Here's an interesting video about toilet paper I just came across (17 minutes @ regular speed, language warning). It begins with the extreme statement that the average American uses 141 rolls of toilet paper a year. You may recognize that as a useless, inflammatory statistic. First of all, I question any statement that tries to give itself credibility by being more precise than justified. To say 141 conveys no more information than "around 140" but looks more scientific because of the extra significant digit. But I'm quibbling. The real issue is that toilet paper rolls come in a variety of sizes, so that number could easily be off by a factor of three, even if you only count household use; office and public bathrooms often use industrial-sized rolls. So all this number really means is that Americans use a lot of toilet paper.

This makes me suspect the other numbers in the video as well. So why am I posting it? Well, the history of toilet paper, and toilet paper alternatives, is interesting. Though come to think of it, I quarrel with some of that, too. The idea that excrement is "gross" was not the invention of clever marketers, as any reader of the Old Testament will attest.

Still, it got me rethinking the idea of a bidet, one of the ones that attaches right to your existing toilet. Actually, I've been envying the Japanese their fancy toilets since we visited there in 2006, but that's both more money and more work than I'm in the mood for. But I always thought of a bidet as a luxury item for occasional use; it never occurred to me that it could replace toilet paper. (Think how handy that would have been in 2020.) And I'd never heard of "bidet towels," which make a lot of sense. I mean, you don't save toilet paper if you use it to dry off afterwards. Then again, Japanese toilets do the drying for you, too: wash, flush, and blow dry.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, November 20, 2023 at 8:33 am | Edit
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After a recent trip to Japan I finally bought a fancy bidet. I love it! Now I try to avoid using those disgusting "normal" toilets. I still use a little bit of TP to dry off though, since the air dry is only semi-effective.



Posted by Peter V on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at 12:59 pm

We bought extra cloth baby wipes during COVID for the lighter kind of wiping, and we still use them now. In addition to what we originally got them for, they are good for drying off after a bidet rinse. I love my bidet, especially the heated seat. Every time I sit on a cold seat somewhere I realize just how blessed I am!



Posted by joyful on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 at 8:42 pm
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