The thighs have it.


You are no doubt asking yourself what Tatiana Kashirina the Olympic weightlifting has to do with Italy, well let me tell you, it’s her thighs. Now before you all start jumping up and down and sending messages to Mrs Sensible about her errant husband, let me explain.

Tatiana Kashirina

Tatiana Kashirina

Before I moved to here, I thought living in Italy would be very similar to living in Great Britain, just without the rain and a decent bacon sandwich, but I was in for a huge culture shock. To start with they don’t go to the bathroom the same way we do.  I promise you it is true, so stop giggling. In England we sit on the loo, ponder life for a bit, clean up using a bit of Andrex toilet paper and then as our mothers taught us, we wash our hands. Nice and simple, in Italy nothing is simple, including going to the loo.

Andrex Puppy and loo roll

Andrex Puppy and loo roll

To start with we have an additional piece of pottery in our bathrooms, it is called a BIDET, it is like a toilet but it has taps on it and no it is not for washing your feet ….. its for washing your , well your bits in.  You see the Italians have decided cleaning your bum after a number 2 with toilet paper, even using expensive soft stuff like Andrex is not good enough (number 1 is a wee and number 2 is, well a number 2), so all good Italians use a bidet to wash their bits after a number 2 or even a number 1.

A bidet is not for washing your feet in.

A bidet is not for washing your feet in.  www.emiliehope.wordpress.com

 

When Mrs Sensible lived in the UK she was astonished and horrified to learn that most homes didn’t have a bidet fitted and the people who did have a bidet fitted, used it for anything but washing their bums. I am not going to go into how to use a bidet, there is a useful link here for those of you who are interested, but I will add just one word of warning, make sure you get the temperature of the water just right or it will bring tears to your eyes.

Our UK house didn't have a Bidet so Mrs Sensible had to improvise.

Our UK house didn’t have a Bidet so Mrs Sensible had to improvise.

Before you ask, Tatiana Kashirina has absolutely nothing to do with Bidets. But she has everything to do with the Italians fascination with Turkish toilets. A Turkish toilet is as close in design to an English toilet as a pizza is, to a big juicy bacon sandwich with egg, mushrooms and if you are lucky a dollop of tomatoes thrown on. A Turkish toilet is a toilet without any super structure, it how a minalist would design a  toilet if he was asked. Basically it is a hole that you squat over and this is where  Tatiana Kashirina thighs come into play, because if you don’t have well developed thighs you are likely to collapse and fall down the hole.

A Turkish Toilet

A Turkish Toilet

While I was writing this I got to thinking why the Turkish toilet never caught on in the UK and you are free to disagree with me here, but I think there are two main reasons. 1) It would be impossible to read a book or the Sunday Paper whilst trying to balance over the hole and 2) The English like to go drinking in pubs in the evening and alcohol and good balance rarely go hand in hand.

I stole this from Gingerfightback so go and have a look at his site

I stole this from Gingerfightback so go and have a look at his site http://www.gingerfightback.com

Now before you go off in search of humorous pictures of bidets or Turkish toilets please spare a thought to how you would manage, if you needed to spend a penny* when you had your best evening frock on, or even a pair of dungarees.

If you slip whilst using a Turkish Toilet you will get wet. (Maria Grazia Cucinotta star of Il Postino)

If you slip whilst using a Turkish Toilet you will get wet. (Maria Grazia Cucinotta star of Il Postino)

To spend a penny is a polite English expression to say you need to go and pee.

 

Please go and have a look at what the other COSI group members think about the loo in Italy

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76 thoughts on “The thighs have it.

  1. Uhmmm, maybe English toilet tissue must be different from ours if you don’t feel the need of using bidets properly. 🙂 However , I am non so convinced that we are fascinated by Turkish toilets , where have you seen them? In private houses?

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    • Hi Etinkerbell, the UK loo paper is the same, some English use baby wipes. Mrs Sensible said, she has no fascination for Turkish toilets, she added she has never seen them in Sicily.

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  2. Great post! I’ve been doing my own survey on the variety of bathroom porcelain which exists in Italy and apart from the bidet debacle have been surprised that Turkish loos persist here! I’ve found them in Verona and Venice but the worst place was at a Modena theatre which just boggles the mind – how does one contend with one of these things when all dressed up for the theatre & in high heels?? Its wrong! So wrong!

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  3. Because I can’t bend my knees, I would be hovering over a Turkish toilet like an elephant on a tightrope and hoping for the best. Bidets are normal here in Brazil, but disappearing. Several times I have poached my ‘eggs’ as Brazilians would say.

