How do you poop? And could the way Americans wipe their asses be ready for a change

We’re about to go to France, so will once again experience the different toilet regimes.

27-toilet-paper-baby.nocrop.w536.h2147483647.2xDrake Baer writes in New York Magazine that at the turn of the 20th century, the way America pooped went through a revolution when the at-home flushing toilet became a standard part of people’s homes. But you needed a way to wipe that wouldn’t clog up plumbing like catalogues or corn cobs would. Enter the entrepreneurial brothers Clarence and Irvin Scott, who in 1890 gave the world toilet paper on a roll, wrapped individually for sale.

It was huge: Without TP, says New York University microbiologist and pathologist Philip Tierno, there’s “no standardization of hygiene.” You name it and it was used to wipe the anus. One review of toilet technology notes that lots of places use water, grass, animal fur, corn cobs, seashells, snow, or hands.

Now it appears another revolution is afoot. In the reaches of the Upper East Side, the bidet is coming in a big way. As detailed in breathless New York Times trend pieces like “The Cult of the Toto Toilet,” the next big Japanese import is looking to be a class of high-end toilet seats — the kinds with heated seats, deodorizers, and “tornado dual flush technology.” (Owners are evangelists. After his wife bought him an automatic toilet, NBA star Steph Curry said “that toilet just makes me happy in life. I bet if I did a case study on my performance since I got that toilet, you’d see the difference.”) In the words of Times reporter Steven Kurutz, the “need for toilet paper is virtually eliminated” thanks to an air dryer.

As soon as the price tag falls (substantially — they’re currently priced from $499 to $9,800), toilet paper could become much less of a necessity.

After all, as Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product author David Praeger tells Science of Us, toilet paper isn’t even the most hygienic approach to cleanup. If a bird poops on your arm while you’re walking down the street, you don’t smear it with a paper towel — you go to the bathroom and use soap and water.

There’s the sustainability critique, too. According to one analysis, Americans use 36 billion (!) rolls — or 15 million trees’ worth — of toilet paper a year, not to mention all the energy spent shipping the sheets around the world. That’s a lot of paper and energy literally being flushed down the toilet.

Toilet paper is more “a psychological comfort, not a true measure of cleanliness,” Praeger says. It’s a way of keeping our bodies separate from the waste they produce. But “sometimes the paper rips and you’re confronted with your own mortality,” he says, “right on your fingers.”

Canadian college newspaper scores poop scoop of the century

It was the best of flushes, it was the worst of flushes; it was the age of comfort, it was the age of thriftiness; it was the epoch of relief, it was the epoch of inequality; it was the season of one-ply, it was the season of two-ply; it was the beginning of a new roll, it was getting down to the last square; we were all going direct to the bathroom on the top floor, we were all watching our dreams go down the toilet.

student-journalist-laura-woodward-and-the-cover-of-the-ryerson-eyeopenerSuch were the dramatic terrors and inequities revealed in an investigation published in a student newspaper at Ryerson University in Toronto last week. A tenacious student reporter discovered that those in positions of power at the college had been hoarding a treasure that students were desperate for, creating a system of plumbing inequality.

The blockbuster story on Water Closet–gate begins, “There’s two-ply toilet paper at Ryerson — and if you’re a student, you don’t get any.”

The Eyeopener discovered a box of the two-ply goodness on the bottom of the Student Campus Centre (SCC), which raised questions of which bathrooms they’re used in.

Student washrooms are stocked exclusively with that translucent, gotta-fold-it-thirteen-times one-ply.

The top two floors of Jorgenson Hall — 13 and 14 — carry the thick, absorbent two-ply.

The story is accompanied by an infographic titled “Unflushing Toilet Paper: A Ryerson Tissue.”

The university president, Sheldon Levy, whose office is “steps away from the two-ply supplied bathroom,” told the Ryerson Eyeopener that the revelation of a “two-tiered” toilet system was “shocking” and “embarrassing.” The National Post did some follow-up reporting and found that other universities in Ontario have a far fairer system when it comes to distribution of strategic reserves of extra-soft and quilted wealth. An official at the University of Guelph bragged, “We have one-ply tissue campus wide, from the president’s washroom to the student residences.”

And when I was a student there, I regularly stole toilet paper. One-ply. There was a metal clip that needed to be depressed and the roll would slide off.

UK mother eats roll of toilet paper every day and just ‘can’t quit’

A UK mother of five has opened up about her bizarre food fetish — eating a roll of toilet paper every day.

Jade Sylvester.toilet.paperJade Sylvester, from England, knocks back at least eight pieces of toilet tissue every time she goes into the loo and says she just “can’t quit” the roll, according to The Huffington Post.

The 25 year old said her taste for toilet tissue started when she was pregnant and suspects it may have been caused by a condition known as Pica, which brings on “non-traditional” cravings, The Huffington Post reported.

“I started craving toilet roll. I still don’t know why,” she said.

Speaking to the Liconshire Echo, Sylvester said she liked the “the feeling of the texture in my mouth, rather than the taste”.
“I like the dryness. My family tell me it isn’t very good for me — but I can’t help it,” Ms Sylvester said.

Jackass dumps toilet paper on students from plane

Never was a fan of the Jackass movies, even though Weezer did the theme to Jackass 3-D which opens Friday.

In an apparent outtake of the new movie, Couriermail reports that an unidentified pilot is believed to have flown over Westwood Regional Middle School in New Jersey, three separate times, releasing the soggy toilet paper onto an athletic field, trees, a school building and the ground nearby ,

There were no injuries reported, and the only evidence left of the incident was a few pieces of paper stuck high in the trees on the property, the report said.

Tweeting for toilet paper, handwashing in urinals

As I’ve said before, when Chapman got his first Blackberry he was so proud he sent me an e-mail from the crapper.

“Dude, I’m on the toilet, and I’m e-mailing you,” or something like that.

Last week, the apparently popular Tokyo DJ, Naika_tei, who also apparently doesn’t know to check for toilet paper before laying logs in a public bathroom, discovered the TP shortage after completing his business. The tei played it cool in the electronics store and sent out this tweet:

"[Urgently needed] toilet paper in the 3rd floor toilet of Akiba Yodobashi."

Five minutes later, he sent another desperate tweet.

After 18 minutes, he tweeted again:

"The toilet paper arrived safely! Thank you very much!"

No amount of tweeting would help the fellow in the video, below. According to one of my language correspondents, the folks in this clip are speaking Dutch, and the dude tried to wash his hands in the Pissoir — the portajohns were apparently there for the women. When she asks: For the record: is that the pissoir? The guy in the red shirt says: yes, a pissoir.

The blond with the microphone says she is speechless.

At least when I was a kid and went to Maple Leaf Gardens when Toronto had a winning hockey team (yes, I am that old) the communal urinal trough was level with the floor, not at handwashing height.