My Toilet Paper Confuses Me

10 years ago to the day, I published a post in my personal blog by this same name. Four years later, again on my personal blog, I resurrected it with an epilogue. And, here I am again. Why this time of year seems to prompt me writing about toilet paper, I’ve yet to learn. Nevertheless, here is my 2011 version and yet another epilogue afterward.


October 2011

This blog was originally posted back in 2007. Almost 4 years ago to the day exactly actually. Odd that it came up again in my head. I must be on a 4 year cycle. That didn’t sound right.

Anyway, here it is again. My new thoughts appear afterward.

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October 2007

Well, if you read my blogs and you enjoy my occasional rants about life on planet Earth, you’ve probably wondered why I haven’t written about this sooner. Mind you, it’s been on my mind daily…multiple times a day in fact. Yes, every time I hit the can (that didn’t sound very lady-like, did it? Honestly, there’s not much about going to the bathroom that IS lady-like so why pretend?), I am faced with a burning sensatio…I mean, question. bwahahahaha I crack myself up. Get it? Crack? Geez, I think my morning coffee has finally kicked in.

Photo of several rolls of toilet paper.OK, let’s get serious here. I’m talking about my toilet paper. Excuse me, bathroom tissue. Who the hell calls it that anyway? Is there someone out there that has a patent on the term Toilet Paper like the Kleenex people that can only call their product kleenex despite the free world calling any other piece of “facial tissue” that? Whatever. Bathroom tissue. That sounds so ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m pretty particular about my toi-…uh…bathroom tissue. Almost to the point of being snobby about it. Ridiculous, you say? Not really. I mean, I use the stuff multiple times a day. Any real person should be a snob about something they use that many times a day, right? Especially on their hiney. Like, if you put a lotion on your bits and pieces five times a day and it was kind of gritty, would you really want that or would you look for a lotion that felt good. Not so much of crazy lady now, am I?

But yeah, I’m a 2-ply girl. Always have been. There’s nothing worse than having to use 1-ply. Or, shudder, one of those toilet seat covers in the bathroom at your favorite club that is THE spot to hang out at but only has one, ONE, stall in the women’s room and it is ALWAYS out of the dreaded economy 1-ply that they put in there. At least it’s better than those brown paper towels. But, yeah, 1-ply. I just don’t get it. If I can SEE through my toilet paper, umm bath tissue, then I can’t imagine how a few squares of it is going to get the job done. Sure, it’s cheaper but, when you have to use twice as much of it just so that you don’t feel the need to pull on a pair of surgical gloves every time you enter the john, are you really saving any money? I think not.

So, in case your mind has become cluttered with my ramblings thus far, here’s where we are…

I like 2-ply. Oh, I’m such a girl. Just used something like a thousand words to express what I could have in three words. Aaaaanyway, I also buy my rolls in bulk. I do big grocery shopping once every 6-8 weeks, so I buy the giganto pack at Costco and I buy the good 2-ply there, which happens to be Charmin. And, yes, you actually DO save money buying it there vs buying several smaller packs at Winco (yes, I’ve done the math; don’t judge me).

I’ve been buying the monster humongo pack for years now, and I love it. I love running out of TP in the bathroom and knowing that there are 18 more rolls in the garage. It’s such a better feeling than looking around for what you might be able to substitute for TP when you run out and have no more in the house. And, the inevitable questioning that runs through your mind of, “If I tear up the paper towels into smaller pieces, would it still clog my toilet?”

So, Charmin currently uses these cute animated bears as their spokes…people. Personally, I like them. They’re awfully cute. Better looking than Mr. Whipple that’s for sure. Not that I didn’t like him, but the bears really are better looking and more cuddly. And that’s important when you’re choosing something to wipe your butt with, right? Umm…right?

The Bears…

Anyway, the bears are cute and I like that, and it makes me a little more jovial when I’m balancing 24 mega rolls on my overflowing cart in Costco. Recently, though, there’s been a change in product line and ad campaign that has left me distressed. They have recently come out with the Ultra Strong line of bath tissue, and it frightens and confuses me.