    AV

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dare I say we Yanks are with you on this as I have put many a foot into my hotel room’s bidet—hated to see it go to waste. And as far as thighs would go, I do feel well equipped in that area to “hover” as it were—I just prefer our concept of sitting. Now I was in Pisa once, many many years ago, finding myself in need of spending the proverbial penny. I was directed to the nearest public facility in which to spend said penny but it was actually asking for several lire—remember this was many, many years ago, today it is asking for a euro. I stood in a relatively long line with men and woman—a bit confused because remember, in the States we spilt up for the spending of pennies, which is more like $1.00—unless it was the 80’s and it was a concert and you’d find the girls in the sinks, the trash cans and the guys in the aisles having at it, but I digress. . . So when it came my turn to enter said public facility in Pisa imagine my surprise when I was to follow an older gentleman into the door—and there on the floor was what resemble the floor of a shower–a title square with a drain in the center with a constant flowing swirl of water and two places etched out to put one’s feet—this gave new meaning to standing and hovering while keeping ones nappies dry. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah the Turkish toilet! They were foreign to me until I spent a semester of college in Europe. I saw them frequently on a side-trip to Morocco, but beyond that, not at all except for in one particular bar in Milan. For extra character points, it was out the back of the bar in a separate building that you got to by a boardwalk. It took a lot of balancing, but I did get by in a dress and high heeled boots. I’m happy to report that even though I mastered the Turkish toilet, I haven’t encountered one since then.

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  6. Pingback: Dov’e’ Il Bagno? | My Sicilian Home

  7. Grazie mille for my Sunday morning entertainment/edification. I particularly appreciated the link for “how to use a bidet” having never encountered one until my first visit to Italy in 2004 (which I did use to soak my aching feet I have to admit). I was going to look that up myself but now I don’t have to. They are not common in the US and are considered a “luxury item”.
    I did encounter several Turkish Toilets while traveling in Africa but thankfully there was usually the kind I knew well nearby and I never was required to test the strength of my thighs. I’m sure I would have failed miserably. I had already made up my mind to “hold it” till the next stop if need be.
    Although I do know a few blokes who wear frocks every now and then (and they aren’t called kilts). One of them told me my closet was a “drag queen’s dream.” But then I have a varied circle of friends. And I’m ticked that they look better in a corset and garter belt (you probably call it a suspender belt) than I do. And ticked is not the word I would normally use but I’m trying to be polite.

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  8. First time I used a public facility in Italy, small hill town in Tuscany, was a Turkish toilet, co-ed… Talk about culture shock! Spent a considerable amount of time feeling like an idiot, trying to figuring out how to use the various other types of toilets I encountered on that trip- floor pedals, wall switches, pull chains… Good grief, who knew there were so many mechanisms for flushing a toilet?!

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  9. As a female, I think the frock option is probably ok. However, when wearing trousers or shorts it is not so easy to squat over the Turkish, you risk a soaking! Have come across (literally) a few in Northern Tuscan bars and more often than not have decided to hang on. I haven’t perfected it yet.

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  10. I love the cat fountain. I have spent way too much money on a fountain for my cat. It would have probably been easier to have a bidet installed. Oh, wait, no room for it here.

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      • I had to get a fountain because she would only drink from the water tap in the bathroom. When I was working I couldn’t leave it on for her. The fountain was great and she loved it. Most apartments here don’t have individual garden hoses.
        Sadly she(Lili) passed away on June 2 (she was 17 years old). The cat colony here is auditioning for what they see as a vacancy. I had three waiting to be fed on my patio yesterday morning and one by the front door. So even though I no longer have a cat, I still buy cat food.
        It’s impossible to choose so we’ll keep it this way for now.

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        • I am not sure Scooby Doo liked getting hosed down. Mind you it only happened after he scratched me or if he was foolishly asleep on the roof of my car when I was near the hose pipe

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          • Having upon occasion given a cat a bath, I’m sure Scooby Doo did not like it one bit. I learned years later that if you put a window screen in the bottom of the tub you won’t get scratched. Now they tell me.
            Oh, and for explanation for non cat people….they catch their claws in the screen and are immobilized at least for a few minutes. And it doesn’t hurt them.

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  11. As an Italian reared in Italy in the modern conditions of the day (bidet included) I too was shocked and scared when I first had to confront a floor toilet in a train… Well, I am amazed that they still exist !!! I think that they derive from the much more ancient form of going out into the open air behind some well positioned bushes, the only technique in that case being squatting – when the idea hit of having that convenience in the home, they simply repeated the same position taken out of doors … Habits die hard !…( but I still miss a friendly refreshing bidet !!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. http://www.trendir.com/archives/ideal-standard.html

    Oh, PN, you are plumbing new depths with this subject!!!

    With European bathrooms being so much smaller than we are used to, we seriously considered doing away with a bidet when we remodeled our new (old) home. Our Italian contractor was horrified and absolutely refused point blank to continue his work until we agreed to install one! This space-saving 2-in-one unit was, therefore, a godsend until we realized that guests were mistaking which side was which!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me a ‘Turkish’ model any day…………………..

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  13. Great post. I’m constantly paranoid I somehow accidentally used someone’s bidet towel to dry my hands and have to rewash my hands. When in doubt, I recommend an air dry. This is a tough country for a nurse and an advocate of good hand hygiene.

