If you have travelled to any Asian country you’ve seen it. Maybe if you are new to Asia you’ve avoided it, not wanting to think about it. Perhaps you’ve wondered what it is really like to try it but you are nervous about it.
I am talking about the bum hose. The little white, sometimes chrome hose hanging from the wall next to most Asian toilets. They are also common across Europe, the Middle East and South America, but more often in the form of bidets. The bum hose is also known as the bidet shower or bum gun, and you will see them in almost every toilet in Bali. In more simple places it may be a bucket or a large tiled square filled with water, accompanied by a smaller bucket or a ladle, but the principal is the same.
I am going to talk about the bum hose here, as the bucket is a different experience all together, and it’s also worth a try, but let’s start with the hose.
Reasons why they are great:
- From an environmental perspective, water is much less damaging than toilet paper.
- If you’re travelling, toilet paper is not always easily available, and it’s a pain to have to have it or tissues on hand just in case.
- It is healthier for women, clean water flushes bacteria that toilet paper doesn’t remove.
- Let’s face it, if you had dog or baby poo on your hands, what would you use, paper or water to clean it?
- It feels great! When you are in a hot, sticky and sweaty climate, a good bum hose can make you feel cool and fresh like only a swim or a shower can.
I used to be completely grossed out by even the idea of them, but I am a convert now. I started using water occasionally when I lived in Ghana, but they don’t have bum hoses, they are more like big plastic tea pots, and I found it very refreshing, though I still used paper as well, before and after, so I guess I was using it more like a shower.
Have you noticed the sudden increase in wet wipes for adults available now, for “when toilet paper isn’t enough”, an expensive and environmentally damaging option but the idea is to give you the same fresh result.
Since returning from Ghana, whenever I travel to Bali I just love using the bum hose. The way to do it is simple. While sitting down, simply grab the hose, point it where you want it to go, pull the trigger and water will flow out, cleansing your nether regions. Water pressure varies greatly, so be a little cautious the first time, as it will either be a nice gentle flow or enough to just about blow you off your seat. This is for number ones. Now traditionally people use their left hand as well when they do number two, but I don’t, I am still a paper girl for that, followed by a nice blast from the hose.
I used to be curious about how it felt after, I thought it would feel wet and horrible, but it’s so hot here that you don’t notice and the cool water is very refreshing anyway, but if it bothers you, you can always tidy up with a little paper if necessary, it kind of defeats the purpose, but it’s a good way to start, and what I used to do.
I have often thought of installing one at home, but as we rent our place, I haven’t. However I just found this nifty portable option which I might just have to try out.
So, next time you see a bum hose sitting there quietly in the corner, don’t be intimidated, give it a try.
You have nothing to lose and you too may become a convert.