the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Blaming Mr. Whipple

Although it’s not expressly covered in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, and I’m not sure that a jury would ever hear my case if I tried to sue, I still maintain that I have a natural born right to use as much toilet paper as I goddamn well please.

And it’s not that I use an exorbitant amount of toilet paper in the first place. I grew up in the 80s, and so I know that wasting natural resources such as toilet paper will only make our country more vulnerable to a communist invasion.

I’d say that I’m a moderate-to-occasionally-excessive tiolet paper user, and I’ve tried to cut back on the waddage in recent years. It’s just, there are some sessions of congress, for lack of a better phrase, that require more than two squares of absorbent cotton wipes.

cha cha cha charmin

And what I don’t understand is how some men expect women to use as little toilet paper as they do, when all a man has to do is a little flicking or shaking of the dew off the lily, as it were, to de-moisten after urination. I don’t even think that most men fully grasp the notion that women have to sit down everytime we use the restroom. God help us all if men had to sit down everytime they had to wee wee; I’d never see my husband again.

So we’re sitting around the dinner table last night at my mom’s house, and somehow this whole topic comes up, and I can’t help but point out that I’m always the one replacing the toilet paper roll. And my mom totally understands because she doesn’t think my step-father even uses toilet paper, and if he does it’s only one to two squares per day, the horror!

And my Granny, who’s sitting across the table eating chicken and dumplings, she can’t stand conflict, so she jumps to the men’s defense, “Wait a minute, y’all look here, all you need is this much,” and she measures a tiny space between her wrist and her elbow. This is coming from a woman who not only saves empty Cool Whip� tubs but also stashes them under her bed in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

And the thing is, Granny grew up in the depression. It’s a well known fact that people had smaller poops during the depression, and therefore needed less toilet paper. People today have new millenium-sized bowel movements, specimens fueled by Code Red Mountain Dew and industrial strength licorice Nibs�. Our poops are so big that the free market has provided at least two dozen brands for all our wiping needs. In the economy of poop, it’s totally a buyer’s market.

And as long as I have a choice among all those brands, as long as I can buy toilet paper in packs of 78 rolls, which admittedly can be a bit cumbersome when the only place left to stash them is in the crisper, I’ll be lobbying for The Right To Wipe My Ass With Wreckless Abandon Act, a law that would make it illegal for a husband to look astonished when the new toilet paper roll he just retreived from the closet disappears in less than two hours.

  • Zan

    2003/01/20 at 9:28 am

    I am one of those men who asks why the new roll (often installed in the morning before I go to work) is down to 3 squares by the time I get home. Ok, maybe this is an exaggeration. There’s sometimes 5 squares left. I just don’t understand why it takes 635 squares to get clean and dry! It seems that if one were at home, stepping 2 feet into the SHOWER might make more sense. Why not feel clean all over?
    I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  • jen

    2003/01/20 at 9:30 am

    Amen sister. Other toilet paper facts: one ply does not end up being cheaper – we just use more. Rough textured toilet paper is a crime against humanity. If you want a happy girl, give her soft toilet paper.

    Thank you for addressing this oft overlooked issue of toilet paper usage.

  • dooce

    2003/01/20 at 9:32 am

    Zan: you are *such* a man.

  • Mo

    2003/01/20 at 9:32 am

    Damn straight. Though I prefer Quilted Northern. Less squishy.

  • nita

    2003/01/20 at 9:35 am

    And my fella complains about the toilet paper usage around here, saying that “women use more”. Well, duh. You just don’t want to be an adult with diaper rash.

    But get this, when you compare the usage in the only way you can–how much everyone uses and after the events during that we both sit down for–this boy uses more. We’re not just talking a touch more. We’re talking toilet-clogging wipe his ass with the whole roll while it’s still on the cardboard more.

    This whole discussion makes want a bidet.

  • April

    2003/01/20 at 9:37 am

    I’ve always said that the only thing anyone should invest in at the stock market was toilet paper or toilets. This entry is proof positive that I’ve been giving sound advice all along.

