If there’s one thing that embarrasses the average English man (I can’t speak for English women) it’s going for a crap . . . Why are you laughing? This is already difficult enough!
I’ve just finished reading about the glories of the bidet on a blog I follow mozzarellamamma.com and it got me reflecting on how things used to be, faecal-wise, when J and I first came to live in our quiet backwater – and just how much things have changed and improved.
Back then, public toilets were only to be found adjacent to a mosque. They would have an attendant who collected money for doing nothing other than maybe changing the bit of rag that passed for a hand towel once a month. These attendants were obviously recruited from sufferers of Anosmia – and it was patently more than their job was worth to splash a bit of ‘Brobat’ about now and again. My experiences of these places was fairly limited as I generally preferred the option of dying from some toxicosis or other brought on by bouts of severe anal retention.
They were uniformly grim!
‘Western’ loos had begun to replace the ubiquitous squat types offering customers a choice. Outside of the Turkish middle classes and the newly arriving foreign expats, adaption to change was slow – when you’ve grown up squatting – feet firmly planted on the floor, learning to perch on the rim of one of these new-fangled jobs could be a precarious experience.
Overcoming the problem of washing ones arse when there’s a wc pedestal in the way was neatly solved by the addition of a cold water tap attached to a little bit of bent, battered and verdigris-covered pipe that protruded out from under the back of the seat. This solution was pretty damn good, apart for one thing – the pipes wasn’t fixed and unless you were careful and planned ahead you could well end up with a great jet of water gushing into your trousers which were bundled around your ankles.
About eight or nine years ago, the belediye in the town of Köyceğiz near Dalyan, had a new public toilet block constructed. What a wonder it was; a thing of great beauty and elegance! With potted palms, polished marbled floors, expensive and tasteful ceramics, air fresheners, real as well as plastic floral displays, roller towels and hand dryers, soft lighting and softer toilet paper, smiling attendants who offered cologne and even Muzak!
What a fabulous place. J and I were so taken with it that we used to take our family and friends, on my boat, to the town for the sole purpose of letting them use the best public toilets in the world (at the time). Some of them were even kind enough to say that it was the highlight of their trip!
Today, Turkey has come a long way in so many different spheres – not least as a world leader in the design and manufacture of sanitary ware (that is the correct term) and associated accessories (taps, plugs and toilet roll holders). I dream of the day when every public tuvalet looks like a page torn from an ArtemA catalogue – before you use it to wipe away the verdigris!
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
‘Toilet Time Travel’