Glutton-related matters: Squat Toilets

Maybe you think this is self-explanatory, but some people truly don’t know how to do this. Or some have tried, and failed miserably (and this is one endeavor where you don’t want to fail miserably, believe you me). Some people take one look and decide, I’ll just try to hold it in for as long as possible. Or they say, I’ll try to avoid that situation as much as possible and eat every night at Bacco, where they have magazine holders built into their toilets.

But sometimes, you just can’t do that (the bolognese at Bacco is no longer that good, for one thing). All Gluttons know a thorough foray into the world of street food will eventually pit you against one of these things, sooner or later. This guide is for those troubled times.

So, following, some tips from the region’s best experts in, er, Emergency Situations in Rustic Settings. Read, learn. Then wisely and well will you pee, my padwan (did you not get that “Star Wars” reference? I am a nerd).

– BUY YOUR OWN TISSUES. Ever wonder why every Thai woman a.) wears a shower cap while bathing and b.) carries a mini-pack of tissues in her purse? Well, I can’t answer the first one, because I am basically an American and we just don’t do that sort of thing. But the mini-pack of tissues is an urban necessity for EVERYONE with a urethra and/or bowels. Because you just don’t want to be caught without a pack in an emergency situation and have to resort to using the old receipts lurking at the bottom of your handbag. Not that I would know about any of that.

– ROLL UP YOUR PANTS. To above the knee. Yes, this is important. How important? Well, how much do you prize your pants? Do you want a new pair and need a reason? Are pants not a big deal for you to replace? That’s how important it is. If you are unlucky enough to be wearing a long skirt, knot it up and throw the extra fabric over your shoulder.

– FACE BACKWARDS. This one isn’t absolutely essential to your well-being, but it might prove useful. Let’s just say that, uh, gravity isn’t the only force at work when nature calls. It’s not always a straight drop down, so to speak. Facing backwards, where there’s plenty of allowance for when you are in a really, really dire situation, could save you from ruining the next person’s bathroom experience.

– STEP OUTSIDE OF THE LINES. Thai people are tiny. As a result, sometimes their toilets are tiny too. So sometimes you need to allow yourself a little more elbow room, if you know what I mean (wink wink, nudge nudge. How many more of these tiresome phrases can I add to this post? Let’s see). Of course, this only works for those step-up ones, not the ones that pop-up out of the ground.

– HOLD YOUR BREATH. This might be the most important one. @SpecialKRB recommends burrowing your nose into the neckline of your T-shirt, “like a bathroom bandit”. These places aren’t known for being where the Gods of Hygiene reside. In fact, one guy friend of mine once told me about a gas station bathroom where someone managed to take a dump in one of the urinals. That was a person who really was in some sort of emergency, I imagine. We have all been there. Sort of (I’ve never taken a dump in a urinal. I’m not lying, for once).


Filed under Asia, Bangkok, food, food stalls, restaurant, Thailand

4 responses to “Glutton-related matters: Squat Toilets

  1. caroline

    it needs 2 be cleanded looks nasty

  2. Chissa

    Yes, but this strategy only works for one specific act, not the other.

  3. Specialkrb

    That backsplash works wonders when you face backwards. 🙂

  4. james Wallace


    What do you mean when you suggest that the user face backwards? Do you mean squat facing the rear wall and not the door? (i.e., the opposite way one would normally face if one were sitting on a western toilet?)

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