Monday, May 28, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Toilets/Toiletten

American (

Oh toilets! An important part of everyday life in any culture. The USA and Germany are very similar when it comes to bathrooms. There are no holes to go in, instead even public toilets are on average rather clean, toilet paper can be found everywhere, and white porcelain is the most common. However, there are a few differences that we want to point out.

German (

1) Flushing: In this case we both have to agree that German wins the flushing game. Every German toilet has two buttons to push when it comes time to flush. One is small (for going number one as we say in the USA) and one is large (for going number two :) ). It does not matter if the buttons are above the toilet or on the toilet itself. This is very rare to find in the USA. Instead, the US uses a handle to flush (not found in Germany) and the same amount of water is used no matter if you go number one or number two. The German system makes sense and is definitely environmentally friendly.

Toilette Frau (
2) Paying to go potty: Here is an area in which the USA beats Germany hands down. In Germany, public restrooms charge anywhere from 20 cents to one euro to go to the bathroom. This is usually not the case in restaurants but she has experienced having to pay to go even when she had eaten at the restaurant. At rest stops it is common to have some type of gate where you must deposit your money to get through. Other bathrooms have a person sitting outside ready to take your money. Most places (such as in malls, train stations, and public toilets in cities) consider this money a "tip" for the person working in the bathroom but it is frowned upon to walk by without giving at least something. There are even some bathrooms where a dish for the money is out but no one is there to take the money. It amazes her that most people still pay and no one seems to take the money just sitting there.

In the USA, being able to use a toilet for free is considered a basic right. This is why she is so shocked that in Germany you are supposed to pay. He has taught her that many times you can walk by and are not forced to pay but it still makes her feel uncomfortable. What do you do when you have no small coins? Ask for change from a 50 euro bill? What if you do not have any money on you but really need to go? It all seems like too much to ponder for just going to the bathroom.

3) Peeing standing up: She thought it was a joke the first time she saw a sign telling boys to pee sitting down in Germany. Really?? Isn't being able to stand one of the benefits of being male? There does seem to be a large percentage of Germans (usually through the persuasion and nagging of women) who sit to tinkle. This is completely unheard of in the USA and I think men in America would start a movement against women if anyone suggested that they need to sit. There is not anything really else to add to this strangeness, other than he wants to point out that he thinks it is crazy and he does not take part :)

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