The thought of running out of toilet paper is enough to induce deep anxiety nightmares in the western world. But in South East Asia, toilet paper is a rarity that is confined to areas with a large tourist presence.
In the countries of Thailand and around South East Asia, the bum gun rules!
For the uninitiated, the bum gun is a small power spray that hangs off the wall, usually beside the cistern. Its purpose may not be initially obvious but, instead of paper, you use the spray to clean your nether regions after using the toilet. If toilet paper is ever used, then it is only there to dry yourself afterwards and then that paper is put in a waste bin, not flushed.
Now here comes the fun.
A downside of travelling is that you’re in a different hotel on most nights and you don’ have time to bond with your bum gun. This may sound odd but, to be used effectively, you need to understand and befriend your bum gun as every one is different in both fortitude and dispersion.
Fatigue is constant travelling companion and weariness can make you a little too casual and forget your normal, prudent, caution when using a strange bum gun for the first time.
The primary variable is pressure; imagine your granny’s rusted garden tap that hasn’t been turned for 15 years and is reluctant to even dribble. Well that’s one end of the range and not uncommon. There is an art to employing a dribbler and to extracting the tiniest bit of efficacy from it. Sometimes it’s short bursts to use any little bit of pressure that builds up behind the head, sometimes blocking off large portions of the nozzle to create some semblance of pressure is the way forward and sometimes it’s a bit of both.
You need to learn these skills as employment of the “wet fingers” cleaning method is something to be deployed as a last, last and very final method. Thankfully though, there’s a lot that can be done before you need to go down this path.
Now let’s move to the opposite end of the spectrum and it's time to imagine a commercial HGV power wash.
is the universally understood exclamation from the bathroom to indicate a lack of caution has been met with a powerwash variant and should be seen as a signal to any partner that a tentative approach needs to be employed to avoid a similar involuntary enema.
If you're fortunate, a powerwash bum gun will be coupled to a tap type mechanism but most modern
The dispersion pattern is a secondary factor but is also important in determining the optimum range of use.
Too wide and too far away then you're going to be spending the next 5 minutes drying the backs of your legs from the water you've just sprayed all over the wide area of your buttocks. Too close and that tight dispersion pattern can be as probing as a cold steel rod!
But, generally speaking, it's best to start a little wide and work closer.
The final factor is the rogue jet.
All shower heads over a couple of years old have at least one hole that goes its own way and bum guns are no different.
The only real difference is that your carefully cosseted undercarriage areas can be a little sensitive to a single jet that now seems to get a disproportionately high pressure and becomes a water needle to spike you exactly in the areas that have just spent a number of days not-so-gently rubbing salty sweat back and forth across soft flesh in equatorial heat. This tiny needle of sadism will actively seek out any small area of abrasion and inflict pain that I only ever associated with a dentist.
But, even after all of that, better than paper!