May 11 2011

Warm jets

What could be more captivating than toilet paper? Almost everything, it turns out, but for some reason I’m still stuck on advertising for Quilted Northern tee-pee. O happy day, I found a new version of the TV ad I mocked in yesterday’s post. It features “Victoria,” a TV commercial mom — 30-ish, white, able-bodied, ostensibly hetero, casually attired for domestic activity, averagely but not threateningly good-looking in a wholesome, Protestant sort of way — speaking frankly and openly about how she “needs” toilet paper that she can “trust.”

She “trusts” Quilted Northern to keep her — and her family — clean.

Toilet paperJill: Oh, Seventh Generation toilet paper! Your label says you’re 100% recycled, but can I trust you for a confident clean?

Seventh Generation: Tcha! Did you even read my label? Our company isn’t run by a CEO, it’s run by a “Chief Inspired Protagonist”. Buying me means you “care enough to help make the world a healthier and safer place for this and the next seven generations.” What could be more trustworthy than that?

Jill: But Quilted Northern says —

Seventh Generation: That guy! Are you seriously telling me you’re falling for a 3-ply? Do you have any idea what that will do to the planet? You’re practically signing a death warrant for 8,297 polar bear cubs every time you wipe your butt with that shit.

Jill: But are you soft enough, for me AND my family? I need that in a toilet paper.

Seventh Generation: OK, sure. I’m just a 2-ply. I guess I’m a little rough around the edges. I don’t have any of your fancy so-called Plush-Quilts®. But I’m embossed, dammit! See that picture of a puffy cloud on my wrapper? It proves I’ve got improved softness! Can’t you believe that?

Jill: I don’t know what to believe anymore, Seventh Generation! I’m still so worried about breakthrough. For some reason I’ve got a nagging sensation that being clean is sooooo important.

Quilted Northern: Jill’s right, Seventh Generation. “Breakthrough” isn’t just some phony dire condition we made up to sell toilet paper. Every housewife knows that she can’t ever be clean enough down there. I’m just here to help reinforce those admirable though unattainable aspirations to domestic perfection through spotless-butt consciousness-raising. And if you’re concerned about the environment, think of the water you’ll save by not bothering to wash your hands after using our guaranteed breakthrough-free product!

Seventh Generation: Don’t fall for his gratuitous ostentation! Quilted Northern lacks the spiritual substance of Native Wisdom. He couldn’t quote from The Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy if it were the last Great Law on Earth, but I can: “In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Put that in your butt and wipe it!

Jill: Don’t you have anything to say?

Bidet: Who, me? I don’t have to say anything. I know you’ll always come back to me and my warm jets.


1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Orange

    Friend of mine swears by his Biffy brand bidet. Why risk breakthrough shit stains on the hands you eat with when you can just hose off your poopy ass each time? If only Quilted Northern Family-Tending Women knew how much cleaner their dry-wiped family could be!

    When we asked the Biffy Man if he used TP to dry off after the hosing, he said no, he has a special butt towel in his bathroom. It’s the one embroidered with the word “Guest.”

    I think I use Charmin Ultra Mega Roll. If it came in a Turbo variety, I’d have to switch to that.

  2. Mary Tracy9

    She’s lost it, she has!

    Also, “bidets” are not good for women. For obvious reasons.

  3. Fictional Queen

    Well,Iranian toilets are squat toilets with a hose next to them to wash your ass with water.I can’t imagine only wiping my ass with toilet paper!Just saying,hose isn’t a very bad idea.That’s how our toilets are here.

  4. Jill

    “[…] ‘bidets’ are not good for women.”

    This is one of the most fantastic things I have ever read. Mary Tracy9, are you perchance an octogenarian Catholic priest masquerading as a patriarchy blamer?

    And the quotation marks? Why o why?

  5. Rachel

    Those reasons aren’t so obvious to me. Is this like that time Newt Gingrich defended excluding women from combat because “they could be wading in hip deep water or mud and you, you know, they get infections”? Not an exact quote but the basic thrust is accurate, as well as timeless in its astonishing ignorance of basic biology.

  6. simone

    The bidet (or hose, or jug of water) is the winner every time for effective butt cleaning, without killing 2,973 polar bears in the process. Go bidet!

