Travel is broadening
At least that’s what I hear. That may be true but this coot came back a few pounds lighter than when I left on my trip. Whether it is due to all that walking, I can’t say. I do know that there was plenty of great food to eat in Venice but I kept it under control.
I don’t think that’s the real meaning of the saying however. I think they are talking about understanding people and customs as much as your waistline and I did discover some interesting things about Italians that bear serious consideration, like those long lunches. Other aspects of the Italian lifestyle leave me bewildered however. And they seem to center around the bathroom.
Venetians seemed pretty normal
In spite of the exotic environment but once I saw the bathroom in the Venice apartment, I started looking over the men pretty carefully. They seemed to have the usual equipment in the usual places but you would never know it from the convenience I found in our bathroom. I finally reached an accommodation about how to use the darn thing but they sure didn’t make it easy.
Yeah, I do know about those bidet things and I strongly believe that the left side of my device might be one of them. I always thought I knew what they were for but close examination left me baffled about how to use it. I didn’t worry about it because those things are for women but I was still curious. Thinking that my wife would automatically know what to do with it, I asked her. “Beats me.” she said. “There is no seat so I just left it alone.” No help from her.
I played with the controls without a single insight. It looks like a waste of good money to me but I’m not here to judge. There must be some secret that Italian women learn and keep to themselves. After all, if it was any good, every American bathroom would have one. No need to make it my problem.
It’s the other half of that thing that really bugs me. I know what it’s for. What I can’t figure out is how in the world is a man supposed to use it. Let me explain.
Toilets in America are designed to accommodate men and women with their different equipment. What that means is that toilet bowls are generally oval or at worst round. The little beauty in our apartment was indeed oval but it was oval in the wrong dimension (wide rather than deep) providing no accommodation for male apparatus and making taking care of business much more complex and messy.
I was unable to discuss this problem with any Italians due to my inability to speak Italian but I found myself examining the anatomies of Italian men. Were they built different from American’s? I could see that they are generally shorter but I can’t believe that that is the explanation In addition, in spite of our stereotypes, Italian men (or at least Venetians) are generally lean. Short and skinny might work on that toilet but unless Italian men are assembled differently, I don’t believe it helps that much. There is just no way to sit on that thing and do your business when it involves both number one and number two without leaving a puddle on the floor. I can’t believe that this is what anybody wants.
My solution to this problem was to stand for number one and sit for number two. It isn’t what I’m used to and certainly not my preference but not having to clean the bathroom floor was a sufficient reward. I had an opportunity to experience other bathrooms in Venice and discovered that in public places, men were not provided a bidet. And I discovered that there are some toilets that provide the proper accommodation for the male anatomy to sit comfortably. I feel much better about Italians as a result.
Whatever the criteria involved in selecting the bathroom equipment in our apartment, it seems that Italians are normal human beings after all. It does make we wonder about our hosts- the American owners of the apartment we rented. It may not be an Italian problem after all.