Coming from a country where most people are used to squat toilets and water, it needs a little bit of social adaptation to get used to the western sit toilet and toilet paper (and corresponding manners). And also to know what we can, and cannot do with this.
I will tend to believe that we all had our moments of adaptation, and have our stories to tell. Personally, it took me several years till I could feel comfortable using the toilet papers. For several years, I was rushing to the shower or bath (depending on the type of flat I was in) to clean myself with water just after using the water closet. Else, a feeling of uncleanliness and discomfort was following me all the time.
But then, there are other things in this. And this article is about those other things. It’s about the toilet etiquette while you visit someone, in his residence or office. Let’s go.
There are three parts of a western toilet seat which will be interesting in this article. The « cuvette » or the toilet bowl, the « siège » or toilet seat, and the « couvercle » or the lid to cover the toilet.
Peeing with toilet seat down : To begin with, even though its common sense, too many males pee with toilet seat down. It’s probably because they do not want to touch a toilet seat with their own hand, or simply lazy doing so.
This is a disrespect for people who are coming thereafter, people who may need to sit on the toilet sit (and thus, on someone’s pee). The first thing that we will see on toilet manners, is about lifting the toilet seat while peeing. Use your shoes if you are uncomfortable lifting the toilet seat using your hand, but please do it.
What to throw in the closet : There are confusions on what to throw and what not to, in the closet. In aeroplanes, where many Indians use toilet paper for the first time, there is a separate box to throw the used toilet papers. This is not true when we are in a flat or office. The toilet papers, once used, is to be thrown inside the closet. Do not look for a bin to throw your used papers.
Again, its a question of respecting people who will come after you. Its not nice to use a toilet with someone else’s shit lying around. And you are asking someone to remove your used paper and throw them to closet to finish your task. Get rid of your shit yourself once you have finished using the WC. Toilet paper goes to the closet and then you pull the flash handle.
However, care has to be taken not to throw anything else other than the toilet papers in the closet. Anything else can jam the evacuation and the person in charge of maintaining the toilet may be in big problem if anything other than toilet papers is thrown in.
Leaving the toilet seat as it was : Once you enter a clean toilet, leave it clean when you finish. If your pee has come outside – on top of the bowl or somewhere it should not, take some toilet paper and clean them before you leave.
Besides, also have a look at how the toilet seat or organised when you entered in a toilet, and leave it as it was to respect the organisation of things. Some leave their toilet with both the seat and lid down, some keep the seat down but the lid lifted, and some with both seat and lid up.
While you are in your own flat, see what suits you more in terms of how to keep your toilet seat / lid. Many people prefer to keep the lid closed in their own residence while the toilet is not in use.
Using the brush : In all toilets, you will see a brush placed nearby placed on its support. If you see after using the closet that layers of your excretion leaving a tinge inside the closet, clean this before leaving. Lift the seat before doing so, to avoid dropping water on it.
There are many houses where the neck of water closet gets ugly with dark brown color and layers. This happens when we do not clean every time we use a toilet. This good habbit of using the brush every time we use a toilet will also help us to keep our own WC clean in our home.
Sourav Choudhury is a social entrepreneur living in France since 2003 and working for the cause of Indian community of France, since 2007. He is founder of multiple projects: the largest social network of the Indian community of France, a French language school for english speaking expatriates, this website, and few other projects.