Scheisse n' Dice

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Editor's note: this was originally published on Spielboy, a quarterly online journal about German games.

The German fascination with feces can be seen in many aspects of German life, from the way the trains "run" on time to the art and literature that Germans enjoy. In general, scatological references in art, film, and literature have long been used as a source of levity, not just to invoke feelings of shock or disgust, so it is no great surprise that you will find shit inside the many games you play, too.

Player elimination never felt so good as Spielboy makes a splash with this look at the mind of the German shitta.


History's Piss-stories

Many scholars point to the Reformation as the beginnings of the German obsession with cleanliness, and conversely their obsession with heaving a Havana. Among the general population, it was not uncommon for Germans in the Middle Ages to park the fudge in the street. Bodily functions play a large role in many paintings and musical and theatrical productions of the time, and metaphors of shit were common in German literature as far back as the 17th century.

The modern German fascination with bowling from the pavilion end seems to have really taken hold at the beginning of the 20th century. It was at this time that German thinkers were advocating a revolt against the Victorian ideals of diligence, cleanliness, sobriety, and honesty. This helped Neitsche's notion of aestheitic nihilism capture the imagination of the general populace and the result had a profound impact on all aspects of German culture. In 1903, author Richard Ungewitter advocated a return to ancient Greek attitudes toward nudity for hygienic and moralistic reasons. And in 1905, Paul Zimmerman opened the first resort for social and family nudism, Freilichtpark (Free Light Park). As we will see in later sections, art, film and literature also benefitted from the rejection of the Victorian mores.


Bringing Up Baby

The notion that Germans have an obsession with children's feces is well known; Alan Dundes and Friedrich von Zglinicki wrote entire books on the subject. German parents take a tremendous interest in teaching their children that poo is bad, and it is this over-emphasis on the negativity of shit that causes repression and resentment of that instruction, and often leads to a development of fecal fascination later in life.









The Toxic Excretions gene makes your amoeba's excrement bad to eat.

More info about Ursuppe Expansion.




The Stink Bean is more like the Shit Bean in Bohnanza.

More info about Bohnanza.





Many parents shower children with praise when they curl one off. The more solid, round, and dark it is, the greater the praise. For the adult, a big fat one means their child is healthy and "productive". For the child, the pile of shit represents a magnificent present to the world. It's the only thing he owns, and the only thing he can produce on his own.

Because of the importance placed on the production of shit, witholding it, then, is a childish but powerful act of defiance. By holding back a steamer, children not only test the boundaries of right and wrong, but also develop a sense of self importance and often a taste for anal eroticism. And because German parents place an especially disproportionate emphasis on drawing mud from the well, their children are at risk to grow up with a distorted view of crap.

This is also the time when children first begin to associate burying a quaker with wealth accumulation. They made it, and their parents loved them for it. Later in life, they might show this association of riches with filth when saying "so-and-so is filthy rich", "she's rolling in it", or "he's got piles of it". This notion that poop has value is illustrated by the popular but misguided Austrian alchemist Cornelius Kolig, who's attempts at early chemistry led him to try and transmute shit into gold. Innovative idea, yes, since most of his contemporaries were still working with lead (the fools!), but ultimately unsuccessful.

When you talk crap about German children, you can't avoid bringing up the theories of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He spent a considerable amount of effort comparing and contrasting the metaphorical characteristics of feces, penises, and babies. When each of these are forced out, they "stimulate a membranous passage," which is psycho-babble for "turnin' you on". In his "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" (1905), Freud drew a correllation between holding your bowels and erotic stimulation. To build a log cabin feels good. To not build a log cabin feels really gooooooood.

In "On transformations of instinct as exemplified in anal erotism" (1917), Freud then cheeses off half of the planet's population by exposing women's repressed wish to possess a penis. And since the penis, the baby, and the shit are the same (like an unclean trinity), women develop the same kind of neuroses about chucking muck as men. Furthermore, because German parents place too much importance on shitting, German children grow up with an interesting dichotomy: shit feels good and represents wealth, but it's so damn stinky. Eventually, they learn to repress the positive aspects of shit and emphasize the negative, but they never fully reject an interest in shit as part of their lives. Freud observed that "it is in particular the coprophilic impulses of childhood which are submitted the most vigorously to repression."

