Friday, July 29, 2005

This post contains materials that some readers may find offensive.

I’ve lived in England for eleven years now. I’ve learnt the language, I’ve learnt to blame the French for all that is wrong in the world, I have my tea with milk, I’m ok with our bathroom sink having separate taps for hot and cold, I have even learnt to make-do with only a bath and no shower and therefore have accepted coming out of the bath with soap bubbles clinging to my body and drying myself with a towel (that regardless of all the strategic drying poses that I come up with, still smells like cat piss after only one usage) hell this year I even got hay fever and didn’t complain (well not much anyway) but there is still one thing that I just can’t get my head round: wiping one’s bum with toilet paper.
How do they do it? It’s just impossible. I always think how hard can it be? The answer is very. No matter how many times you wipe (I did say before that this was not one for the faint hearted so if you can’t handle this kind of talk please refrain from reading now. So as I was saying no matter how many times you wipe) THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING! I feel so guilty using up all those rolls of toilet paper. Think of all those trees that have been sacrificed for yours and my bum.
But what is one to do about this? Are we to take Aftabehs around with us everywhere we go, carrying them around in huge handbags or rucksacks? I don’t think so. Because apart from it making us look stupid, in the current state of affairs it is also damn right dangerous. Just picture this: an Iranian walking down the street looking a bit shifty, carrying something a bit bulky a bag. Suddenly their phone rings. In the process of reaching inside the bag to fish out their mobile, the spout from the Aftabeh pops out and the next thing they know they are flying through a white or dark tunnel (depending on whether they’ve been good or bad in life) with five shots having been fired into their head at point blank. Although now I’m thinking it would probably just be a white tunnel because even if they don’t automatically become martyrs, we all know that cleanliness is next to godliness and dying for cleanliness must be just double-super-godly and enough to earn a person a semi detached, three bedroom house in heaven’s equivalent of St John’s Wood.
So basically we have no other options but learning to wipe. I have tried asking my friends about it before but none have been very forthcoming with tips. They say don’t worry; everyone uses a lot of toilet paper. But I’m convinced there is something that they are not telling us. Because if everyone does it the same as I, then I am well and truly surprised that there are still any trees left in the world.
So here I plead with the British public to please please share your great knowledge of bum wiping with us ignorant Iranians. I know this is going to be hard for you and probably quite unpleasant too but think of the planet, and your children, and your children’s children and I’m sure this task will suddenly become a lot more fulfilling.
I think maybe the government should do something about this too. Forget having to pass an English language test for becoming naturalised, how about a few compulsory bum wiping lessons (maybe not having to pass a test at the end of it though because I’m sure some people would find that a bit degrading). They could maybe even have specialists at Heathrow airport giving all the Iranians a crash course in bum wiping (before they officially enter the country) and give them a kind of diploma or something at the end. So when they get to passport control, they have to present their passport, that little card they filled up on the plain with their address and stuff and also their bum wiping certificate.
I know this is going to be tough for the Home Office to deal with, especially now with all this hoo-hah about identity cards, the last thing they need is more paperwork. But I’m sure this is something that in the long run everyone will really benefit from. And I’m also sure if word got out, there will be loads of volunteers to help with this too. You just have to go to where one of these new motorways are being built and get some of those dreadlocksy guys that chain themselves to trees and just say, ‘Look, instead of limiting yourselves to these few trees here, wouldn’t you rather save entire rainforests?’ It’s just commonsense really, isn’t it? It would probably be a good idea to get some celebrities onboard too to help with cool-ifying the matter and also fundraising and stuff like that.
Or maybe they should forget about the certificate and just in the airport, all along the line that says ‘People with dodgy passports’ (or something like that) have professionals constantly demonstrating the art of bum wiping on huge monitors; really drilling it into their heads for all of that hour and a half that they have to wait.


shady said...

i have a business proposal for u... how about we patent the idea of inflatable AftAbeh?

i also really see the potential for an illustrated story here! :-D

Shirin said...

I think you might be onto something here Shady. Drop by my office later and we shall discuss this idea further. I’ll be in charge of the posters and maybe you could write a little catchy song to go with the TV ad. Exciting

Kamyar said...

This is brilliant. I was thinking about designing a bracket so I can hang my Aftabe to my tool box or ask my manager to give me a bigger toolbox but with an inflatable Aftabe I don’t need to worry about 13 hours shift anymore.

Anonymous said...

Shirin Aziz,

You have touched my heart azizam. The biggest fear of an Iranian immigrating to another country, “Koon Shoorie”. Forget about learning the language, college education, getting a job and so forth, how the hell finish the job after a nice dumb?! Frankly I have to say the problem rises from the configuration of our Ass Holes, we are all Koon Gooshad! Therefore the amount of leftover residue is just too much for the poor toilet paper to handle the job. I'm saving Coke bottles, water bottles underneath my desk here, and every time I'm going to the bathroom I have to sort of hide them behind my back to save an explanation to my co-workers. I'm always worried somebody might come in to the restroom while I'm filling them with water, what could you say? Thanks for bringing this issues to the attention of the UK Government! Who knows but maybe this time the Bush regime might actually follow Blair on this issue and install some “America Standard” Aftabehs in the restroom here!


Anonymous said...

on behalf of anglos everywhere i sincerely apologize for our cultural insensitivity to your need for clean nether regions.

on the subject of those hot and cold water taps in england, what is up with that? apart from not being logical it doesn't even seem cost effective. thus i am rendered dumbfounded and suffering from jet lag and forced to do this little dance with my hands to get the water to a temperature that does not freeze or burn my face. however, it is not the first thing about the brits that has left my face in a big question mark and, undoubtedly, will not be the last.

hopefully we will meet soon and we can discuss further on topics including but not limited to hygiene habits :)


nogger said...

Too funny. Worthy of a stand-up routine. You should be up in Edinburgh.

Anonymous said...

oh my God!!Shirine, this is a master
i had this problem too, the first time i came in Usa, and i used to ask my iranian husband how he can jsut wipe after goozidy and Morocco,we have bide next to the toilet seat,so u basicaly move a little bit and u're on the top of a magical watery small tub..u wash and feel really clean.
now,my secret weapons are flushable wipes, i have'em in my bag and they're pretty much good.
i also still have the bottles they gave in the hospital after i gave birth, u know what i'm talking about, bottles for "intime" cleaning ;)..but really, the wipes saved my life.
love this blog!

Anonymous said...

of course u know i meant wet wipes.

Shirin said...

Goozidy! ;-) I love it. What a cool name. I saw those little tubes coming out of the back of the toilet in Turkey the first time. I thought it was a very good idea. Your wet wipes sound good. I might try that. It’s much better than carrying a aftabeh around all the time :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, were you ever in Chandigarh,India? I knew someone with your great sense of humour...Great article.. MAGAAZ