  7. Samantha B.

    My 12-year-old son’s comment on the ad to which you refer: “Is this an actual problem? I’m confused.”

    My reply: “No, it isn’t. You are right to be confused. Blame the Patriarchy.”

  8. Sarah

    Samantha, your son is awesome. Seriously, who has problems with poo getting on their hands or elsewhere on a regular basis, barring a medical problem? I mean, these are first-world commercials targeting first-world people, that presumably have access to fresh running water right next to their amazing, flushing toilets. If you have so much poo that a wadded-up piece of whatever’s handy isn’t going to take care of the problem, just deal with it and then head to the sink, and then maybe see a doctor.

  9. puncturedbicycle

    Am I alone in feeling that there is nothing in my life right now which is not soft enough? Despite not generally requiring chemically extra-softened, three-ply or quilted varieties of anything, against all odds I remain unchafed.

    And as Sarah says, maybe if the old-fangled wad of two-ply whatever isn’t sufficient, the problem isn’t with yer tp.

  10. speedbudget

    Maybe Mary Tracy9 is referring to the fact that many women were admonished from the first toilet training attempt to wipe from front to back so as to avoid infection, and given the fact that bidets run the water from rear to front, that might cause problems.

    I can’t believe I’m parsing bidet action.

    You all with your toilet paper. Pfft. I’m on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Mn3OfkDgEho

    Really I use Scott extra soft. I used to use Scott regular, but honestly. It’s like wiping with air. Still septic safe!

  11. derbila

    Any bidet I’ve ever used sends the water straight up, not “back-to-front”, and you’ve got the option to position yourself any way you wish. Bidets are heaven when you’ve got the ‘rhoids.

  12. Melanie

    My mother cleaned houses when I was a child, and my sister and I would come along with her sometimes. We were at this really fancy place once and there was a bidet in the bathroom. My sister asked me what it was, and I told her that it looked like a water fountain. You can probably guess what happened next. Sorry sis!

  13. Beth

    Egad I needed that, thank you. I just read an anarchosadomaschochism zine and it made me want to cry. Turns out reading a conversation between toilet rolls was the perfect antidote.

  14. virago

    Speedbudget, I don’t live far from the Kohler company, and they have a neat display store of all the different high tech bathroom equipment. I believe they had a bidet that squirted water from the front as well. They also had toilets that analyzed your poop, heated your ass, and many more. It was quite interesting to say the least. Unfortunately, most of those fancy toilets cost thousands so most people will have to stick with the two ply.

  15. nails

    Why doesn’t brawny start making toilet paper? I’m confident a bearded lumberjack could prevent breakthrough better than charmin puppies.

  16. Bonnie

    Charmin: Your toilet paper isn’t nearly strong and soft enough.

    Bonnie: Uhhh wut?

    Charmin: Here, check out our current commercials. It has cute cartoon bears!

    Bonnie: Bears? Bears?!?? Like, bears that shit in the woods?

    Charmin: :D

    Bonnie: *enrolls in Netflix in order to avoid TV commercials*

  17. yttik

    I prefer the bears that can’t pass “inspection” because they’ve got little pieces of toilet paper stuck to their behinds. The guy who asks his wife to throw him a roll of toilet paper and it’s so rough it takes off a piece of his head, is funny too.

    Seriously, ten years from now we’re going to have kids in therapy trying to get over their toilet paper issues.

  18. Lovepug

    I’ve taken to planting bugs and hidden cameras in the bathroom because I just cannot trust my current brand of toilet paper.

  19. Frumious B

    I’ve been told that bidets are actually awesome for washing blood out of pubic hair.

  20. Sarah

    Lovepug, I would like to award you a comment gold star.

  21. pheenobarbidoll

    Ah, seventh generation, I see.


    Pay attention to #7.

    Nothing like appropriation via ass wipe.

  22. Nora

    I’ll never forget reading a comment someone left on Shapely Prose way back when saying that they were too obese to thoroughly wipe their ass, so they just hopped into the shower when necessary.

    I was SHOCKED. It hadn’t even occurred to me that people could just do whatever worked for them without fearing the ~consequences~ that I had dreamed up.

