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Some Potty Talk

We all do it - just perhaps a bit differently in each country.

I'm hoping to eventually get a shot of a public bathroom here in Korea but I think I will save that for a picture day.

What I can tell you is that as easily as picking up chopsticks and not thinking about it has become, so too has squatting to take a piss.

For most comfort, Koreans sit on the floor. They have rubbery bending legs that allow themselves to sit in the frog position the majority of the time.

Or if they're not squatting, it's the crossed legged look, backs straight, legs intertwined.

As you get older - well as I'VE gotten older - sitting in this position has not really gotten easier but I am constanly amazed at the speed and gracefulness with which these Koreans fold-and-sit as though they were as limber as a kindergartener.

So it makes more sense to not have a toilet in most public washrooms but to have a squatter or perhaps the more polite term would be 'female urinal'.

This is perhaps the best way to describe them as well.

Imagine a urinal you would find in any male toilet. Ladies, pretty sure you can use your imagination or perhaps have at one time stumbled drunken into the men's OR our of sheer drunken need chosen NOT to wait in line and simply use the men's stall, after having someone carefully look out for you in case any males actually tried to use the bathroom (no? no one? oh, right just me then...)

So, imagine a urinal and then imagine putting it in a photocopier and shrinking it by 50%.

Now, instead of putting it on the wall, lay it on the floor.

The 'bottom sticky out bit' where the direction of the liquid then flows down the drain remains and also acts as the drain.

Now, build a stall around it.

You have your female urinal.

When faced with this for the first time, there will be three questions you will ask yourself:

Where do I sit?

Which way do I stand...er squat?

Where the hell am I and how the hell are my North American legs ever going to master this?

(not NECESSARILY) in that order.

Ever been camping? Okay, well then you know how to pee in Korea. Just like peeing in the bush. Except there are no bears. At least not that I've seen. And you don't have any 'emergency' leaves so BE SURE there is toilet paper otherwise, you'll be outta luck.

It shouldn't take long to figure out which way you should squat. The ceramic piece that comes out of the ground like a dome (usually the bottom bit of the male urinal) acts as a deflection device for...well...as a female you probably have never really THOUGHT about the speed at which your stream can flow. And it can get height too. Like you're going up on the backboards to slam down that rebound. Your stuff got game, yo.

So, all of this is very overwhelming, in addition to all the OTHER things that are overwhelming you when you arrive in a strange country.

But four months in, I'm going 'camping style' like it's nobody's business and like I've done it before a gazillion times.

And it occured to me last night, how totally unforeign it has become and how I would probably forget to tell a new person here about them before they went in. And I had to think to myself, is that a good thing? That squatting has become second nature?

Well, at least you know you can always take me camping.

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