Butt wipes. Water sprays. Bidets. Lotas. And other toilet stuff.

by Ethar El-Katatney

So New York’s sewers are going bust. Because people are flushing butt wipes down the toilets.

I find this hilarious.

Toilet, ehem, etiquette, is a topic of much much discussion in the Arab world (and elsewhere, I’m sure). The fact that half the world uses toilet paper — and nothing else — to cleanse themselves is a source of much debate (“but howwwww?”), head scratching, and laughter.

We use water spray thingies.

Like shatafas


Or lotas:


And if you’re really fancy (or happen to be in Japan), Japanese wonder toilets:

Asian Toilets

(I spent 20 minutes in a bathroom in Japan once, experimenting with all the features. One Saudi Arabian program host dedicated an entire episode to discussing them).

Anyhoo, the bottom line is, we use water (somehow) to clean ourselves, and then we use toilet paper to wipe excess residue. We also rarely flush that toilet paper, since a) our sewage systems aren’t usually equipped for that, and b) the tissue is relatively clean, so not a problem to just throw it in a trash can.

So what it means is basically, we’re clean. Very clean.

But for some reason, the world (I’m looking at you, America) seems to think this is somewhat shameful/ weird/ embarrassing.

Buzzfeed put this video out recently:

Using water to be very clean. Oh, the horror!

We should do a Middle East version: “People from Arab countries use bathrooms with no water-cleanse-option for the first time.”

I imagine it would go something like this:

“What do you mean there’s no shatafa?”
“Not even the one inside the toilet seat I switch on with a knob?”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“You mean, you want me to JUST use toilet paper?”
“But howwwww?”
“Ewwwww! So gross!”
“But I went #2, that’s nasty!!!!”
“Please get me a water bottle.”

Which brings me to how we cleanse ourselves when outside of our homes:

Ask your Arab friends. Your Desi friends. And most will tell you they have a sneaky portable shatafa. A mug. A water bottle. Flower watering can. I personally liked sport water bottles.

We love our shatafas. We write poems about them:

It makes me clean and makes me strong
Without you here, what’s the point of going on?
You are what the Europeans can’t comprehend
A vital tool needed to clean up the mess in the end.

The first thing I bought when I moved to my studio in San Francisco was a shatafa from Amazon. Before I’d even bought a bed.

It pains us deeply when we can’t find our shatafas:

So America, get with it. Shatafas are the way forward.

That is all.