    Also, lol at “toilet paper I can trust.” I don’t know about y’all, but I like to think of cleaning my ass as something that does *not* involve a leap of faith.

  23. pheenobarbidoll


    Jesus Christ. Click on the picture of the toilet paper and look closely at the 3rd pic. In the upper right side, there is a fucking quote from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy.

    For Fucks Sake.

  24. pheenobarbidoll

    Seventh Generation: Don’t fall for his gratuitous ostentation! Quilted Northern lacks spiritual substance. He couldn’t quote from The Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy if it were the last Great Law on Earth, but I can: “In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

    This is what I miss when I see “seventh generation” right off and go blind with rage.

  25. tinfoil hattie

    I wanna bidet. Why don’t U.S. bathrooms have bidets as a matter of course? After all, half the population – uh, never mind. Just forget it.

  26. ginger

    The idea of buckets and hoses for post-excretion cleansing has a certain appeal, but when I visited India I was sort of freaked out wondering whether the little bucket or hose still had Strangers’ Poop Remnants on it. Also I feared I would clumsily misdirect the stream and end up with socks full of My and Possibly Strangers’ Poop Remnant Water.

    All that said, I suspect that all this advertising talk about cleanliness and safety reflects our current national paranoia about race, religion, and (paradoxically) terror. If you see something, say something, especially if what you see is or might be excrement or menstrual fluid. All that language of “breakthrough” and “security” and “confidence”. Fear of a black planet, indeed.

  27. Triste

    Are bidets those fucking things that shoot up jets of water and clean your ass? Oh man, I fucking used that shit when I was visiting Japan and it was so awesome. And some of the hotels had a fucking blowdryer thing installed in the toilet (BLOWDRYER. IN THE TOILET) to dry off afterwards. Definitely the most fantastic fecal experience of my life.

    Interestingly, it’s also common practice (in airports and places with huge bathrooms with lots of stalls particularly) in Japan for ladies’ rooms to have a button you press that makes a sort of whooshing sound, like a weird recorded version of a toilet flushing. This way Japanese women can take a shit without offending fellow Japanese women, also in the process of shitting, with the horror of the sounds of them taking a shit. Crazy!

  28. Milly goes for a walk

    Wiping your bum can also be a bit of a challenge when you’re heavily pregnant. A bidet would be nice for any after birth after effects too. I had only a minor labial tear after the homebirth of my daughter 6 mths ago and was told to flush with water while peeing. It was very awkward and painful trying to get the water in the right spot while on the toilet. I ended up peeing in the bath with tap running. Glad that didn’t last too long! When I was ready to go back on the toilet, I still found our enviro toilet paper verrry scratchy. Oh for a bidet.

  29. minervaK

    Just came over to cleanse my palate after accidental exposure to a fetid “damn, my dong is huge” article on “feminist” website Jezebel, and feel vastly better.

    The thing I love about this ad is how these wholesome ladies use the word “you,” as in, “it has to get you clean.” The syntactical replacement of “your butthole” with just “you” feels so, so icky. I can’t even say why.

  30. random_anomaly

    Prevent breakthrough – wipe your ass with the hideously cutesy Charmin bears.

  31. Treefinger

    In the UK, they changed Charmin’s name to Cushelle and its new mascot is a koala that looks like an creepy old man. Give me those bears back any day.

  32. Kei

    This sort of thing gives me major cognitive dissonance at the moment.* We’re only just getting sewerage back after a major earthquake in February (the New Zealand one, not the Japan one in March) and honestly I could not care less whether my toilet paper is two or three ply! (As long as it’s not one ply, which is a thing of great evil.) I spent weeks crapping in a long drop or portaloo while wearing a dust mask and then washing my hands from a fresh water spring on the side of the road that was probably the water flowing from broken mains pipes and it was surprisingly not that bad, so I think I can deal with a toilet paper that isn’t as soft as baby bunnies and kitten bellies.

    *Seriously, we lost power for two days and when it came back my parents turned the tv on and suddenly I was being informed by successful-looking women that a cup of coffee from McCafe was a necessity. Oh, really? I find that water that won’t kill me or make me seriously ill is a necessity, but that’s just me, you know. What do I know? I don’t even worry about whether I’m pretty enough for boys to look at.