  • seth

    2003/01/20 at 9:43 am

    I really like Nibs.

    Another TP issue: Under or Over? I prefer Over, simply for aesthetic reasons.

  • bucci

    2003/01/20 at 9:44 am

    I’ll go weeks on a single roll. It isn’t intentional, but it seems I do my best, er, *work* at friends’ homes or the office. Is that rude?

  • aubs

    2003/01/20 at 9:52 am

    1. Bucci, you must be a man.
    2. Over — under gives me the creeps.
    3. I’ll sign that bill immediately.
    4. What about the using TP as kleenex rule — I’m pro-this but I know people who are violently against it, but I just think they’re the same ones who blow their nose in their hands in the shower.

  • Terry

    2003/01/20 at 9:54 am

    Communist invasion be damned. Use as much as you please… just get yo’self clean!

  • Terry

    2003/01/20 at 9:56 am

    Wait! People blow there noses in their hands? Christ!

  • pinklady

    2003/01/20 at 9:58 am

    for the record, my boyfriend uses 10x the toilet paper i do and typically i use a decent amount. he will not use tissue to blow his nose only toilet paper. he usually goes through a roll a day.

  • Some Guy

    2003/01/20 at 10:01 am

    Under for easier one-handed tearing.

  • PJ

    2003/01/20 at 10:03 am

    Oh, goody, another poop-and-pee related topic! Why is it men and boys believe that if they don’t finish the roll, i.e., actually use the VERY LAST PIECE of paper, that that excuses them from replacing the roll? I have lived my life amongst men, and this is a universal truth in my experience.

  • S.

    2003/01/20 at 10:09 am

    You’re all gross and have gross bums and pudenda. You need to make a big ball of tissue first and wet it, because without water, the clean is superficial (yes sir, I do say so). Then you make another wad and do another run to dry off (a dry run, in other words, heh).

    That way, you’re clean and ready for action. Who cares about high usage stats when, as Dooce said, you can get ’em by the 78?

    (Plus, this is all a matter of perspective. If you stop thinking in terms of “squares” and instead in terms of, say, “rolls” or “no streaks”, you’ll have no problems at all.)

  • the mighty jimbo

    2003/01/20 at 10:10 am

    oooh! good post! I want to expand on that one. It’s always the little inconveniences that tick me off the most. And this is the most frustrating inconvenience of all. The manager of any public institution, be it a hotel (say just for example the Four Points in SF, but that’s only an example), restaurant, store, bar, health club, bowling alley – what freaking ever – who decides to save a few pennies a day by installing those infuriating, positively satanic toilet paper dispensers that lock up after dispensing a mere two goddam sheets of paper, deserves to spend eternity being dragged over rusty carpet tacks and dipped in rubbing alcohol. In what way is this a good financial decision? Here’s some equally good financial advice. If your IQ reaches 70: Sell. Slack-jawed troglodytic morons. Out of spite, i should rip the friggin dispenser off the wall, and wrap the roll around my fist like a boxing glove. Listen all you ignorant, short-sighted graduates of the Enron School of Financial Management, I’ll gladly pay the extra $.50 a day for my fair share of TP. Charge an extra dollar at the door. Make the phone call more expensive. Raise the price of the beer. But let your customers wipe their ass. When I need TP, I don’t require two fucking sheets. Nobody who has ever actually used toilet paper needs only two sheets. Ok. Deep breath. Zen like. Zen like. There. Much better.

  • kindle

    2003/01/20 at 10:17 am

    I share a bathroom with two girls. It takes us about 3.5 days to finish a roll of single ply. We’re too poor to buy good stuff so we use the paper the college supplies. It’s horrible.

    My parents have a bidet (It came with the house). Bidets, to me, don’t make wiping easier. It makes your whole groinal area wet, and you use even more paper just to dry it all. (Plus how would it work against a rather nasty poo? I don’t want it spraying my mess back up into my bottom system.)