Freud also looked at feces as a representation of past generations, whereas babies represent the present and penises represent future generations. Most people just thought he was crazy.


The Shelf Toilet

Any examination of social attitudes toward crimping off a length must also include an inspection of the bowl: the central altar on which we bend and to which our bowels pray, the pyre on which we burn our excrement in effigy and offer the ashes up to the gods. Here, Germany stands among the few nations in the world that really surprises us with a cultural oddity: the shelf toilet (known as the flachspueler or "flatflusher" toilet).

The shelf toilet is nearly identical to a standard thunder mug in all ways except one: instead of an open pool in which to drop our kids off, a shelf protrudes into the middle so that the bum cigar might rest above the water before being flushed into oblivion. The following illustrations show the difference between the American standard crap-trap and the German flachspueler:



(Images from Scott Anderson's excellent piece, German Toilets).

The flachspueler provides several benefits to the wind jammer, but also has some downsides:






THE GERMAN SHELF TOILET


Pros

Cons


No splash. Doen't have far to fall, landing safely on solid ground.

The stench. Not immediately submerged in water.

Show and tell. By sitting around for a while, the shit can be examined for color and consistency. Misshapen or odd colored stools help in the early identification of health problems.

Leaves a trail. A shit on a shelf leaves a trail after the flush which can be an embarrassing reminder of who was here last. One solution to this problem, though, is to lay down a folded sheet or two of toilet paper on the shelf before dropping trou.

Water conservancy. Uses less water, which is not a small consideration on the Continent. 


Author Erica Jong writes of the shelf toilet:


I hated [the Germans'] fanatical obsession with the illusion of cleanliness. Illusion, mind you, because Germans really are not clean. ... But just go into any German toilet and you'll find a fixture unlike any other in the world. It has a cute little porcelain platform for the shit to fall on so you can inspect it before it whirls off into the watery abyss, and there is, in fact, no water in the toilet until you flush it. As a result German toilets have the strongest shit smell of any toilets anywhere.

--from Fear of Flying (1973)

From all indications, the flachspueler is not ubiquitous in Germany. In most public places, traditional open bowls are more common; the flachspueler appears mostly in residential bathrooms. For the curious traveller, several models are on display, like the doots they provide shelf space for, at the Zentrum für Aussergewohnliche Museum in Kreuth, Germany, where there is a permanent display of historic toilets.


Shit Lit 101

The use of scatology can be seen across many German forms of expression, from visual arts to literature, stand-up comedy to film.

According to Dieter and Jackqueline Rollfinke in "The Call of Human Nature", English writers rarely use scatological elements in their writing. In German literature, though, scatology appears in the works of writers such as Busch, Benn, Thomas Mann, and Kafka. Modern German literature is littered with it as they found that the use of shit metaphors and allegories is in "relative abundance".

Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters' masterpiece was "The Merzbau": a massive interior sculpture that Schwitters created in his own house starting in the late 1910s. The Merzbau itself contains literal shit and urine, as well as the incorporaton of many kinds of detritus. The curator of the exibit once remarked, "[The Merzbau is] a kind of fecal smearing -- a sick and sickening relapse into the social irresponsibility of the infant who plays with trash and filth".









Horses leave "road apples" as they wander in the pasture, the farmers collect the "apples" hoping to use the manure in their gardens. One of the variations wants you to gather poop and trade them for carrots.

More info about Pferdemist.




In Ursuppe, your amoeba excrete cubes and then eat other amoeba's excretions. Delicious.

More info about Ursuppe.






Schwitters is described as an artist who exibited many contradictory tendencies, often simultaneously. It is just these contradictions which make opening the lunchbox so fascinating to the Germans. On the one hand, shit is an attention getter. On the other hand, it's shit and should be avoided.

The Aktionist artistic movement, which was directly influenced by the Dadaists, rose from 1960's German counter-culture scene. Artists Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl, Gunter Brus and Rudolph Schwarzkogler seemed to delight in shocking for the purpose of shocking, and in that pursuit naturally came to rely on the scatalogical. Nitsch summed it up nicely: "Through my artistic production I take upon myself all that appears negative, unsavoury, perverse and obscene, in order to spare YOU the defilement and shame entailed by the descent into the extreme."

Other German artists to use shit included Helmut Brosch and Bernd Eilts; the latter of which casually explained his use of blown mud in his artwork: "Artists are always looking for new materials and I was struck by the similarities in the consistency of the manure to my paints... I used sheep droppings at first but they were too small so I switched to cow dung."