  33. speedbudget

    virago: You mean someone already invented heated toilet seats? Damn. That was my million-dollar idea. After sitting in a few cars with heated seats and having to make a desperate run for it, I was thinking I had a good idea.

    I can’t wait for the Cosmo Quiz: Can You Trust Your Toilet Paper? Find Out!

  34. Jill

    “The syntactical replacement of ‘your butthole’ with just ‘you’ feels so, so icky. I can’t even say why.”

    I know, right? It’s gotta be a hilarious job, writing ad copy for a product used to wipe feces off anuses.

    At least the target demographic — the Moms of Today — are tough enough to be able to endure the words “toilet paper” instead of the euphemism of yore, “bath tissue”. You can tell these moms are made of sterner stuff than pre-feminist moms because they wear untucked shirts with capri pants and sensible flats, and when their husbands and toddlers throw the contents of blenders all over the kitchen, they don’t get pissed off and cry “my clean floor!”; they just very capably reach for the Ultrasponge/Ultramop/Ultratowel with an indulgent shake of the head.

  35. Comrade Svilova

    Yes, that commercial where the husband runs the exploding blender and the wife cleans up the mess: SO empowerful!

  36. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Dang! A heated toilet seat, a spritz of warm water directed at your nethers, and a blast of warm air to keep everything dry and comfy. What next, a little white dove to come and take away the poo?

  37. Roving Thundercloud

    Antoinette, thank you thank you for the little white dove. That was the magic key I needed today to crack and shake off the loathsome shell of I Am a Dismal Parent Day.

  38. Fictional Queen

    Water running back to front doesn’t do any harm,that’s how you clean your ass with the hose in Iranian toilets!Works just fine.

  39. humanbein

    Since returning to America from Italy, I’m in a state of constant shock at the idea that an entire society can walk around without cleaning their asses with soap and water after taking a shit, and who think they are actually clean if they simply scrape a piece of paper over their nether parts.

    I can’t resign myself to the fact that I have to live in a place so primitive that a bidet isn’t found in every home.

  40. tinfoil hattie

    Roving Thundercloud: I guarantee you are NOT a dismal parent. You are having a Dismal Parent DAY, which is not the same thing. Hell, you could even be having a Dismal Parent Moment, which feels like an eternity.

    Be of good cheer. The kid(s) need(s) to have something to talk about in therapy someday.

  41. Jill

    Heck, I hose down, with warm water and organic vegan baby soap, my horse’s poop chute/vulva/udder daily; a mere wipe-down with a bit of tissue isn’t good enough for her, so why would it be good enough for me? Horse shit is way less gross than human shit, too.


  42. Barbara P

    Thanks tinfoil hattie!

    My reading of your comment fortuitously coincided with my (very recent, as in just a few minutes ago) Dismal Parenting Moment, and made me feel much better.

  43. tinfoil hattie

    There’s nothing I love better than talkin’ shit with my peeps. While wearing a brightly colored bikini, of course.

  44. goblinbee

    Ever since living in the Czech Republic for six months, it has been my dream to buy a bidet; they are fantastic! With the ones I’ve used, you can sit either direction (facing the controls, or the other way around, like on a toilet), and are in complete control of where the water goes. Anyone can clean anything they want! My brother (who has lived there for twenty years) says he’s even seen people wash their feet in them.

    Milly, they always sent me home from the hospital (after giving birth) with a large squirt bottle to fill with warm water. It worked perfectly!

  45. Occasional Lurker

    “The syntactical replacement of ‘your butthole’ with just ‘you’ feels so, so icky. I can’t even say why.”

    Extremely icky. It’s done all the time with other unacceptable body parts, too.

    “Feminacitrusoceanbreezepine sanitary hygiene products keep you smelling fresh and clean.”

    “Steve was arrested for touching himself in public.”

  46. ginger

    Aw, that’s just synecdoche.

  47. Dilly

    God, Twisty, I love you more than life itself.

  48. Jill

    “Aw, that’s just synecdoche.”

