I lived for many years in countries where wiping after defecating is done very differently than in the USA. In India, like many countries, we stooped and pooped. Then after relieving ourselves, we’d clean our soiled anus with water using our left hand. We’d take some water from a nearby faucet or little pot and splash it on our anus several times and then wipe both our anus until clean and next, wash our hands they too were beautifully clean. No toilet paper needed or wasted.
As some of you may know, Indians often eat with their hands. But worry not, only the left hand was used for this wiping — the Indian custom is that the right hand is reserved for eating food.
To illustrate these stooping methods, I found some instructions for both an Indian toilet and a Japanese toilet teaching foreigners how to use their toilets. I could not find illustrations of the wiping technique.
Inevitably, when my American acquaintances hear of the Indian butt wiping style they are disgusted to think about touching poop directly with their hands. They make fun of this primitive custom. In reaction to their parochial disgust, I often rant as follows:
Oh, I see, instead I guess it is far more civilized to take a piece of paper and smear the poop into your butt crack. You Americans just keep taking swipes and then checking your tissue each time until you decide, “there, that is clean enough”, and seal the deal by pulling up your pants to allowing the remaining bits to evolve into butt hair dingle berries and to scent your office space all day long. Yuck ! Meanwhile, you let the precious remnants ferment until you eventually do the real cleaning in the shower or not.
Here are some photo-shopped pics of toilet paper with various degrees of wiping. At what stage do you stop wiping?
Do you find this conversation disgusting? Of course you do. The human mind has a taboo area for disgusting and taboo subjects. The interesting thing is that religion items get stuffed in this part of mind too. I have seen this mental clumping together of scatology and soteriology when I have visited the mentally ill in several countries. For when psychosis strikes, out comes both poop-talk and religious-talk !
So, is the Indian method of wiping really all that disgusting once someone points out how actually disgusting your unquestioned method can also be? Actually, unless you have wiped your butt Indian style for a year or so with others who do the same, it would be hard for you to think objectively about my question. Parochialism is amplified by the taboo part of the brain. Alas, how difficult it is for us to really understand each other.