In film, Germans were able to commit scatalogical atrocities to celluloid with remarkable flair and frequency. For example, in "Otmar Bauer Presents", the eponymous writer/director sits at a dinner table and proceeds to shit, vomit, urinate, and ejaculate into his plate and then devour it.

Then there was the controversial film "The Colour Brown" (directed by Byrnes), which was shown at 45th Sydney Film Festival. It dealt with the German fascination with cleanliness and shit as it relates to vague tendencies of racial purity and the racial conflicts of the early 1990s.









In Bonobo Beach, shitting is bad, since you score less points when your beach-goers end up near active outhouses.

More info about Bonobo Beach.




According to the translated website, "the long overdue chicken poop is here for complete gaming fun." If you fall in someone else's poo, you have to give that player all your feathers!
More info about Zicke Zacke Entenkacke.





In the vernacular, the term "German Kaviar films" refers to shit-lover movies, such as Die Kaviarklinik and Eat My Kaviar. One internet forum poster opined that "Poop porn is the backbone of the German adult film industry!"

Perhaps it's unfair to paint the many for the actions of the few. Just because a handful of artists, filmmakers, and writers wallow in shit, one should not necessarily draw the conclusion that the entire German culture rolls in the shit its artists play with. Indeed, for every Schwitters or Bauer, there is a Mapplethorpe or Waters who's fingernails are equally dirty.

But linguist Peter Farb says that the German fascination with the dishonourable discharge is clear from other aspects of German culture, too, like the national sense of humor. According to Farb, where French jokes focus on seduction and adultery, British on homosexuality and incest, and American on oral-genital contact and misogyny, German jokes focus on the bathroom and the bowel movements. A good German joke, so goes the conventional wisdom, always ends in scheisse!

Peter Ruhmkorf studied the strong fecal focus in German children's rhymes and the Rollfinkes go to great lengths to show that modern German print advertising features scatological elements more openly and regularly than any other culture.

What is important to remember, though, is that the portrayal of basic bodily functions is not just an unhealthy approach to engage the audience. When used properly, shit can be a powerful tool to convey a message, and its very use should not preclude a work from serious examination. In the words of Jae Num Lee, "scatology as such does not make a work bad or good in a thematic, moral or rhetorical sense." (Swift and Scatalogical Satire, 1971).

-- Matt @ Speilboy

   Read the original (with bonus pictures and content) here!

41 Comments on "Scheisse n' Dice"

C Everett Poop's picture
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What the hell? Who's the homo that deleted my post? This site is getting shitty.

The Holy Shitter's picture
l 100+ points
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Why did they drop your last post?

Tydirium's picture
k 500+ points
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Wow... I haven't seen something this intelligently written on this site since, well, the last article in the Intellectual Crap section.

I have to wonder: do shelf toilets make Germans obsessed with their feces, or does German fecal obsession make them want shelf toilets? Which came first... the poop loving, or the poop loving-facilitating infrastructure?

"bowling from the pavilion end"
"drawing mud from the well"
"burying a quaker"
"standard thunder mug"

awesome.

fudgepump's picture
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Shit on a shelf? Gimme a BREAK!!

fudgepump's picture
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Ty, the answer to your question could possibly be traced to the reason for adopting the shelf design. Did it beat out other designs over time and become "the People's Choice"? Or is it just a model of German efficiency; saving water and preventing backsplash at the same time?

H R Poopnsquirt's picture
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Actually, "bowling from the pavilion end" is a euphemism for homosexuality, not pooping. Thanks for playing, though.

Tydirium's picture
k 500+ points
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Actually, HR, it's a cricket term. Thanks for trying to derail the thread, though.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Absolutley wonderful submission. It made me think about the years I lived in Germany and was confronted, for the first time, with people who used cologne to cover up the fact that they hadn't showered for a while. The cleanliness mentioned in the above article, I wonder, is it European or just German?

Second, this article made me think of what happened when our daughter was hospitalized for Salmonella in a German hospital. She and a little German girl, about 9 months of age were together because of extreme diarrhea, and the parents of the little girl didn't come visit her once. I mean, not once. I ended up playing with her, because she was so lonely.

