 30-60 seconds, thus negating any theoretical advantage of this technique. (Lord knows most Westerners (and physicians) don't wash their hands well enough.)

Hyperelastic
02-12-2004, 07:58 PM
Is it cleaner?

Imagine that you've somehow managed to get a bit of poop on, say, your face. Would you be content to rub it off with a bit of dry tissue?

No?

What's the difference?

One difference is that poop residue on your face would be very near your nose and mouth, whereas your bunghole is at least a couple of feet away (and around the corner).

kushiel
02-12-2004, 08:30 PM
Maybe I'm just gibbled, but I'm right-handed and wipe with the same hand. I've never heard of this seemingly universal 'right-handed people wipe with the left hand' rule. Then again, I don't exactly talk about it with most people.

Baldwin
02-12-2004, 09:38 PM
I just use the three seashells.

Madness2MyMethod
02-12-2004, 11:09 PM
I just use the three seashells.

"hahah he doesn't know how to use the three seashells!!" - taken from Demolition Man :)

galt
02-12-2004, 11:59 PM
I'm still a little confused about the actual mechanics of washing yourself off with water. If I were to attempt that, the, uh, soiled water and various soily bits would just run down my legs and get all over my pants. Are you expected to completely remove your pants?

Before I go to bed, I'm gonna try going into the bathroom and splashing water all over my ass to see if I can do it without it getting all over my pants.

Brutus
02-13-2004, 02:02 AM
Poop was never meant to be touched by mortal hands.

Toilet paper: Good. Readily available in parts of the world that I will frequent, and keeps my hands from smelling any worse than they do.

Bidet: Better, used in conjunction with the TP method as a sort of 'final cleaning'.

Using your hand: No. Especially not after Taco night. Not even your left hand. Not even your neighbors left hand.

Glory
02-13-2004, 02:39 AM
As it is there are strict taboos regarding the cleanliness of food. Indians never share food. To touch food that has been on someone else's plate is considered extremely disgusting.

That's interesting. I've been to New Delhi twice and on my last visit I spent 4 weeks. I was training some call center reps and we ate together everyday in the company cantine. A lot of the female agents would order one large plate and share it between two individuals. All of the students were very curious about how I liked Indian food and often bites off food off their plates or out of the little metal tins they brought from home (delicious lunches prepared by their moms!).

I found dining experience to be extremely communal. I'm a right hander and no one seemed to mind which hand I ate with. I didn't feel like faking it with my left hand. Since I am right handed, I use the right hand in the bathroom and I felt it would be disingenious to act like I was using the correct hand for the correct task while carrying on like normal in the bathroom.

Thaumaturge
02-13-2004, 02:46 AM
From my experience in visiting restrooms in the middle east, spraying your arse with water is a hidious and thoroughly disgusting practice. A few times I have opened a stall door only to be greeted by the sight of excrement sprayed everywhere- on the walls, floor, and of course all over the toilet. I don't even want to imagine how that happened, but I know that you can't accidentally do that with toilet paper. ( Nor have I ever seen some thing so hideous in the countries that use TP anyway).

Another point, not only do these people wash their arses with their left hands, they wash other things as well. One time I was sitting in a chow hall in Kuwait watching the kitchen guy cleaning the refridgerator with his hand and a spray bottle. His left hand! I suddenly remembered the practice in that part of the world of personal hygeine and lost my appetite. :eek: I highly doubt he thoroughly washes his hands perfectly every single time.

We need a 'going to hurl' emote.

Brown Jenkin
02-13-2004, 02:55 AM
Four years in Indonesia and two in Vietnam and this whitey never even dreamed of using the hand. jjimm, I admire you and all farang/bule/honkeys who can bring themselves to go down that path.

I did like the hose & nozzle, though. Bung-blasters, we called them.

jjimm
02-13-2004, 06:09 AM
I'm a right hander and no one seemed to mind which hand I ate with. Perhaps an Indian doper could confirm this, but from my experience of being in India, I'd say their true reaction if you used your left hand, would be "shock and disgust but too polite to say anything".

noname
02-13-2004, 12:47 PM
Before soap came along, diseases like hepatitis (and worse) were pandemic, killing untold millions....Their transmission is certainly aided in the absence of thorough hand washing.


Have a look at the q i answered. The washing in q was about butts, not hands.


I might add: Even with soap, I doubt the vast majority of Asian hand wipers regularly (and vigorously) wash their hands for the required 30-60 seconds, thus negating any theoretical advantage of this technique.

In fact, our washing rituals last about a minute or more. And that involves vigourously scrubbing your hands (both) thoroughly, every inch of it. I have been doing it since childhood, but I never had hepatitis or any other disease.


Perhaps an Indian doper could confirm this, but from my experience of being in India, I'd say their true reaction if you used your left hand, would be "shock and disgust but too polite to say anything".
I am a left handed Indian, and the reactions that i get are usually amusement(from the urban people) and shock (from rural folks). Nobody is disgusted anymore.

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