    When I was little I used to use the bidet to wash my feet. I just found out last year that both my mom and dad have started using it on a regular basis.

  • poop on a stick

    2003/01/20 at 10:20 am

    Funny, this topic came up in the POOP household just recently (funny what unemployment makes you think of)
    I found myself on many ocasions changing the roll, when there is nothing but glue and card board left.
    I take offense to PJ’s generalization…
    us boys ain’t so bad

    on a side note….
    I propose the use of a hankerchief for the women…
    if you can carry a snotty hanky around all day why not carry a second hanky to “dab the dew”.

    if you don’t mind your purse or pocket smelling of STALE URINE then your problem is answered……

  • kindle (again)

    2003/01/20 at 10:23 am

    Also, my boyfriend does the blowing-nose-in-hands-whilst-showering thing. Then he gets all disgusted when I pee in the shower. This is also the guy who will walk into the bathroom while I’m doing my morning bathroom routine, and take a wee. Right there. Just wizzing away. He’s somehow mastered a “no hands” technique, which is rather unsettling. I love him so.

  • Sarah B.

    2003/01/20 at 10:30 am

    That’s funny, because my grandma was saving used ziploc baggies for the Rapture.

    Also, what’s with the commercial for moistened toilet paper? Like Adult Wipes. America, are you having that difficult a time getting your ass clean?

  • sean

    2003/01/20 at 10:34 am

    there’s another Over Vs Under question that’s appropriate here, and one that’s come up in our family recently as we teach the kiddies to wipe solo:

    Do you wipe from UNDER the front, or do you go OVER the backside?

    She says under.

    I say over.

    Also I’m with S. If you want to get truly clean, I suggest Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes. They clean like a washcloth. I’m hooked.

  • .sara

    2003/01/20 at 10:38 am

    Under from the front? EW? All that mess and dragging it forward? I feel the need to shower just thinking about that.

    Over vs. under on the TP roll issue: it’s all aobut over. It just takes a flick of the wrist to do one-handed tearing when the roll is over (as it were). (:

  • shy

    2003/01/20 at 10:41 am

    two plies a day… that’s impossible! an average human being will poop 2-4 times a day. two plies… that’s not only impossible but very, very cruel…

    i would actually perfer it if men would do a bit of wiping over just jiggling it.

  • Nelle

    2003/01/20 at 10:42 am

    I’m guilty of the overuse of tp as much as the next female, though I’ve had to get creative and quick now that my university, in its -infinite- wisdom, has started to supply us with single ply tree bark to cleanse with. They tout that it’s recycled! I prefer the words of my sister: Save a tree! Wipe your bum with an owl!

  • allisonic

    2003/01/20 at 10:43 am

    First, love that animated bear TP commercial.
    Second, Charmin sucks. There’s no grip. I’m trying to clean it, not get it to take a nap!
    Can I get an amen?

  • LK

    2003/01/20 at 10:43 am

    love this post! dooce, you rule.

    ever hear of the toilet that sprays a warm jet of water after you “do the business?” now THAT is a throne. leave it to the japanese for such a fine invention.

  • Heather #2

    2003/01/20 at 10:43 am

    So one night Roger and Christina and I are all talking about wiping and the amount of toilet paper necessary and this subject has come up because we are all drinking and Christina has come out of the bathroom laughing about the fact that she hates it when she goes to wipe and she hasn’t used enough paper and her hand gets a little wet. And we’re all, like, “Yeah, that sucks. Hee hee.” And then Roger says, “But I hate it worse when I go number two and don’t use enough paper and get something worse on my hands. Hee hee! Know what I’m talkin’ about?!” At which me and Christina just stare in horror because, NO, we do not know what he’s talking about. So we start telling him that it was all funny and everything until he went there and there’s no way in hell we would ever suffer the angst of poop on the hand because we ALWAYS mummify the hand before it is sent to rid our underside of said excrement. Roger felt a little stupid. Then we laughed again.