    Yeah, but synecdoche can be a particularly obfuscatory device, and is often used in the service of evil. Women, for instance, are “slits”, “skirts”, “pieces of ass”. Universal Truth and Beauty is “America”. Shit like that.

  49. Montag

    Charmin’s ads for Ultra Strong are fantastic. They’ve come up with a family-friendly euphemism for dingleberries. They call them “pieces left behind.” They’ve really hit upon my main concern with the cheaper toilet tissues.

  50. buttercup

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to fit a bidet into my woefully tiny midcentury bathroom. Thanks, y’all.

  51. Jezebella

    Buttercup, I’ve been having that same daydream for two days now. My 1950 bathroom is completely cramped already. Alas.

  52. pheenobarbidoll

    A toilet/bidet combo would work for tiny bathrooms, though they seem to be pretty expensive for a shitter.

  53. Jezebella

    True. I should probably fix the hole in my roof before I save up for a fancy shitter, eh?

  54. buttercup

    Yeah, might have to fix the floor tiles that are like playing one of those cheesy plastic sliding number games before considering a toilet/bidet combo. Although the potential for freaking out the cat might be worth it.

  55. ruby

    Is MaryTracy9 confusing the bidet with douching? The bidet is a little bit of heaven, the douche is the devil.

  56. Occasional Lurker

    Technically, substituting “you” for “butthole” is a reverse synechdoche, with the whole standing for the part (totum pro parte), rather than the part for the whole (pars pro toto).

  57. Jill

    Nay, synecdoche goes both ways.

  58. Cheesy Wotsit

    Hi, I’m sorry to be off topic, but there was a trans post (which was fantastic btw) over here and it made no mention of agender/genderqueer people and I just wanted to say we’re here, we’re non binary, we need to be acknowledged and people need to be educated about the fact that we exist!

    This was perfect:
    “My third point strikes a somewhat different and theoretical note. It has long been the contention of all expert spinster aunts that the notion of gender is itself a fiction promoted by the usual hegemonic patriarchal forces as an instrument of oppression. A person can only be “trans” if there are rigidly enforced gender roles from which and to which one might transition. Obviously, post-revolutionary society will not be burdened by tiresome gender constructs at all; nobody will have to become anything because everyone will just be whatever they are. Meanwhile, we gotta stop slapping the Four Ds on anyone who fails to fit the stupid misogynist gender binary.”

    Thank you.

  59. io

    Since we’re well into the TMI anecdotes, I have used my bathtub for years and years as a bidet. It requires some flexible positioning, though one of the shower-hose things would work well, too. I bleach the bathtub while in the shower so I can take baths without worry about bacteria. I carry around those individually wrapped “feminine” wipes for when I’m out and about, but they’re terrible for the environment and leave behind chemicals, no pun intended. Don’t know what I’ll do if/when I’m incapacitated to the point of losing that flexibility– I’m clinically OCD about the poo (IBTP/advertisements?). Wish I had a bidet, much more convenient.

  60. slade

    Please, just don’t buy any Georgia Pacific paper products. This company is owned by the Koch (pronounced Coke) Brothers who pray to the Satan of Patriarchy. They are evil.

    That would be Northern, Angel Soft, Mardi Gras, Dixie Cups, and others. DO NOT BUY THESE PRODUCTS. Thank you.

    Maybe the answer is a poor women’s bidet: a squirt bottle filled with warm water. I’m going to try that someday.

    I’ve never had the luxury of using a bidet. I do have a lo-flow toilet though and like it.

    OK….do you have to dry off w/ ‘something’ after using the bidet?

    Damn shame we weren’t built like dogs and cats. Just think how busy da boys would be…hell, probably would never have had to endure one war. Alas.

  61. Ottawa Gardener

    I remember well the poor woman bidet post partum. It works well. Why hadn’t I thought of using it for regular bathroom routines? Thank you Slade.

  62. S Mukherjee

    If only Typhoid Mary had used Quilted Northern 3-ply tissue! There would have been no need for her to wash her hands, and thus no typhoid germs would have been transmitted!

  63. Owly

    My cousin, who lives in Japan, has the most luxurious toilet I have ever encountered. There were so many options with hilarious little symbols to go along. The button with a generic-lady outline made the sprayer extend further and point upwards for front-to-back cleaning. As far as I could tell (I can’t read Japanese), there were multiple spraying options, and I think there was a button for warm water.

