If you're like us, you might sometimes have a problem with complex tasks, like trying to drive an ambulance and send a text message at the same time. But hey, at least most of us have figured out the simplest things that get us through the day, right?
Except, you know, some of the simple things we've done every day of our lives, like ...
What could be simpler than taking a good crap? Even babies are good at it. You might be surprised, then, to find out that even those of us who can burp without throwing up get this wrong every single day.
The one who just threw up on the other one's shoulder is better at pooping.
Chances are the pooping facility nearest you is a sitting toilet, a relatively recent invention that flushed its way into mankind's heart with the advent of indoor plumbing in the 19th century. Indoor plumbing has turned out pretty well for the most part, but the pooping style that came with it definitely has not. Pooping on a modern sitting toilet is a big part of where hemorrhoids come from, and it can also cause diverticular disease, an age-related condition that pretty much only occurs in parts of the world where sitting toilets are used, and which can lead to a range of pleasantries up to and including colonic obstruction. And things aren't getting better: The last few decades have seen a rise in popularity of "comfort height" toilets that sit two to four inches higher off the ground than older models and that make our pooping predicament even worse.
Future toilets will exist just to kill us.
So how the hell are we meant to do it?
Luckily, there's a relatively simple way to end this poop dilemma. A 2003 study observed 28 people pooping in three positions: sitting on a high toilet, sitting on a lower one and squatting like they were catchers at a baseball game (catcher's mitt optional, but encouraged). After initially being mistaken for a German porn company, the researchers found that pooping took about a minute less when done squatting and that participants rated the experience as "easier" (God, we hope they were getting paid).
In fact, toilets that require you to squat that way have been the standard for most of human history and are still widely used in the non-Western world.
And urban centers of the Western world.
According to proctologists, "We were not meant to sit on toilets, we were meant to squat in the field." When you're in a sitting or standing position, you're forming an angle between the where the poop is and where the poop's gotta come out. There's even a muscle that's purpose is to tighten things up when we're sitting or standing to prevent accidents. Squatting straightens out this angle and removes the chokehold.
For no reason, here's an icing pipe.
If the thought of squatting awkwardly on top of your toilet seat isn't for you, you can produce a similar poop-enhancing angle by resting your feet on a footstool (or anything handy) and leaning the top half of your body forward.
From a young age, we're taught that the daily use of a hot shower, copious amounts of soap and a scratchy washcloth are necessary to rid ourselves of dangerous microorganisms and the putrid smell of human skin. And if you aren't squeaky-clean, you can forget about dating, career advancement and the promise of a future that doesn't involve dying alone in a den of your own filth.
That's what college is for.
As it turns out, showering or bathing daily, while it may make us more socially acceptable, wreaks havoc on something hilariously called the horny layer. Hot water, soap and abrasive surfaces strip off the horny layer, exposing living cells to the elements. And although we've just used the words "strip," "exposing" and "horny" in the same sentence, we assure you that this is not the making of a sexy situation. On the contrary, damaging this protective layer of skin makes us more susceptible to disease.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Before recent modern conveniences, people bathed less often, and frequently in the same water. Even nowadays, showering doesn't kill bacteria or other microorganisms, though it does move them around. A colony of bacteria living on your shower wall might move to your leg; a colony from your leg might move to your head; a colony from your groin might even take up residence on your hands. For this reason, surgeons in many hospitals are not allowed to shower right before operating.
Not even you, Doctor McPenishands!
Studies have shown that there are no measurable differences in the number of microorganism colonies a person is host to regardless of how frequently that person showers. Of course, using antibacterial soaps can kill microorganisms, though in an effort not to create too many super bacteria, medical experts generally recommend not using these soaps daily.
"Say what you like, but you have to admit my bones are super shiny!"
So how the hell are we meant to do it?
The most important thing to do to keep the skin healthy is to preserve the horny layer. There's no magic number of showers each week, though it's generally agreed that the number would fall somewhat shy of seven. Skipping showers, or, if you'd like a fancy French term, celebrating sans douche days, gives your skin time to repair some of the damage that the last shower caused.
Any more than a day and there's no amount of French that'll get rid of Eau de Sewer.
When you shower, use warm or cool water and a mild soap (if at all), and rehydrate the horny layer by rubbing on some moisturizer afterward. Better yet, convince an attractive friend to help with this. Once you've cleaned up, you'll want to make sure you air dry. Ignore protesting roommates or family members and remind them, as you're drip-drying at the breakfast table, that they should be grateful you're showering only a couple of times a week.
"Kids, ignore your father while I try to remember why I married him."