The New York Times has published an Op-Ed which shames people into the 'correct' way to clean up after dropping a steamer - arguing that amid an absurd toilet paper shortage due to coronavirus, people should simply ditch trees and begin using bidets to strip-mine their crevices.
Panic buying of toilet paper has spread around the globe as rapidly as the virus, even though there have been no disruptions in supply and the symptoms of Covid-19 are primarily respiratory, not gastrointestinal. In many stores, you can still readily find food, but nothing to wipe yourself once it’s fully digested.
This is all the more puzzling when you consider that toilet paper is an antiquated technology that infectious disease and colorectal specialists say is neither efficient nor hygienic. Indeed, it dates back at least as far as the sixth century, when a Chinese scholar wrote that he “dared not” use paper from certain classical texts for “toilet purposes.” -NYT
The author, Kate Murphy, educates us on the history of ass-wiping, writing that before TP was readily available for our bungholes, "people used leaves, seashells, fur pelts and corn cobs," and that "The ancient Greeks and Romans used small ceramic disks and also sponges on the ends of sticks, which were then plunged into a bucket of vinegar or salt water for the next person to use."
This is all according to forensic anthropologist and historical pooping expert Philippe Charlier, who wrote a 2012 book - "Toilet Hygine in the Classical Era."
"It's not sexy," said Charlier. "but when you study poo from 2000 B.C. you can get a lot of information about alimentation, digestion, health, genetics and migration of populations."
Modern, perforated toilet paper was invented by Seth Wheeler in 1891 according to a patent he took out on the concept.
Then we have the invention of the wet wipe - which any modern parent knows is far superior to toilet paper.
...they are now marketed aggressively to adults with gender specific brands like Dude-Wipes and Queen V. Sales reached $1.1 billion worldwide last year, up 35 percent from five years ago, according to Euromonitor International. The unfortunate result is that the wipes have begun to coalesce with grease in city sewer systems to form blockages the size of airliners. -NYT
The ultimate solution? A bidet.
According to Murphy, "experts agree that rinsing yourself with water is infinitely more sanitary and environmentally sound."
According to Dr. H. Randolph Bailey, a colorectal surgeon (when he could have chosen literally any other specialty), said "A lot of people who come to see me have fairly significant irritation of their bottoms," adding "Most of the time it has to do with overzealous cleaning."
Bailey added that 'you're just never going to get as clean as rinsing with water.'
Murphy, meanwhile, shames readers by comparing the rest of the world to Japan - which has "high-tech toilets capable of cleansing users with precisely directed temperature-controlled streams of water," we've become bidet-averse.
Blame prudishness and puritanism, at least in part: Bidets, once ubiquitous in France, became associated with hedonism and licentiousness. Marie Antoinette had a red-trimmed bidet in her prison cell while awaiting the guillotine. And during World War II, American soldiers first saw bidets in French brothels, which made them think they were naughty. An often-told joke was that a wealthy American tourist in Paris assumed the bidet in her hotel room was for washing babies in, until the maid told her, “No, madame, this is to wash the babies out.”
But even in France, toilet paper has taken over. “Now, when constructing a new flat, nobody puts a bidet in it,” Dr. Charlier said. “There’s not room for it, particularly in Paris.” Although, when the bidet is incorporated in the toilet, as modern versions are, space is a nonissue. “Maybe there are also psychological reasons we do not embrace the newer technology,” he said. -NYT
So - with toilet paper flying off the shelves amid the coronavirus pandemic, is it time to start freshening up with a targeted blast of H20?