For those of you who don’t know, the toilets are different in Asia. In the more touristy parts they do have the Western type toilets that we all know and love, but for the most part, the things that people kept trying to convince me were toilets look like this:
On a good day, I would have closed the door and walked away without another word. I wasn’t even sure if this toilet was designed for human use, but at this point my bladder felt like Zim’s water balloon at the end of The Wettening, so retreat was not an option.
I had no idea where to put my feet. How was I supposed to pee here without getting it all over my clothes as well? I decided (wrongly) that I could keep my balance at the front of the toilet near the step. That’s where your feet go with Western toilets, right? So I planted my feet and hoped it would be over soon.
The problem with this position is that I was in front of the toilet, but all of my weight was focused behind me. Almost as soon as I squatted, I started to fall backward and I had to grab onto the door for dear life to stop myself from falling in.
Also, did I mention that the floor wasn’t terribly clean? I was stuck in a deep squat position with my butt dangling inches above the water, I had a death grip on the stall door, and floor was slippery with what I had to assume was the last foreigner’s failed attempt to use this unholy device. I was terrified that if I moved at all, my feet would slip out from under me and the paramedics would find me, hours later, sprawled out on the floor and half submerged in toilet water.
I don’t know how long I stayed like that, petrified, but eventually the door decided that it was tired of being my lifeline. Since I was so close to the floor, the only way for me to hold on had been to grab the door from the bottom edge. And, since I was in the process of falling backward, this meant that the door was being lifted off its hinges. There was a horrible jolt as I felt the door slide up in my hands and I was sure that I was going to die there, crushed to death on top of a Chinese toilet by the stall door, but it didn’t come out all the way. It slid out maybe half an inch, bringing me that much closer to falling in the toilet, and at that point I decided that I didn’t care what I peed on, I just needed to get out of that stall.
Fortunately, since my nether region was so close to the water already, there wasn’t really room for me to hit anything else. I did what I had to, and then I got the hell out of there.
In case that wasn’t clear, this is not the proper way to pee in an Asian squat toilet. A few days later I asked my Korean friend what she thought of them and, after she finished laughing, she told me that they have the same toilets in Korea and asked if I wanted her to explain how to use them. I said yes, for the love of Cthulhu, God, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, yes.
It turns out that you’re supposed to put your feet on the treads on either side of the toilet, so you’re standing with the water in between your feet. You squat and pull your pants to the front, so that the seat of the pants is between your knees, and then you go. She said Asian toilets are more sanitary than Western ones because you don’t have to touch any part of the toilet to use it and, once I got the hang of it, I could see her point. In some of them, the water is running continuously so you don’t even have to flush.
You are not, however, supposed to dismantle the stall door in the process.