Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Got to Get to the Bottom of This! (No Pun Intended)

So, I have been pleasantly surprised by the variety of choices Taiwan offers us women in the bathroom. In China, I had two choices: disgusting squatter with a door, and disgusting squatter with no door. Here I can actually use a real toilet, or I can choose a squatter. I nearly cried with happiness when I went to the bathroom at our subway stop and realized that I could use a real toilet (incidentally, the other time I nearly cried for joy was when I learned that there was a Dunkin Donuts just two subway stops north of us--booyah!) But back to the toilet/squatter issue.... This, of course, begs the question: who in their right mind would CHOOSE a squatter over a toilet? Maybe it's just cultural. Like how people here prefer to eat donuts filled with red beans instead of blueberries--oh, heavenly blueberry-filled donuts--or who think rotten raw pork is a delicacy. I've heard the pro-squatter cleanliness argument, but I'm not buying.

So I have noticed in my deliberate and euphoric use of public toilets here that every time I enter the stall, the toilet seat is mysteriously placed in its upright position. I haven't fallen in yet, but it's only a matter of time! How could this be? The whole "who left the toilet seat up?" gag is usually only a problem if you live with a man. I have never encountered this issue in a public women's bathroom. What woman raises the seat? But there's more to the mystery: Not only are the seats always up--even if I go in RIGHT after someone else comes out--but there is also often quite a bit of liquid on the seat. Sorry to say liquid, but I have not yet ascertained the exact nature of this liquid, nor do have the desire to investigate it further. So...does this mean what I think it does? Are women really lifting the seat, standing on the rim of the toilet, squatting down, and...you know? Or is this another cultural thing? Like it's the polite thing to do to raise the toilet seat when you are finished going to the bathroom? I am so confused and, frankly, deeply disturbed by the possibility that women here would perform such acrobatics on a toilet. Another disturbing thought: what I know to be the best and most correct and right way is actually the OPPOSITE of what the majority of people in Taiwan know to be the best and most correct and right way. So, who is right?!! I mean, instinct tells me that I am right. But millions of raised toilet seats can't be wrong...


  1. The hubby's family typically won't comment on bath room humor. But I am not typical... Those Tiawan women have been brought up right. They put the seat up so that if a man was to ever use a toilet in the women's rest room the toilet would be properly configured.

    I have heard tell that Asian folks will stand on the rim or seat of a perfectly good toilet and use it like a squatter.

    Maybe you should start suveying people. I won't even suggest a quick peek. It would be rather a funny picture for the preggers American to be jumping up and down to see over the stall wall to confirm her suspicions!

    I believe toilets in homes should be left with the lid down after use. Why would they have a lid if it wasn't supposed to be closed? If everyone closes the lid then the next user male or female has to open it... Then the age long fight is null. Foreign travels create some interesting mysteries. DMP

  2. I really like DMP's take on the toilet lid. Very fair. Also, ew about the toilets. At least you are pregnant so that desperation for a toilet can sometimes eclipse the cleanliness issues--at least that's how I felt!

  3. Don't worry everyone. Carly just has the character for woman "女" and the one for man "男" mixed up. She has been using the wrong bathroom for the last month.


  4. I think they pee standing up.

  5. maybe you just so happen to always use the bathroom after an asian transvestite?