Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Bathroom

There's a little known fact that you really don't know a country until you've used their bathrooms. Well, apparently I didn't know France because I wasn't prepared for their bathrooms!

Interestingly enough, the bathroom in a hotel or office is a very private affair. In the office where I am working, the stall has a door. Actually, it’s not a stall because it’s a very small room with a toilet in it. And, not a typical American stall door, where I can peak at shoes and see who’s sitting next to me, but a full door with handle and real lock! It’s like you’re pooping in a closet. Honestly, it’s nice having my own private playground when I’m pooping. For some reason not hearing the grunts and giggles of fellow stall mates is a pleasant change.

The public bathrooms, on the other hand, weren’t quite as nice. To start, restaurants don't have bathrooms. Well, the deluxe, high class ritzy restaurants do, but ordinary ones do not. The lack of bathrooms actually presents an interesting problem. In America, if you're in public and need to go, you skip into Subway, or McDonalds or any other restaurant and use their bathroom. You might even pretend to buy something. But, since the restaurants don't have bathrooms, there are public restrooms all over the place.

The public restroom in Switzerland was a wall. HOLD ON, let me clarify. There was a room (4 walls and ceiling), and a drain, and you got to pee on one of the walls. Oddly enough, that was kinda fun in an “oohhhh I’m peeing on a wall” sorta way.

The public restrooms in France were normal bathrooms with toilets. Again, it was a closet with a regular door, but, there wasn’t any toilet paper or toilet set. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of toilet paper because most American public bathrooms don’t have toilet paper. Pooping while squatting isn’t nearly as easy as you would think. It actually gives your thigh muscles quite the workout.

Although, nothing identifies you as an American faster than having to crack the door open and shout, “Honey? Honey? Do you have any Kleenex?” Pause, “Can you bring some?”

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