How a Pandemic Makes Pooping Fun Again!

Kiss your toilet paper goodbye

Photo by Henley Design Studio on Unsplash

Technically, it may have been a Covid-19 impulse buy. But it goes back twelve years ago, when I was on a Specialist Fulbright in Kyoto. There I fell in love with Japanese toilets and dreamed of having one one day. Once back in the states, however, the idea of an automatic toilet with heated seat, bowl light, warm water spray butt washer, and warm air butt dryer seemed, I don’t know, embarrassing. Like, it would bring too much attention to my most private ritual when company came over.

Well, I’m over that now. The national conversation over the inexplicable TP shortage due to Covid-19 did the trick. Also, friends of ours had recently bought one and showed it off proudly. To be clear, it’s not the whole TOTO toilet that our friends, and now us, have purchased. The premier Japanese brand has come out with a remarkable, easy to install toilet seat that does it all. There is a round and an elongated model depending on your toilet shape.

Here is the product description:

TOTO Washlet S350e

Ecology-minded luxury in a slim design, this WASHLET features the technologically advanced ewater+ system, which mists and cleans the bowl after every use. Fully automated, including remote control and heated seat.


  • EWATER+®
  • WASHLET cleansing with 5 spray settings
  • Instantaneous water heating
  • Built-in air deodorizing system
  • Auto open/close
  • Night Light
  • Adjustable water and seat temperatures
  • Warm-air dryer
  • Easy-to-read illuminated remote control
  • Convenient magnetic wall mounted cradle
  • Compact and slim design
  • 2-user personal memory settings
  • Self-Cleaning Water Wand

The remote control is wireless too. The Water Wand has both a ‘Front’ and ‘Rear’ setting — a female front wash as well as the all-sex rear bum wash. Since my husband and I are both males, we call the Front Setting the ‘Ball Washer’ because that’s what it does if you make the mistake of using it. The 2-user setting comes in handy. As we are two very different body sizes, we can custom adjust the bum spray to hit the bullseye for each of us every time. When pressed a second time, the Rear spray changes from a softer general stream to a narrower one for deeper cleaning.

It will add confidence and put a spring in your step.

The most impressive function is the most invisible. The built-in deodorizing system is a fan that sucks the air through a thin plastic perforated card, smaller than a credit card, that slips into the back side of the seat mechanism. Miraculously and mysteriously, no odor. I just looked it up; it’s made of ionized carbon.

There are other cultures besides the Japanese that use water cleansing methods who find the hygiene of our so-called civilized western society disgusting. I must say, once you start using one of these Washlets, you will find it hard to believe you were so primitive for so long. And yes, it’s enjoyable. Even our straight friends agree.

For a more detailed history of Americans and pooping, check out Allie Volpe’s article, “We’ve Been Pooping Wrong All Along.

Oh, and while you will still need TP for a bit of blotting, you will have lots left over to gift your friends in our time of need!

Disclaimer: This thing is not cheap. We found one on sale for less than a grand. And I am not being paid by TOTO. But maybe I should be.

Visual Artist & Nonfiction Writer; New agented memoir: “Growing Up Under Water”—From Southern Gothic New Orleans to the art world of New York.

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