Monday, 29 October 2018

PUBLIC RESTROOMS NEED TO CHANGE

Image: Sarcasm
I am constantly baffled when I use restrooms in public spaces that have only tissue paper. 

But let me backtrack a bit.

Growing up, I was taught to clean myself with water any time I peed or pooped and this was followed by a strict rule to wash my hands afterwards. This was common practice for my family and many families that I knew. So if I went to the toilet 20 times on any given day, I would clean myself with water 20 times.

As we got older, the concept of cleaning ourselves with tissue paper began to be mainstream but again, we were taught to use the tissue paper to dab ourselves after we had washed with water.

It wasn’t until I got to the university that I saw people use tissue papers as their primary cleaning option. I was shocked. So many questions ran through my head; how did they do that? Were they truly clean? And if not, were they comfortable walking around with traces of pee or poop on them? And then finally, I wondered if their nether regions smelled?

There is a flip side though.

The way I was looking at these people like they had alien parts sprouting out of their heads was the same way they were looking at me. I got asked some questions that expressed their shock at my choice.

“Do you use your hands when you wipe down with water?”

“Which hand do you use? And do you eat with that hand?”

“How can you stand touching your feces?”

“Isn’t it disgusting?”

And they really were disgusted!

So it made me wonder; was their option so ‘wrong’? Well…there are times that I have no option than to use a tissue paper. It has always felt weird. And worse, I have always had to deal with an itch every single time I have used this option. It may be psychological (or not) but that has always happened. As a result, if I have to poop when there is no water, I would rather hold it until I can find a toilet with a bucket or a water shower that I can use to wash. If however I have diarrhea and just have to go, I always feel bad afterwards. I use so much tissue that you have to wonder whether I am trying to clean the oil spillage in the Niger Delta. Even at that, I never feel clean.

I am not the only one on this boat. In fact, I have heard of people who take off their clothes every time they poop and have full baths afterwards because they don’t want any remnant of feces on their bodies.  The thought of carrying even the smallest remnant of feces on our bodies is why we have decided that the tissue option is not for us.

Back to my opening statement.

It is surprising that many hotels, restaurants, clubs, schools, offices and other public places do not have toilets that cater to people like me. So if we have to use the restrooms in these places, we have to wonder whether we can risk holding it in (which is totally unhealthy) or risk getting itches that may (or may not) be the start of an infection.

This is why I think that ALL public places should have both options for people who use their facilities. Ensure that you have running water as well as an abundance of tissue papers. If you cannot provide a detachable toilet tap (or a bidet as it is called) in your toilet, then get a bucket and bowl in there. Or a small kettle. First, it ensures all your customers are satisfied and second, you wouldn’t have to deal with the possibility of having urine/feces on the seat, the door and every other place a person might touch if they do not wash their hands afterwards.  

And if are like me and don’t know what options you may have when you want to use public toilets, do yourself a favor and go in there with a small bottle that would suffice. We can’t allow ourselves suffer in a clear case of Mohammed refusing to go to the mountain.

Here 👇 is what I think an ideal toilet in a public place should look like. What do you think?

An ideal restroom with options for cleaning one's self.
Image: Becoming Peculiar

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