Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gossip Corner

I find Facebook to be very educational sometimes. Social networking with others is a great way to learn about the world. I jokingly posted a question yesterday about toilet paper and the thread got very long and interesting.

As it turns out, there really are many places in the world who do not have modern (Western) Toilets and they don't have soap or paper to clean themselves. In China and India, for example, most people squat over a hole, and only use water to clean themselves-  they have no soap. They consider the 'left' hand they use to wipe themselves with to be, 'unclean' or 'dirty' and consequently use their oposite, or right hand to eat meals and touch others, shake hands if necessary. I used Wikipedia to research toilet paper and was surprised to find that in ancient times people used anything and everything, post dump.

Elsewhere, wealthy people wiped themselves with wool, lace or hemp, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize, ferns, may apple plant husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and corncobs, depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. In Ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was commonly used, and, after usage, placed back in a bucket of saltwater. Several talmudic sources indicating ancient Jewish practice refer to the use of small pebbles, often carried on one's person in a special bag, and also to the use of dry grass and of the smooth edges of broken pottery jugs.
I bet that hurts.

I found that often, the 'dipping stick' with sponge attached was used repeatedly by many users, and only stored in a water tank. No other cleaning agent was used. That seems rather filthy to me. Although, I might be a bit of a princess.

I wondered what a person who never saw a western toilet would think about it. According to what I read, they believe toilet paper is dirty, and only smears. After thinking carefully about people who only use water to clean themselves, because they have no soap or paper, I have decided it's not so bad, afterall.
Is it?

I am kind of hooked on soap myself, but might be able to get used to life with out it... except it seems greasy.

I might start looking at people from other countries a bit more closely now. Perhaps not. I might keep my arms folded tightly against my chest perhaps, when I meet them for the first time. I'm fine with it, really -just as long as they don't touch me or one of my pretty sweaters.

Oh, and I think people who only use water and their hands, should have to wear a sign.

Don't you?


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