Have you been to Europe? Because if you haven’t, you have to pay for almost every public toilet. There are also towel warmers (which I had no clue what those were until someone told me). My first bathroom experience in Italy was not all that impressive. I got off the bus and had 3 hours to kill. It was 31 degrees Celsius out, I had a large backpack on my back and a small laptop backpack on my chest. Luckily, I found a nice big park where I was able to lay down with my towel on the grass and read a book. Being as I just got off a 6 or so hour bus ride from Munich and lazily drinking water and snacking in the park, I had to get up to pee. So, I packed up my bags, threw my backpacks on and started to wander. Mind you, no one speaks English in this tiny town. I found some local men that worked in the park (at least I assumed they did as they were wearing bright yellow vests) and asked for the toilet. It took several times to pronounce the word toilet correctly for them to understand.
Side note, remember to call them toilets not restrooms or bathrooms while abroad from America. Otherwise people won’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.
Anywho, they point me in the right direction and off I go. I get there, and there’s a gent sitting there with a till. He’s on his phone, doesn’t say anything and completely ignores me.
“Excuse me, do I have to pay?” I say to him. He looks up, and tells me it 50 cents. At this point I have to go pretty bad and looking back at it now, I probably could have just walked right in and gone. So I take off my bags and find my wallet thinking I must have some Euros left over from my trip in Berlin. Success! Sort of, I found 30 cents. I asked the young guy if that’s okay. He hardly looks at his phone, grumbles and says “fine”. I run into the stall to find a toilet and another bowl which I was convinced was a urinal. Didn’t think much of it.
Later on, when I got to my living quarters, I noticed both bathrooms in the flat I was living in also had these urinals. I didn’t bother to ask why they were there or why they separate, I just figured it just was. This is how naïve I am to the world. Hahahaha! I didn’t know what these “urinals” were until I got to Venice and stayed with a friend and her roommates. They are bidets! And they are everywhere in Italy (and I’m sure quite a few other countries) and very unusual in the States. I have not yet used one and I’m pretty sure I missed my chance since I’m no longer in Italy. But I can imagine that it’s a great tool after a good poo, a crazy bloody period, and cleaning up just before a lucky night in with a date. I’m not really sure. With that being said, my friends roommate stated that there is a butt/vag towel to use with these bidets.
One side for the front and one side for the back, I assume now those were the small towels I saw hanging on the towel warmers just above said bidets. I honestly don’t know how you would keep track of which corner of the towel is for the front or for the back. The roommate insisted that it doesn’t matter because your “privates” would be clean and it’s just as clean as a hand towel….. That is up for debate I think.
After a week or so after this conversation, it dawned on me in horror that perhaps I had used those butt/vag towels to dry my hands while at the flat I was staying in. Shit…. Literally.
So please, when travelling, ask questions and make sure you know what towel you should be using when drying your hands after a trip to the toilet.