What would you do if you walked into the toilet and the bowl was sucked into the floor, so that the seat was level with the ground? All over Asia, you will find floor toilets (or if you prefer the squatty potty). Because they flush and are made of porcelain, they are not the expected third-world-country, hole-in-the-ground-toilets, even though they are just holes in the ground.
For the gender that stands for most excretory functions, these floor toilets pose no challenge, but for the female population, there are some questions that need answering.
“Which way do I face? How do I do it? Do I have to take my shorts off completely?” Marissa asked me after she entered a bathroom and immediately walked out slack-jawed.
I coached her through the steps having had multiple experiences using toilet-less toilets in the woods and deserts. So Marissa charged the bathroom once more. A few moments later came out smiling.
“It wasn’t as hard as I thought,” she said after enjoying her first floor toilet experience.
(I was very proud of her.)
After her success at using the Asian hole-in-the-ground-toilet, Marissa felt obligated to share some advice with the female Somewhere Or Bust contingency.
Marissa’s tips and strategies for using a floor toilet in Asia
“I took my belt off and put it in my pocket, then I squatted. There was a railing, which made things a little easier. You have to make sure your feet are wide enough or else you might pee on your feet.”
After the urination reflection, we walked out into the parking lot and saw a Chinese gardener doing her work from a squat pose. (If you work where I work–Flushing, New York, an apropos city name for this post–you’ll notice many of the Chinese take to this pose while waiting for the bus or reading the newspaper.) Marissa and I didn’t complete a peer-reviewed case study, but it seems like the Asian population might know a bit more about using this variety of toilet. In other words, it might be best to skip Marissa’s advice for using the floor toilet. Maybe it’s best to attempt that aforementioned waiting/reading approach the next time you’re confronted with a porcelain hole in the ground.
Photo by Mom and Pop Art