  • the media

    2003/01/20 at 10:43 am

    boxer briefs… greatest invention in the past decade.

  • Heather #2

    2003/01/20 at 10:44 am

    P.S. Dooce, I totally love you more.

  • Pico

    2003/01/20 at 10:56 am

    Family dinners and all that togetherness. Very cute.

  • keneumey

    2003/01/20 at 11:00 am

    Oh giggle. And I didn’t think I liked bathroom humor! You are the shit Dooce! But there is an issue that has gone disturbingly unaddressed: Not that I’ve mastered it…

  • Miss Mea-Mea

    2003/01/20 at 11:05 am

    Men who complain about how much toilet peper women use, are the ones who have skid marks in their underpants the size of the Great Divide. There’s a REASON, yo.

  • jason

    2003/01/20 at 11:16 am

    she called the shit, “poop”

  • Kathleen

    2003/01/20 at 11:16 am

    Thick baby wipes live on the top of the tank of all the toilets in both my houses. Wipe with wipes, dry with TP.

  • Speedo

    2003/01/20 at 11:17 am

    Having evacuated my bowels over 20,000 times so far (if you do the math you can guess my age), I have developed a system that is both economical and artistic. I pull off approx. 10 inches of the 2 ply material, and through a series of folding techniques, manage to make the paper last until I have reached a state of bung-hole purity. These folding techniques follow the ancient Japanese art of origami. I end up with a folded poop paper that resembles birds, fish, dogs,hats, etc. This technique does not seem to work well after I eat two grapefruit, a bunch of peanuts, and an ear of corn. The explosive force and collateral damage requires about 14 inches of paper.
    Thank you and have a pleasant day.

  • shel

    2003/01/20 at 11:22 am

    I’d like to be able to join in with the men on this – but I can’t.

    See, if I were a normal guy, I would probably use the normal guy amount of paper. Without getting into grotesque amounts of detail, however… some guys are furrier in certain areas than other men are. And it requires more to ensure that ‘skid marks the size of the great divide’ (that made me giggle) do not appear.

    I can’t beleive I just told people that. On someone else’s website, to boot. But y’know, the thought of shaving my tush to save the environment… uh, sorry. Trees will die before I have itchy ass stubble.

    was that too much information? probably.

  • Tasha

    2003/01/20 at 11:28 am

    I was always under the impression that guys ate up toilet paper. However, living in a female residence hall, I realize that we inhale it. Or steal it.

  • dooce

    2003/01/20 at 11:30 am

    Shel: you have to ask if that’s too much information on *this* website? if there’s any place on earth you should be able to talk about itchy ass stubble, that place is here, my friend.

  • Amstershiresauce

    2003/01/20 at 11:46 am

    J-J-Jammin’ on the one!
    Dude, is that like from the Cosby Show? Did Theo say that? Cause I drive my family nuts by saying that all the time and I’m not exactly sure from whence it came…

  • April

    2003/01/20 at 12:17 pm

    Well… this is far more information than *I* wanted to know on Dooce’s readers, that’s for sure.

  • Marlys

    2003/01/20 at 12:31 pm

    – totally unrelated to poop, but……

    Amstershiresauce, it IS from the Cosby show! J-j-j-j jammin on the one! It was the episode where Stevie Wonder does a guest appearance and the kids get to record a rap song in his studio. I think it was Rudy who said jammin on the one, though it could’ve been Theo. It’s been in my head all day.

  • anna

    2003/01/20 at 12:33 pm

    #1 – wipe on, dooce – use as much as you need and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    #2 – i ONLY use scott brand toilet paper – the cheap stuff – i cannot STAND coochie lint. how anyone can feel clean when there are tiny little toilet paper balls ‘down there’ is beyond me.

    #3 – the toilet paper end must be OVER. the end.

    #4 – this brings me to a whole new subject – which is perhaps the THING THAT ANNOYS ME MOST IN THE WORLD (besides people who make really slow right turns) – women who squat (hover) over the toilet and pee all over it and then don’t wipe it up. i mean come on, ladies – that is just fucking disgusting. ff you don’t want to sit on the seat – fine – but clean up your fucking mess you inconsiderate twats.



