Tuesday, July 24, 2007


As I have previously stated in the last blog, I really enjoy spending time in the bathroom. Being a mother of a rambunctious 2 year old, and a very needy, clingy husband, sometimes bathroom time is the only real private time I have.

I really enjoy the atmosphere in a bathroom. Mine, at home, is pretty messy, I'll admit. My kitten thinks it's fun to kick his litter onto the floor and spread it out all over my throw rugs. I also habitually forget to take out the trash in there, but that's neither here nor there. It's bigger than the bathrooms I used to frequent in Provo, but space isn't the determining factor to me regarding how I feel about a bathroom. No, as long as I can stand before the mirror and make funny faces at myself, and so long as I have plenty of room to move about whilst utilizing the can, can enjoy a good book, and I have plenty of space in my shower, I really could care less about the bathroom's appearance.

Smell is something while at home that I tend to ignore. It's going to stink once in awhile! Besides, my husband can't help the fact that his bowels rival the bog of eternal stench. I grew up with a brother who had the same issue, so I can hold my breath, breathe through my shirt, invest in some odor-reducing spray, and deal. No, smell does not determine my happiness with my personal loo.

Toilet paper is the deciding factor. T.P., otherwise called Bathroom/toilet tissue, loo paper, lavatory paper, shit tickets, mountain money, TP, toilet roll, striking paper, loo roll, bumf, bumfodder, bog roll, date roll, and arse wipe. The lovely, modern invention that serves to make our lives just a little bit better. As Hamlet stated, Aye, there's the rub.

There are so many kinds, brands, and varieties. Each boasts they can get the job done. Some boast softness, others strength, some brands even put out wet wipes! In this blog, I will discuss with you my feelings regarding the use of this modern convenience.

Growing up in America, I believe we are raised to think that T.P. grows on trees. Cavemen, way back in the day, used leaves, and now-a-days we are advanced enough to make soft, gentle paper to baby our behinds. For a little history, T.P. was invented, as says Wikipedia, in China. Growing up, specifically in the state of Vermont, the state of the true public outhouse, we know the truth. Before there was paper, there was the almighty stick.

The Shit Stick was community property- an entire family utilizing the same contraption. Its basic composition was a piece of wood long enough to scrape the poo from your brown eye. This is similar to the Bottom Wiper.

Those with limited mobility, or those with unusually short arms, such as commonly seen on people with achondroplasia, often find it helpful to wrap the toilet paper around a bottom wiper, which is a plastic instrument with a tong-like clasp at one end to accommodate the toilet paper and a long handle at the other to allow the person to reach his bottom. The person wraps the toilet paper several times around the clasp, and after wiping, can easily eject the toilet paper into the toilet without having to touch the paper. Folding bottom wipers are available, and can be easily stored or carried in a purse.

And yet, The Shit Stick is nothing more than a smooth stick with the bark removed. The bark must be removed, unless you like that kind of thing, and who does? I would not want to walk around with a piece of bark giving me rectal splinters. It was stored inside the outhouse, in a small bucket of water when one was finished scraping. A common joke among Vermonters was to store the stick, poo end up, which has led to the common phrase Getting the short end of the stick.

As you can imagine, use of the shit stick was not the most sanitary practice. Anal infections were common, but at least it's cleaner than the whole family reusing the same old rag. Using paper for wiping ones arse was not unheard of, but expensive for most people, in the day where paper was expensive to make, and often reused as much as was possible.

The more widespread use of toilet paper came into practice in the United States around the same time as The Old Farmer's Almanac, which was around 1792. It even came with a hole in the book, so as to hang on a hook. People would read about what was going on in the world of farming, and then wipe up. The availability of newspaper also made it easier to have a clean bottom.

Enough on the history of toilet paper. If you really care, you'll read the whole Wikipedia article. Anywho, what I was getting to is that there are many different kinds of toilet paper. This has sparked some serious sociological, as well as amazing anthropological debate, with many questions such as what kind of t.p. do you use?

I was raised on Scotts. It's rough, tough, and still 1000 sheets per roll. Give me the old-fashioned anal pleasure of Scotts regular toilet paper. It lasts forever. It's durable. It's relatively absorbent. It's very cheap. I may gallivant around with the sophisticated swagger of The Modern Girl, but I am an old fashioned girl at heart. Scotts toilet paper is second to none, excepting sandpaper, of course, which would be great, too.

I have tried the soft stuff. It just doesn't cut it! I can't stand that fruity quilted crap... it doesn't get it clean at all, and leaves lint in my buttcrack. How can you call yourself clean when you're walking around with bits of T.P. stuck to those weirdly wiry bum-hairs?

The price is a strong factor in my decision to choose specific brands of T.P. Why would I pay $8-$12 a pack, for some "soft" toilet paper? It is a rip off in and of itself because the softer and thicker the paper, the less of it there really is on the roll. And don't fall for those "extender" kits that Charmin advertises... there is LESS on that roll than on a roll of Scotts, and more empty space between each go-round because of the texture. Also, keep in mind that the bulkier the paper, the harder it is to store in your home until needed.

Choosing your toilet paper also depends on your personal bowel functions for any given day. I will never know in advance if I come down with a case of Montezuma's revenge! I never know the shape, size, color, or consistancy on any given day. I'm not a Shit Psychic. I've found, for the predictable as well as the surprise, the hard, lightly-waxed, un-marked, plain old white stuff functions just fine.

One thing people tend to put out of mind, regarding ones choice of T.P. is the impact of the use of said roll on ones plumbing. My sister once remarked to me about these terrors, stating that the plumbing at our Aunt's house was such that she could use a very small amount of the crappy, soft T.P. before stopping up the potty. There, of course, can be exceptions to that. My brother once related to me the personal satisfaction he gained from flushing our grandparents' toilet, which was like a rocket no matter how much arse wipe one used to get the job done.

Then again, you could be in the backwoods of redneckville somewhere, and your concern could be the environmental impact of the decision as to what kind of loo roll to use for your ablutions. Does it dissolve? Is it septic-tank, RV, or outhouse friendly? These are all questions you should ask yourself if you care about that sort of thing. Along the same lines, bum fodder made of virgin tree pulp is worse for the environment. Has anyone tried the recycled kind? If it's rough-textured, I may well invest in some. The only mental image I can conjure is of wiping my arse with an egg carton.

In summary, when it comes to what kind of toilet paper I choose, it comes down to style, price, and value. I would rather save a little money on the paper, and instead, use those extra pennies to buy some better reading material. I made the mistake of leaving a 1-800-FLOWERS catalog in there one day, and my husband used the page of rose arrangements to clog the can. Nothing says "I love you" more than plunging the hole clear of someone else's toilet blunder.

Nothing could be more humiliating or distressing than being stranded, alone in a public bathroom, having to use the empty cardboard roller to scrape your bum clean. It's too close an approximation of The Shit Stick for me. The following has become my personal mantra: Make sure you check the roll before doing your business.