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    • Lol, when Mrs S and I were living in the UK, my ex wife called around to drop of the kids. After using our loo, she said there were lots of towels in the bathroom and she wasn’t sure which to use so she used the small pink one. I said that was OK as Mrs S uses it to wipe her bum on. She laughed and thought I was joking

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      • Ha, thanks for validating my paranoia! If you see someone on the streets of Italy with a towel draped over their shoulder, that will be me. I’ll bring my own thank you very much!

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        • My friend here in the US who is a nurse (and therefore knows a lot more about germs than commoners like me) won’t even use the air dryers in public restrooms let alone the towels. She says that the recycled air is just as “germy” as the towels….and there isn’t even a potential of them being bidet towels! She lets her hands air dry on their own.
          Guess I’ve spent too much time traveling and living in the third world (Africa etc) to be quite that paranoid. Although using someone’s bidet towel….well, that is so wrong on so many levels.
          Could we bring back disposable paper towels for hand washing, please?

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          • Yes, between the handkerchief practices of Italians and potential bidet towel germ exposure, I’m quite mortified. I’ve given a few injections to my in-laws and one great aunt took offense that I washed my hands before I gave her insulin. I didn’t know what to say to that…..but I’m still going to wash my hands like a good little nurse! With all your traveling, I bet you have great immunity 😉

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  14. We have turkish loos in France too. I recommend taking a gas mask because they stink. Also , apart from the thigh issue, you also need to be a very good runner when you flush – pressing the button immediately floods the entire area with water, and anything else that hasn’t been successfully removed during previous floods. For girls, frocks are definitely more easy to deal with than a pair of jeans. If you want to give it a try one day, please ask Mrs Sensible to post about it.

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  15. Hiya PN, I’ve been admiring you from afar for some time – well, Lake Garda, so not THAT far; and does unrestrainedly snorting bran flakes back into the cereal bowl, at around 06.20 on a school-day morning as I read your latest, count as “admiration”?!? Let’s just go with “Absolutely”, shall we??

    What a PROVOCATIVE post 🙂 You’ve compelled me to speak out, from the heart of my bottom, as the “bidet and bagno turco” question is a stirring one.
    So, bidet first……After years of living in Italy, I’ve learnt to love and revere that thing (and I’m downright pissed-off that they STILL haven’t caught on in Norwich). They’re, oh so, marvellously practical in a multitude of ways. Can we seriously blame our continental neighbours for wrinkling their noses at us, as we staunchly convince ourselves that a cursory once-over with Izal loo roll can possibly do the trick?
    But the “Turco” is a different matter altogether. Now, for a girl in a ballgown and heels, these are easily navigated, once her initial abhorrence has been mastered. Actually, the higher the heel the easier it is on the thighs; and if there’s a platform thrown in, all the better. Instead, the true “Turco Challenge” is the hooded, all-in-one ladies ski suit. My personal worst was an outdoors, uni-sex loo, property of a quaint little baita in the Dolomites. Not only did the cubicle have a narrow raised platform in which the “Turco” was installed, but its door also had a faulty lock. After I’d shrugged myself out of the upper part of my suit, I needed to grapple with the sleeves, and more importantly with the hood (which sported a fox fur trim that seemed hell bent on giving the floor a thorough mopping). Having brought these extremities to heel, everything (including thermal drawers) then needed to be wrestled into a contained bundle that could be lowered to a practical, knee level. I was now ready to take the fatal step – from the confined, slushy, relatively safe cubicle floor, up onto the more-than slushy, ridged foot-plates of that raised, “hole in the floor”. I don’t need to tell you … ski boots skid at the best of times with a smooth, wet surface beneath them, and I was slithering around like an eejit, trying to remain poised and positioned long enough to do the trick; while all the time hoping madly that the lock would hold…….
    So, yep … I’m a BIG fan of Turchi too 🙂

    .

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Sarah,
      Lake Garda is not far, in the summer we like to visit the lakes. This year has been a bit hectic and the only thing we have visited is Ipercoop, oh and a trip to Sicily to visit Mrs & Mrs Sensible Snr. I love your comment, Ski boots, fur hood and all.

      Norwich!!! I have never been there, it must be down south somewhere.

      PS Sorry for making you snort your bran flakes, I will try to write a serious post next time.
      Regards
      PN

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  16. You’re too kind PN, but please keep the snorts coming: My nose has become accustomed to a periodic clear-out, and it’s good to know I’m investing in a multi-tasking breakfast cereal.
    Actually, the Lake improves as the tourists leave, so you should bring Mrs. Sensible on an out of season jaunt this way, and pop in for a cup of PG Tips and a Digestive – and I’ve got red wine too 🙂 You’d better be quick as I’m planning to pack up and move to Favignana in a couple of years. Tell you what … I’ll get the kettle on

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