An Intro to Asia’s Bathroom Etiquette
The bum gun. Asia’s bidet. The butt-hole cleanser. The health faucet. The bidet shower. The hose that sits behind your toilet. The hand-held butt cleaner. The squirter.
We’ve all heard its names and if you have traveled to Asia you’ve seen it in every bathroom. But, have we all used it?
Do you fear the squirt? Or are you an avid user or abuser of the bidet?
The Terrifying and Mysterious Bum Gun
I have seen some pretty gruesome squat toilets in Asia. The worst pit holes are the ones without the bum gun. These are the ones you literally squat over, trying not to step in the last person’s leftovers. Plus, there is nothing but a bucket of water to douse your genitals with afterwards, for cleanliness.
Shake it off. Get out as fast as you can. RUN.
Therefore, finding a porcelain toilet in Asia is a godsend and with more and more tourists, they are becoming more common. So no need to worry.
They all come fully equipped with the bum gun and for the most part, they all come with toilet paper. But, if you think about it, the bum gun is quite a sophisticated way to clean. Personally, I think everyone should join in and give it the old squirt.
What is it?
According to Wikipedia, the bum-gun is defined as a,
“bidet shower, hand-held nozzle, similar to that on a kitchen sink sprayer, that delivers a spray of water in an anal cleansing and cleaning the genitals after defecation and urination.”
Despite that not being the most appealing definition, it cuts right to the point.
And, unashamed, I have found myself using the bum gun for more than the desperate and dire need of a squirt.
If you backpack or live in Asia long enough, it’s inevitable. You will eventually use one.
There will come a day when there is no TP and you have given up on the shake. So get on with it.
Aside: We met an Englishman on a live aboard in Thailand and he told me, “you’re not really clean unless there’s penetration.” Clearly he’s lived in Asia long enough.
5 Stages of the Bum-Gun
You may try to avoid it at first, but if you want to live like a local you must give Asia’s bidet a try.
Admittedly, these are the 5 stages I believe everyone goes through before finally and consistently using the damn thing.
- “No, I will not hose myself down like an animal.” You feel uncomfortable, dread even, and stick to how you were raised with the westerner’s creation: the white cushion, toilet paper.
- “Uh oh, I cannot find the toilet paper, how do I use it?” You are considering giving it a chance, but only because there is no other option.
- So you got the first squirt out. Feeling a little shy, a little wet, but it’s a cool clean wet on your undercarriage. You start feeling a bit odd for trying something unconventional. Thoughts flood in, “maybe it is cleaner than toilet paper,” you start questioning your roots. What’s next?
- Unsure if your friends are users, you only use it sometimes, but you aren’t all in just yet. I think this is the closet bum gun stage, inconsistent, but curiously trying more frequently.
- You are a consistent user, there’s no going back. You crave the cool sensation cleaning your privates. You use both the bum gun and toilet paper freely. You start wondering, confidently, “can I get one installed back home?”Welcome to Asia
So next time you look over your right hip and see that tiny kitchen sink squirt gun looking at you, don’t be afraid. Give the squirt a try, but don’t use it as a shower head or to clean your dishes.
You have formally been welcomed. I recommend diving into Asia’s toilet’s head first, not literally.