Read This Before You Use Toilet Paper Again

Read This Before You Use Toilet Paper Again

Wiping, we all do it, but are we really doing it right? There have been many things that humans have used throughout history to wipe. From the Ancient Greek “pessoi” or smooth stones, the vinegar-soaked sponges of Ancient Rome to the dried corn cobs used in early colonial America. Today humans have largely settled on good old toilet paper that has only been in mass production since around 1857. But how do we know that it is the best material?

Well the French writer and monk Francios Rabelais, has answered this pressing question. Through a series of less than scientific experiments Rabelais in his 1532 book “The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel” he has given us a definitive answer:

Francios Rabelais

“‘I have’, answered Gargantua, ‘by a long and curious experience found out a means to wipe by bum. The most lordly, the most excellent, the most convenient that was ever seen… I say and maintain that of all the torchecul, arsewipes, bumfodders, tail napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs.”

Gargantua and Panagruel, by Francios Rabelais

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the best thing to wipe your bum with is a gooses neck. The character Gargantua had tried a pillow, a series of hats, a pigeon, calfskin and even a march cat – but apparently the cats’ claws were way too painful, before coming deciding on geese. According to Rabelais’ character, it was the “temperate heat” and incomparable softness that drew him to his groundbreaking conclusion.

Hold up

But hold on for a moment, before you throw out your toilet paper and head out in search for the nearest goose, Francios Rabelais was a satirist well known for his bad and at times grotesque jokes. Gargantua and Pantagruel is a satirical and at time violent book. It is probably Rabelais most well-known work and it is about the adventures of two giants.

Unfortunately, this means that we may never know exactly what truly is the best material to wipe with. It could, in fact, be a gooses neck or it might even be the march cat, how could we ever know?
Unless one of you dear readers would go out and on take on this challenge…


The History of butt wiping
Gargantua and Pantagruel chapter 13

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