Image of the blue and red bears from Charmin advertisements.First of all, the cute little bear is now red. That disturbs me. Why red? No matter how gentle the face looks on that bear, I’m just reminded of something hot and evil and burning. NOT the mental picture I’d like to associate with my tp. Why not something like lavender or moss green? Not a real color of a bear, you say? Well, flaming red isn’t either.

OK, maybe red because it is supposed to represent something firm? I still don’t get it. Red still represents burning to me and I’ve always been told that was something that should worry me if I experienced it when I peed.

Why not gray? Reminds me of slate, rocks, concrete. Still not something I’d like to wipe with but it’s firm and a real color of wilderness creatures. And, while they’re at it, please change my bear, now in blue to represent the Ultra Soft line, back to brown, please. Because blue is not a real color of a bear and brown is more natural and the most universally accepted color to represent toilet paper…???

The Real Issue

So, my real issue, though, is how do I know if I qualify as someone who needs firm toilet paper? Why did they even decide they needed firm tp? Were there throngs of people calling the Charmin execs with this need? I don’t even “get” firm toilet paper. Now, this isn’t a topic that I generally quiz my friends on but I’ve never ever heard of anyone that has complained about the lack of availability of firm bath tissue. So, once again, I am brought to the question of, “What are the qualifying factors?”

As in many of my quests for truth and knowledge, I went straight to the internet…because, of course, we all know that there are never any lies perpetuated there. I googled “firm toilet paper”. Nothing. I remembered my mistake at that point and corrected my search terms to read “firm bath tissue”. Still nothing. So, I went to the source, Charmin’s website. I was immediately greeted by the red and blue bears. Fire and ice. It’s like a giant bear hemorrhoid. The site has nice little PR blurbs about each of its kinds of tp. And, here’s what I learned…

  1. I can choose if I need “a little more strength” or “a little more softness”
  2. The ultra-firm tp uses a “Diamond Weave texture to create a bath tissue that helps get your family clean by leaving fewer pieces behind”
  3. The ultra-soft formula is “the softest and most absorbent…to provide your family with a comforting touch”

My response is…

  1. I still don’t know what qualifies me for either
  2. Again, never knew there were people out there that had such a problem with bits of tissue being left all over the place
  3. It gives me a funny feeling now that I know the Charmin people are wanting to touch me in a comforting way

So, finding no real answers, I went to the FAQ’s expecting to find some answers. I now Photo of splintered wood.know what to do if my plies aren’t lined up correctly, whether or not I can flush the disposable wipes they make, that I shouldn’t clean the plastic lenses of my glasses with bath tissue since it’s made from paper and paper is made from wood (so, not good for plastic lenses but OK for my tender parts? There is more to question here.), and that it is up to my household to battle it out as to which is the correct way to hang the toilet paper. Was there a chart or anything like that to let me know if I was a candidate for firm or soft tp, though? NO!

So, here I am, left with more questions than I started with. My initial thought is to stick with the blue bear. The red bear frightens me for one thing. I don’t know that I trust the Diamond Weave texture. Aren’t diamonds supposed to be the hardest substance on earth? Yeah, like that sounds comfortable to wipe with. Might as well just pass over the extra coarse grit sandpaper already attached to the finishing sander.

The blue bear, though, doesn’t provide me with an image of comfort, either. He looks cold, icy cold, and reminds me of a slab of fat, furry ice. Wet and slick and cold. Not what I’m looking for in a tissue. Worse yet, what if you get stuck to it like the kid who licks the flag pole? Removal of it usually involves at least a few layers of skin. No. Thank. You.

Oh, the life questions I wrestle with from day to day. When will it all end? I’m contemplating cotton balls. Upside = soft and fluffy. Downside = way too small and linty. Maybe a chinchilla?

