Tissues & Bidets

Monday, August 31, 2015

(This post has been in the works for almost a week now, I began school so my free time is dedicated to my studies. Hopefully working on a single post for an extended period of time will help them improve.)

I'm going to go ahead and assume most of my readers don't know too much about Omani (or Arab) culture in general. With a mix of research and real, personal life experience, I'm going to begin writing a few fun and informative posts (but mostly fun). Hopefully throughout my stay, I will continuously learn and experience new things to post.

During my first couple days at my new home I couldn't help but notice there were at least two boxes of tissues in every room. Look to the left, tissue box. Look to the right, tissue box. Bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, you name it, tissue box. Even when we ate dinner (only at home. . .THUS FAR) I spotted no paper towels or napkins, just good ol' tissues. In the beginning I thought it was just a thing at my new home. So I let the questions go. A couple days into my stay, we go visit HD's parents and it's the same thing. Tissue boxes. So I have questions now, what's up with the four hundred thousand tissue boxes? Oh, did I mention some are not just in their original packaging. They have silky, tasseled, and embroidered, covers.

I wanted to take a picture of the vast array of tissues, but really that would be too much time. Hope you really take a moment and understand the amount of tissues. 

I asked about the tissues and they said "oh, grandmom just insists on tissues in every room." Which sounds like it's more personal taste than a norm. Then I ask about the tissues at the other house and they said "well, I just grew up that way." So now, is it a coincidence both grandmoms love tissues? Well yes, because tissues just sound like a grandmom thing. BUT THEN last night I went over to someones house for dinner, and lo and behold: tissue boxes. And no grandmother present. And although I have only been to three homes. It is enough evidence for me to assume that every single Omani household maintains at least five open boxes (that's a very low number thirteen is more realistic) of tissues at a time. I am also sure that it has caught on to non locals, because I am sure to have multiple tissue boxes available to me when I return home. (Update since I typed this: they are in every car too. Even one of the cars at the house has a tissue box from the actual dealership. Meaning, it's def a thing)  I need to get into the tissue business. I have some ideas. (edit 9/3: embroidered tissue box at the bank, right next to the Omani coffee and dates)

Another thing slightly specific to the Muslim world (not referring back to the tissues) are the Islamic showers. Most of us have probably heard of bidets, and I say most of us because you're probably American if you're reading this. If you are American, you know they typically don't exist in our neck of the woods, practically non existent. It's a sort of appliance (can't think of a better word) that is used to properly (up for debate?) clean yourself after using the restroom, especially number two. The classic bidet we are more familiar with is usually a little basin next to the toilet that sprays up. The kind in Oman is a hose with a sprayer connected to a tap in the wall Every bathroom/restroom in Oman, public or private, has an Islamic shower (as seen below). It's probably the law to provide one in public bathrooms. Here, these little beauties are a necessity. Not just because they're especially anal (edit: no pun intended) about their cleanliness, but it's a part of their faith. Hence, the Islamic in Islamic showers.

Islamic shower related stories:

HPs usually look up to see if there is a bidet of some sort when they book hotels (abroad). Once they forgot to check, or assumed, and they arrived and none was available. So every time they used the bathroom they would take a shower.

I had a friend, in the states, who would take a water bottle to restroom when they would go. And once someone asked them, as a joke, "what, do you always get thirsty in there."

I saw the bidets in Argentina, but I didn't have the courage to try them. I researched the reason as to why Americans never picked them up. There are a few reasons, the one standing out to me was rejecting them because of their European origin. . . of course. They are just too convenient, who just uses toilet paper anymore? ;) I will have to do like HD's visiting friend. Pick up ten or so and take them back home with me.

#Tissues&IslamicShowers2k15 #ISwearByTheTissueLife


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