The nurse said this was normal, for a family to leave a child with this type of illness alone, and not to visit, and that Americans were the exception, wanting to stay with their kids.

Now, I wonder. Did she say that to be truthful or because she felt bad for the little girl and couldn't bash mom and dad? What type of culture leaves a kid that tiny alone because she has extreme diarrhea?

Really good article, still, and I enjoyed reading it.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

The Other David's picture
l 100+ points
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Sehr interesant! Obwohl ich nicht deutsch bin, bin ich schweizer, es bin ungl

ass licker's picture
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It's 7:30 pm here in NE Ohio. Fighter jets have been criss crossing the sky. I've heard they are also flying over the "NO FLY ZONE" OVER THE PERRY NUCLEAR PLANT! Any one know what"s goin on???

H R Poopnsquirt's picture
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Ty: Sigh. Yes, I know it's a cricket term. It's also a term for those who "putt from the rough"; "friends of Dorothy"; botters; pansies; butt pirates; turd burglars; Hershey Highway Patrolmen; donut punchers; Nancy boys; etc.

See Roger's Profanisaurus.
http://members.lycos.co.uk/Tim_Bracey/fun/rogers.htm

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog's picture
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Shelves are fun...for me to poop on! (literally)

The Holy Shitter's picture
l 100+ points
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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt - Speech at the Hamilton Club (April 10, 1899)

Peacemaker's picture
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"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Hermann Goering - Nuremburg Diary
(April 18, 1946)

H R Poopnsquirt's picture
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The Swiss aren't as open as Germans? WFT? Dude, I lived in Switzerland (albeit the French-speaking part) for a while about a decade ago. Let me tell you, it's a pretty open place. It's the first time I ever encountered a unisex bathroom. In fact, I encountered quite a few. I'm not only a Shameful Shitter, but I suffer Bashful Kidney syndrome, so you can imagine the horror to walk into the loo and find a chick primping at the mirror, while I try to "take the Browns to the Superbowl" or even just "siphon the python."

Also, in the train station in Geneva they had a bathroom with the old "Turkish Toilet" (squat over the hole in the floor) that was just out, unenclosed, in the middle of the bathroom. And with a clear view to the door, so anybody opening it would give the folks in the train station a nice view of you pinching a loaf.

Of course, the only nice thing about Switzerland's openness was the attitude to nudity. I lived just down the street from a big public pool in Meyrin. The locker rooms were all out in the open, and as I walked to work it was pretty cool to watch the girls change, or see all the nude ones sunning themselves by the pool.

fudgepump's picture
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C. Everett; First: I don't know who, other than the Uberpooper himself, has editorial reign over PR.
Second: A site about poop getting shitty? That's kind of funny if you think about it.

Mike Reynolds's picture
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C Everett Poop - "Who's the HOMO"? Why is that all your posts contain hatred and intolerance towards a minority group? What is it you have against gays and germans? Do you have something against Sigfried & Roy too?

fudgepump's picture
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C Everett; are you really an intolerant homophobe? I hadn't noticed.

idiotfudgepump's picture
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Yet, another spectacular insightful remark by an old bitter fart.

fudgepump's picture
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Huh????????

fudgepump's picture
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I was serious when I asked that question - I thought Reynolds' post was laughable.

The Artist Formerly Known As Poo-Poo's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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There was a German kid's book that got translated into English around the early '90s that shows this fascination with feces. Basically, this mole wakes up in his hole with a load of soft-serve curled up on his head, and he's really pissed off about it. So he walks around and accuses every animal he meets of shitting on his head. They deny it, and as physical evidence, drop a load right there for him to inspect and verify that it's not the right shape...
I think this tops that Japanese book, "Everyone Poops" .

downunder's picture
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Dude I experienced the the sick ass nature of the Arien fixation with poo, in Amsterdam. You have answered all my question abuot the 'shelf toilet' think you. I can rest easy now and think of tulips, a much nicer aspect of Dutch culture.

downunder's picture
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K Everett (radio/video show)- was a famous british gay comedian who died of AIDS... any relation??

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points
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What an informative article! I never knew Germans had such a fascination with crap.

Dirty Brown Dishwater's picture
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They have the shelf toilets in Russia as well.

It's really a choice between smear and splatter. After all, dropping the mother load in an American toilet is similar to a "cannonball" jump from a diving board. Kerplunk!

