Over the years, the way I wipe my arse has changed considerably. When I was a child, a baby, I didn’t wipe it at all. I went into my nappy like millions of others, and my mother wiped me clean with baby wipes and sprinkled me with talc.
As I grew, however, I was potty-trained and I learned to wipe myself. Shorts and pants down, t-shirt up, I stood by the toilet, unrolled the roll and took fifteen to twenty sheets at a time, wiped my bottom, folded after each wipe, and repeated until the sheets came back white.
I did this for years, standing to attention, until a university friend said he did it sitting down. At first, I was puzzled by how he managed it. Surely the twenty sheets would all unravel into the shit-filled water? Then I was defensive: standing up was the right way to do it. His way was wrong. Eventually, my train of thought led me to think: you wouldn’t go into war sitting down, so why wipe your arse in such a way?
In the end, however, I gave in – what kind of person compares shitting to war? I experimented and sat down until, after shitting, I took only two or three leaves of toilet roll, lifted my right arse cheek, and attacked from behind. I found it laborious, returning again and again to the toilet roll, a couple sheets here, a few there, but I stuck with it after I realised by taking two sheets I was being kinder to the environment. (On occasion, before I met my friend, when I unfurled fifteen sheets, I had found that my bum was clean after three. I would take the extra just in case I had a runny nose, but I was not a sickly child, and the paper eventually ended up being accidentally put into the wash, along with some shorts or jeans, much to my mother’s chagrin).
After a few years of sitting and cleaning from behind, however, I changed again. One drawback I discovered with my new wiping action was that the toilet seat began to dislodge itself due to my weight being put on one bum cheek. So, one day, I decided to attack from the front. This, I found, was much easier, and meant I could leave both cheeks firmly on the seat, something I’m sure my flatmates at the time were pleased about, since they’d been complaining about it repeatedly breaking.
At first I was a little nervous of this action and was not sure I was getting myself completely clean (I was also worried my flatmates might notice the seat wasn’t broken anymore and suspect me of being the vandal), but after a while I grew to love it so much that I never even thought about going back to my old ways. It was easy and quick and efficient and appealed to my inherently lazy nature. Sitting was much more preferable to standing, and sitting still to raising an arse cheek, and I would’ve kept this action for the rest of my life if I hadn’t moved to Thailand and discovered the hose.
The first time I saw it I assumed it was for cleaning the floor of the bathroom, but then one day I overheard someone at work saying how magical it was, and I decided to give it a try. It was a revelation. The water powered out the nozzle and washed all the cling-ons and filth away. I neither had to life a bum cheek or worry about the shit-smeared toilet paper knocking my cock (something that happened when I cleaned from the front). Of course, the water sometimes sprayed out onto the bathroom floor, but that was a small price to pay. No germs from the toilet paper would go near my arse again, and neither would my fingers.
Quite soon, however, I discovered that if I just pulled my pants up after this anal-douche I would remain wet, so I put a small hand towel beside my toilet to give it a quick dry. This worked well for a while, until one day I discovered a small brown stain in the centre of the towel. Immediately, I wondered whether there had been other occasions when brown had been left in my crack. I checked all my underwear for the slightest skid-mark. I discovered nothing, but I changed my action once again so that after the douche I would dry with a few sheets of toilet roll instead.
For a while I was happy with this state of affairs – I was clean, dry – but then one day while I was showering I found bits of dried toilet paper stuck to the hair in my bum crack. I was appalled. It was stuck fast, and I had to yank at it until the hair and the paper ripped off my skin causing me to yelp.
I didn’t know what to do. If I gave up the hose-toilet paper combo, I’d brown endless towels. If I gave up the towel and hose, I’d have wet pants. If I gave up the hose, I’d knock poo onto my cock. If I gave up attacking from the front, I’d break the toilet seat. If I gave up a rear attack, I’d have to stand and devastate the environment. If I gave up standing, I’d have to call my mother, invite her to Thailand and invest in some nappies. I’d heard some people shower straight after shitting and combine the cleaning, but my dumps had never been particularly regular, and there was no shower at work.
I needed help. Advice at least. So I wrote to the university friend who’d first changed the way I wiped explaining my toiletry journey. I mentioned about a book I’d read where one of the characters was adamant that the best way to clean down there was to use a goose’s neck. With the feathers, of course, not against them. I hoped he would help, but a day then a week then a month passed during which time I tried every possible combination of hose, toilet paper, towel, standing, sitting, in an attempt to discover the best method.
Eventually, after a few more weeks, the reply came. He said he was sorry to hear about my predicament, but that maybe there were more important things to think about, like why a man verging on forty thought so much about shit, and why he spent so much time worrying about how to stay clean. I conceded his point, but said that didn’t solve my problem. What was I to do? His reply was short:
Why do you need me to tell you? Why do you think I even know?
I read the email once, then again. Could it be that he didn’t know as well? Was the world full of people wiping their arses any old way? Or merely the way they’d been taught?
I got my laptop out and decided to investigate. Someone, somewhere, must have had the same thought as me. Someone, somewhere must have worried about the exact same thing. I couldn’t be unique. And I wasn’t.
All I had to write was, what’s the best way to wipe your bum, and hundreds of sites came up. I clicked on the first and it said TP then a wet wipe. I was so relieved. I had a new method. But when I read the details there was nothing saying whether I should stand or sit, attack from the front or the rear. I checked another one. More of the same. I read forum after forum saying do this and that, try to squat so your cheeks spread more and you can clean better.
In the end, I turned my laptop off. It seemed no one really knew. Or were willing to describe their method in sufficient detail. Could I do it anyway? I needed to go. Could I just free-style it?
I went and looked at the shower, the hose, the toilet paper, the wet wipes I’d run out to buy, the towel. All this choice, all this paraphernalia to do one simple thing, none of it perfect. I took my trousers and pants down and sat. If no one knew then neither did I. I decided to use them all.