    2003/01/20 at 12:47 pm

    Okay, anna, would you rather sit on some seat where someone’s pee had been wiped off two minutes earlier, or just piss while squatting?
    That’s the whole idea of squatting – not only to avoid germy toilet seats, but also to avoid any toilet seats that could POSSIBLY be germy. Join us other inconsiderate twats, you inconsiderate twat. And squat.

  • Chauvinist

    2003/01/20 at 12:48 pm

    I thought all this recent poop talk was hypothetical. Women don’t go number two at all. Next thing you are going to tell me they burp and fart as well.

  • rosebaby

    2003/01/20 at 12:55 pm

    i just can’t even think of any way to tie this in, but… complete with illustrations, sacred underwear. again.

  • olaf

    2003/01/20 at 12:56 pm

    There’s a growing movement towards enviro-friendly toilet paper… whereby you wipe your ass with old rags, then store them in a vinegar filled jar (to minimize smell), and then wash them at your friendly neighborhood laundry-mat. Not that I have actually done this, but it is an alternative to your crazy crazy toilet paper addiction…, you could wipe as much as you want and never feel bad about cutting down trees.

    I read it in Adbusters not too long ago (so it must be true).

  • cat

    2003/01/20 at 12:58 pm

    Whoa, now, Allisonic: I totally agree with our friend Anna, here. It IS fucking disgusting to enter a smelly toilet stall with pee all over the seat, whether or not I can squat over it. And what if I have arthritis and can’t squat long enough to pee? Inconsiderate twit. Ladies, WIPE YOUR PEE OFF. Nobody else wants to do it, especially not the person who has to clean that bathroom. If you’re so concerned about disease, use a toilet seat cover. Leaving your pee there to fester and smell is certainly not going to lessen the risk of disease for anyone.

  • Angelique

    2003/01/20 at 1:06 pm

    okay, so this is a totally sensitive and neurotic issue for me. the whole “jiggling the dew” issue just makes me vomit. maybe it’s just that i have lived with men who aim terribly my whole life, but ya know, i’m not going to wag my bum violently over the bowl in hopes that i’ll get every last drop. ya know, it makes me wanna vomit to see a guy who claims to be completely thorough come out of the potty with that “dollar” on the front of his pants. urgh. totally gross. guys, this is URINE – this stuff has bacteria in it. whatinthehell are you thinking? DAB DAB DAB!!! i’d be willing to supply all of the men in my life with a lifelong supply of TP if they would just agree to dab and not shake.
    anyway, my other issue has to do with TP in general. do any of you lasses have the problem with “pill” or “fuzz” from any of these high-end super-soft TP’s? totally frustrating. i hate sitting back down later in the day and realizing that due to my thoroughness in getting “the flower” as clean and dry as possible, that these TP’s leave behind what i can only compare to belly button lint. urgh!! why????
    oh, and as for bidets, big fan, but they really do make your butt cold for like an hour after.
    thanks for listening.

  • anna

    2003/01/20 at 1:10 pm

    twat twat twat twat twat!

    what a great word.

    ok – if the bathroom is totally gross and REALLY public – i’ll squat for sure – but what if it is at work (3 stalls, cleaned daily) or i have to go number two.

    in that case – i use a toilet seat cover – and i’m sorry if i don’t want to have to wipe up SOMEONE ELSE’S urine.

    especially if the perpetrator just walks out of the stall right in front of me and leaves all that pee on the seat like it’s just ‘okay’ – it’s not. it’s gross. that’s it.

  • allisonic

    2003/01/20 at 1:13 pm

    Hey cat, I’m not saying don’t wipe off your pee, but you should STILL SQUAT. That was my point, guess I didn’t make it clear that wiping off is good. But thought it was awfully considerate of you to think of the cleaning lady like that. Ahhh….

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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