Oh, and by the by, the Charmin site calls it TOILET PAPER in their site title!!

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October 2011

So, fast forward four years. I no longer have a membership to Costco, so I just mooch off my mom’s membership. Whenever I’m there, though, I feel more pressed to purchase the items I can’t find at a regular store than I am to buy toilet pa-… bathroom tissue. I am, nonetheless, still fanatical about my choice.
Clipart image of a goat.

On a complete side note, a question has occurred to me over the years. Why bears? Is it because of the age old question, “Do bears shit in the woods?” I mean, if the question was, “Do goats crap in the barnyard?” would there be goats on the packaging? I digress. Again.

While on a recent shopping trip, coupons in hand, I marched to the paper goods aisle and weighed my options. I could use the coupon on a 12 or 16 roll pack. Obviously, I wanted the 16 roll. It’s cheaper in the first place PLUS I would get to use my coupon. I was devastated to learn that my beloved blue bear tissue was only available in a 12 pack.

However, the thought did occur to me…

blue = cold = ice = ice cube trays = 14 cubes to a tray = why don’t they offer my rolls in a 14 pack?

Yes, my mind really works that way. In any case, the newer Charmin Basic was offered in a 16 pack. The bear is brown. That appealed to me. It seemed so real; so normal; so natural. That thinking alone should have clued me in immediately that it wasn’t a good choice. But, the giddiness of a 16 pack overwhelmed me, and I bought two packages ’cause my coupon would cover it. What a deal!!

Lessons Learned

Reality struck about a week later. Actually, the reality of some boy in my house using all but the last square on the roll and then just leaving it there Image of an empty toilet paper roll.for an unsuspecting mother to find hit first. The next reality was that our inside-the-house stash is located several feet from the throne. The third was that whoever had put that roll on in the first place neglected to notice that it was the last roll in the house and did not replenish the stash. Gaaawwwdddd!!!!

Anyway, when I finally got around to using my brown bear tissue, I knew immediately that something was amiss. The item a-missing was my second ply!! I’ve used leaves in the forest with more coverage than this stuff! In my gleeful dance to the checkout line, I had completely missed the fact that this Basic version was 1-ply! Gads, it’s been centuries since I’ve made a mistake like this! And, now I have 36 rolls of it. THIR-TY-SIX!!

Looking at the package, one would think this tissue is the bomb. It claims it “holds up.” Holds up to what? An eyedropper? That’s about it. Don’t ask. Actually, on their website there’s a video to prove that it holds up… to a gumball. A gumball? What the hell? Is this the litmus test for bath tissue?

It also says that it has “Duraflex texture.” What’s that supposed to be? Umm… there’s a flower pattern on the squares. Is that it? The website doesn’t even address the issue of what it is. Sounds like a government cover up. Duraflex makes me think that maybe it’s a more eco-friendly option than a rubber band. Duraflex makes me think that I might be able to tow a car with it. Not so on either account. The only thing that’s flexible about this version is that you can moosh it up into a ball like any other product of its kind. Of course, it takes about 14 squares to equal the same size wad as four squares of my blue bear tissue. Geez, I wonder if the red bear version only requires two squares? I smell a comparison test in the making. No pun intended.

Anyway, I’m down to 31 rolls at this point and have decided there’s nothing “Basic” about my need for a good bathroom tissue. The brown bear has no place in my bathroom. The first chance I get, I’m replacing him with my blue bear. Actually, I may try their new “Sensitive” tissue. It says it has lotion in it to pamper my skin. Oddly enough, there’s no video on the site proving that. And, it is represented by a brown bear. Nope. Fool me once… Blue bear it is; no matter how much it still confuses me.


Image of toilet paper on a holder featuring a crown.You’ll be glad to know I am still a rabidly loyal blue bear using girl. Because I, along with my bits and pieces, mind you, am worth it! Yeah, I’m a bit of a princess. Maybe it’s time for me to revamp the telling of The Princess and the Pee.

~karen

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