    I still had to use TP to dry off though. Do people normally use wash cloths?

    The seat was also heated, which freaked me out when I used the toilet at 3 am. I figured someone must have been sitting on it for a long time to leave that kind of residual butt-heat. This was tough for me as I am psychologically incapable of sitting in warm seats, I hate them so much. I don’t care who gets offended, I wait for seats to cool down.

  64. Fictional Queen

    @Owly: now I know I’m not alone! I don’t hate them as much as you do but warm seats feel icky.
    I dry off with a tissue!

  65. TwissB

    @ Lovepug
    “I’ve taken to planting bugs and hidden cameras in the bathroom because I just cannot trust my current brand of toilet paper.” As Sarah said, post-of-the-day winner.

    If it’s not illegal to cross-ad, I think it might be cool to wipe with the Geico Gecko – and get a nice bogus discount on my auto insurance every time.

  66. Galatea

    To add to all the hoopla about Japanese toilets: when a Japanese family of my acquaintance moved to Massachusetts, the most difficult part of the move for them was obtaining a “proper toilet” that would do all these things. They weren’t wealthy enough to have one shipped, but eventually they found a specialty importer in New York City and drove it home.

    Then, of course, the plumber they’d engaged refused to install it.

    @Owly: To dry off, one of those multiple spray options was most likely warm dry air.

  67. TwissB

    “and get a nice bogus discount on my auto insurance every time” for being a Good Drier, of course.

  68. redpeachmoon

    Please Jill! Cast the jaundiced spinster eye apon the recent IMF rapist? I need your unique perspective.
    As does the rest of the world.
    It’s all I want to read!

  69. Comrade Svilova

    Especially with many media outlets referring to the alleged rape as a “sex scandal” and taking a oh-so-reminiscent-of-the-Polanski-rape stance that Americans are just too Puritan to understand that sexy sex is sexy. Or something. I barf and BTP.

  70. Daisy Deadhead

    I come from people who saved old corn cobs for that purpose; dirty hands was the least of it.

    The first time I went to my great-grandmother’s outhouse (I was 7), there was old newspaper in there, and I was told to use that. I did, but it left newsprint stains on my ass… my mother sighed and said since I’d been raised in the city, I didn’t know WHICH part of the newspaper to use (not the advertisements; heavier ink on those).

    She was obviously just SO disappointed in me.

    This is a great conversation, wish I’d gotten here earlier!

  71. Mary Tracy9

    I used the quotes for “bidet” because I took the word to be either French or Spanish, and didn’t know it was a word in English too.

    And bidets are not good for women because… well, one word: cystitis. And, I would imagine, other potential infections of an area men don’t have to worry about.
    We used to have them in my house.

    Oh, and I’m a radical feminist, yo!

  72. Tehomet

    @Mary Tracy9: Bidets are really just the same sinks/washbasins that we use after using the lavatory, except easier to use for the lower half of the body. They are no more likely than a shower or a bath, which do exactly the same job, to increase the risk of infection; rather they decrease it. So fear not.

  73. Jill

    Well, I guess it all depends on how, precisely, one directs the warm jets, and whether the fluid used is clean water or raw sewage.

  74. virago

    “The first time I went to my great-grandmother’s outhouse (I was 7), there was old newspaper in there, and I was told to use that.”

    My grandma said they used the old Sears catalogue in her day. Apparently, it was more like soft paper than the shiny hard stuff it is today.

  75. ginger

    You’re right about synecdoche as reductionist/obfuscatory rhetorical device. That’s definitely why it’s super-useful for insults (prick, asshole, etc.).

  76. speedbudget

    My mom went on a teacher exchange to Siberia. The school bathrooms didn’t have toilet paper, just students’ old class notebooks.

  77. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    This is, without a doubt, the shittiest thread I’ve read here.

  1. This TV ad is also puke « I Blame The Patriarchy

    […] for stuff. A while back, you might remember, it was “time” to get real about toilet paper. Now it’s “time” to “hail the V,” which we never would have known […]

Comments have been disabled.