Battle with a Bidet: Defeated by Korean Toilets

[pullquote align=”left”]After school one Friday, the entire staff decided to go out to dinner in celebration of the completion of “open classes”. [/pullquote]Open classes are when the parents of the kindergarten students come to school  and sit in on classes while you teach. Korean parents pay a lot of money to send their kids to the elite school I work at, and so they are very demanding and meticulous on the things we teach and how we teach them. This is considered to be a very stressful time for the teachers.

The Korean teachers and the foreign teachers never hang out outside of school together. The language barrier poses an issue. So to have a staff dinner  with everyone was a big deal and an event that the foreign teachers had looked forward to for a long time.

 We went to a Korean barbeque. We had a great time. One of the teachers translated for us, so we were able to talk and get to know each other. We laughed, shared stories, and shared some drinks. After dinne,r the foreign teachers invited the Korean teachers out on the town. Surprisingly, some of them took us up on that offer. On the way out, the director of the school pulled us aside and handed us the school’s credit card and said, “Go have some fun,” which is exactly what we did.
The Korean teachers took us to a really fancy bar. We had pitchers of cocktails brought to the table as well as some appetizers. The drinks were flowing. When there was a break in the conversation, I stood up to go to the bathroom. As I stood, I realized those pitchers of cocktails were really starting to kick in. I made my way to the bathroom unprepared for the events to come.

Korean bathrooms are always a mystery. You may find a traditional toilet like what you have at home. You may find no toilet and just a hole to squat over, or, in this case, you might find a George Jetson, ultra modern, fancy pants toilet. These toilets had armrests.  I handled my business, and when I turned around to flush, I realized that this wasn’t going to be a typical potty break. There was no flusher. There were just thousands of tiny buttons along the side of the armrest. Now, from an ingenuity prospective, I can appreciate the armrests. Who doesn’t like to be comfortable? What I don’t appreciate is the font on these buttons being so small I have to get so close to read them that I’m practically giving myself a swirly. Plus, I am at a bar,  a place where my vision followed by my self respect are a bit impaired.

I leaned in close to the buttons, squinted, and took a random stab at a button. Nothing happened. I chose another. Nothing. Then I got impatient and just started pushing multiple buttons in hope of one being the flusher. Instead, I was caught completely off guard by what I could only assume was a sprinkler system but later found out was a bidet. My face was soaking wet. I quickly pushed buttons again to make it stop but instead somehow turned up the intensity. I had now backed my face away from the toilet and was dodging the water with one hand and pressing buttons with the other. I couldn’t get the water to stop. At this point, I was drenched. My shirt and pants were soaking wet, and my face was dripping water. I leaned backwards to unlock my stall door to see if anyone was out there and could help. A Korean woman walked into the bathroom as soon as I opened the stall. Her facial expression was that of disgust. I knew she would be no help. So instead I just yelled to her, “Go, save yourself!”

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddUotyR3WEA” width=”500″ height=”300″]
After a good ten minutes of the super soaker, I realized that I simply couldn’t win this battle. I had been out smarted by  the bidet. I exited the bathroom with my head hanging low and my shoes squeaking with every step. Every table I passed gasped in horror. I arrived at my table, and in perfect English, the Korean teacher said, “What the hell?”

The foreigner teachers couldn’t believe their eyes. “What happened to you?” they asked.

[quote style=”1″]“I got my ass kicked by a bidet.” I said. “I almost drowned to death. That thing is still spraying in there. I couldn’t turn it off. I’m just happy to be alive.”[/quote]

The Korean teachers couldn’t stop laughing. And while I’m sure they will never hang out with me again for fear of embarrassment, at least, we have something to laugh about at school now. 

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