The Trials and Tribulations of Toileting

Is toileting an appropriate topic to blog about?  Well maybe not, but it is something all animals have in common, in that we all do it. The differences come when you consider how and where we do it as well as how taboo the subject is in different cultures. I’ll stick with humans (although it amazes me that there is far less dog business in the streets of Dhaka than any city in Britain, despite the vast numbers of stray dogs ….. but that’s another story).

Having grown up in a comfortable, western culture I have generally taken toilet facilities for granted, knowing there is something clean, relatively comfortable to sit on, and you can even get very long, very strong toilet paper with aloe vera to finish your experience in a comfortable and soothing manner.
Anyone who knows me (Louise) reasonably well, knows that I am rather phobic about toilets, and can be very particular where I will go when I am not in my own home!  Laughable really considering what the majority of people in Bangladesh have to use.
Now I don’t want to go into the ins and outs of toileting as we all know the process, but next time you go consider the difficulties so many people in the world face when they don’t have something porcelain to use, or any other types of sanitary ware.  And for goodness sake help me to be grateful for what I have!
Many eastern toilets are of the squat variety, but thankfully many properly constructed buildings have ‘real’ ones, especially in places where foreigners frequent.  I have a great ability to ‘hold on’ until I am in the vicinity of a decent loo (long may that last!), but there is the odd occasion I have take a deep breath and go for it – especially with the climate and the necessary fluid intake to survive.  One such regular time is during my working day.  Now don’t get me wrong, the staff toilet is perfectly fine (for most people – or those without a phobia), and is kept very clean.  HOWEVER due to differences in cleaning oneself afterwards, it does cause a few issues.  The Bengali method includes the use of a bucket of water, a jug and sometimes a hose. This invariably leaves wet patches on the floor around the toilet.
Now I have set the scene imagine this (or actually you would probably rather not).  You are appropriately dressed for the culture you live in – a long, at least knee-length top, full-length trousers which are usually most comfortable quite loose because of the heat, and an orna (scarf) worn to cover and shapes that may not be modestly hidden by your top (thank goodness I don’t wear a sari too often …).  In order to go into the toilet cubicle avoiding wet trousers the following procedures need to be followed:
1)  remove orna and find somewhere ‘safe’ to hang it (to avoid dipping)
2)  roll up trousers as far as possible
3)  hoist top up high enough to be out of the line of fire
4)  pull trousers and underwear down to a safe level
5)  back into the narrow cubicle
6)  place yourself on the toilet and complete the job in hand
7)  clean yourself
8)  shuffle out of cubicle into enough space to re-dress
Add a broken wrist into the equation, and it would make a great comedy sketch!

And we are the lucky ones ….