Betty Poop's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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oh how wonderful! i'm 75 percent german...my whole obsession now makes sense...
when i visited Germany, one thing my mom and i brought back was a book...about an elefant. Every day he'd make a poo, and when his birthday rolled around, he'd suddenly add a poo a day. Until he hit 50 years old; then he started making fewer poos each year. The whole book is the elefant counting his poo, and worrying about what would happen once he hit 100--would he disappear? Or never make poops again?
Translation is incorrect on Zicke Zacke Entenkacke-Enten are ducks, not chickens.

_______
poop poop eee doop!

poop poop eee doop!

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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Regarding the shelf toilet, sometimes where water pressure is not great, shelf toilets have trouble removing a large, or sticky deposit from the shelf (then again, no spashback). To kill the stench, many people overseas have an airfreshener affixed to the ring of the toilet bowl.
_______
Jammin' lo'flo's since 1977.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Miss Simone Scat's picture
k 500+ points
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The shit I am learning today alone on PR ia assmazing!!!!
Producing waste since 1967

Producing waste since 1967

gal who appreciates a nice toilet's picture
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im glad other people are as afraid of the shit shelf as myself. i have recently moved to berlin and my only complaint so far is the shit shelf! im afraid im gonna give myself hemorroids cuz i force myself to go to the bathroom so quickly because i want to spend the least amount of time in there as possible.
there is water in a toilet bowl for a reason! i know us americans are wastleful but really i do not see the point to the design of this toilet at all. although i just researched toilets from around the world and i guess i should be thankful that i atleast have a toilet to sit on, and i can press a button and wash everything down! im really afraid to ever get too drunk also, because then i'll be forced to be on an initimate level with my vomit the next morning too!

The Artist formerly known as Shit.'s picture
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I was in Germany when I was 12 and don't remember these weird toilets at all. Is this something new?

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Artist....If you were in Germany as a military dependent that would account for your lack of
seeing one.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

exactly's picture
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who is obsessed with poop here? you have a site dedicated to it, and say we germans are obsessed with it? i have never read such crap... you just see what you want to see!

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Dear exactly...Jawohl wir sehen, was wir sehen wollen....but when we go to Germany we can't help but notice the little shelf in the potty that holds the turd for observation. If you bothered to read the pros and cons of this type toilet you will have noticed that more pros than cons were listed.

Now go have yourself a nice beer and some sauerkraut and try to get over it.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

german squarepants's picture
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i have one in my home. I love the poo shelf! I'm german, so not only am I owner, I'm a client.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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squarepants.....Are you any kin to Sponge Bob?


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
0
0

Nothing like German Teachnology. Are the toilets made by BMW ? Bavarian Manure Works ?

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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We stayed with a German family for four days back in 2005, and their toilet was the pool type, not the shelf; actually, while there, I never saw or used the shelf type.

German Guy's picture
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WTF? For six years you guys have been talking about German toilets and shit? I read almost every post in here and I can't believe it. First of all: That Guy who claims to be Swiss is either a liar or really stupid. He can't even write one German sentence without making a severe mistake. Second: Not visiting your children in the hospital is not a matter of culture, they are just bad parents. You can find them all over the world even in the States. Furthermore I can't remember any book from my childhood that had to do with pooping. I don't think that we Germans are more obsessed with our feces than you people (e.g. we don't start websites called poopreport). And last but not least the type of toilet you described: It is right. We use that thing. I don't know exactly why. The only reason I could think of is that you don't get your bum splashed with water when you drop the bomb.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Dear German guy, My Grandpa ThunderButt was from Switzerland and I can offer you the following information;

The language spoken in German-speaking Switzerland is quite different from standard German - called High German. The German Swiss speak Swiss German, often called "Mundart" - which itself is broken up into numerous local dialects. These are different enough to make it possible to determine where a speaker comes from, but generally not so different as to be incomprehensible to other Swiss German speakers. The dialects which give the most difficulty are those spoken in some of the remote valleys in the southern canton of Valais, but with a bit of effort from both sides even these can be understood by speakers of other Swiss German dialects.

A question for you, if you aren't obsessed with poop how did you end up on this website?

Mögen all deine Stuhlgang freudigen Anlässen werden.


_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Sorry, German guy, but I was told by three different nurses in Germany that it was common for nationals not to visit their children while in the hospital. I'm not going back on it.
_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com