Toilets and Bathrooms
Street Wise
Sexual Matters
Sensitive Subjects
Village vs.Town
Body Language




Bathroom and Toilets

There are several things that strike a foreigner as different in a Turkish toilet. To start with, the hot and cold taps usually have a joint outlet. This is to mix the water inside the pipe to the right temperature. The outlet is also long and wide, and distanced from the basin as far as possible.

The reason is that all Turks have what is almost a phobia about not washing their face, or body in still water. It must be running water for them to feel themselves properly cleaned. For this reason, they never fill the basin with water to wash their face, or the bath tub to soak in. In the tub, you will see either a plastic or copper container which they use to pour water over themselves while taking a bath, or a shower which simplifies the same exercise. For this reason too, a lot of foreigners are bewildered by the absence of wash basin and bath plugs in Turkey.

If you have to go in you hosts' toilet, they will never expect you to wipe your hands on a towel already there. As soon as you shut yourself in, they will knock on the door to say that a clean towel is attached to the door handle. Indeed, when you open the door again to get it, you will see that you have been treated to the best that they have, one usually stored away in a special drawer with all the other guest towels, laced, embroidered, and fragrant with the scent of the bags of dry lavender beneath which it is kept.

Next to the toilet, you will notice a flip-top waste paper bin, or something similar in appearance. This is for used toilet paper, and is emptied regularly by the hostess. You may at first feel uncomfortable with this method of disposal if you come from a country with a high pressure sewerage system but it avoids the possibility of a blocked toilet and the likely cost of a plumber to come to the house and clear the system.