Bobbie's Beat: The gutsy guest

No one wants to read about an event to which you were not invited, but bear with me as there is usually a method to my madness. First of all, no names will be disclosed to protect the guilty … and someone is definitely guilty, but it’s not me!

Recently I was included at a local private home for a special occasion, all-female dinner party. The guest of honor, beloved by all of us, was moving away after many years of being very active in this community. As we sat around the table enjoying dinner, the conversational table topics were typical when women get together. My brain had to race to keep up with the subjects, which rapidly ranged from kids, grandkids, food, wine, recipes, pets, travel, in-laws, out-laws, health and husbands, although there were five of us who no longer have one. However, we lovingly discussed our departed spouses anyhow. 

Here comes the point of this column today. I tend to think those of us around the table intuitively avoided mentioning politics because anyone with good social skills knows the mention of THAT subject would have put an immediate damper on our happy mood.    

Suddenly, one of the women brought up the topic of toilet paper and a long-ago column in which I expressed my opinion that the TP should be hung over the top, not under. A few heads at the table nodded in agreement, and I thought that was that. As the evening progressed, several of us eventually made a trip to the guest bathroom, including me. Of course, I noticed the TP was hung “incorrectly,” but I have never been one to change it in someone else’s home. I can be gutsy, but not THAT gutsy. As the evening drew to a close, the woman next to me returned from the bathroom and whispered in my ear: “I want you to know that this house has now been ‘Lippman-ized.’” When it dawned on me what she meant, I had to go and see for myself — not that I had to go, but my curiosity was on high alert. Since my phone was in a pocket, I snapped a picture, which may or may not appear today. Not that the TP dispenser was any different than yours or mine, but I figured the photo might be useful in the unlikely event I ever run out of subject ideas.

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If you are still reading, here is some valuable information for you on the TP topic:

  1. The first recorded use of toilet paper was in 6th century China. By the 14th century, the Chinese government was mass producing it.
  2. Packaged toilet paper wasn’t sold in the United States until 1857.
  3. It wasn’t until 1935 that a manufacturer was able to promise splinter-free toilet paper.
  4. Seven percent of Americans admit to stealing rolls of toilet paper in hotels.
  5. Historically what you use to wipe depends on your income level.
  6. Wealthy Romans used wool soaked in rose water, and French royalty used lace.
  7. Other things that were used before toilet paper include: hay, corncobs, sticks, stones, sand, moss, hemp, wool, fruit peels, sponges, seashells, knotted ropes and broken pottery. (ouch).
  8. 70-75 percent of the world still doesn’t use toilet paper because it is too expensive and there is not sufficient plumbing.
  9. In many Western European countries, bidets are seen as more effective and preferable to toilet paper.
  10. Colored toilet paper was popular in the U.S. until the 1940s.
  11. In 1973, Johnny Carson caused a toilet paper shortage. He said, as a joke, that there was a shortage, which there wasn’t, until everyone believed him and ran out to buy up the supply. It took three weeks for some stores to get more in stock.
  12. When asked what necessity they would bring to a desert island, 49 percent of people said toilet paper before food.
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I bet you are also wondering if the hostess of that dinner party ever noticed the TP had been changed, i.e. hung correctly, in her guest bathroom. I do admit my utmost admiration for the gutsy guest who made the change. She is my kind of gal.


Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available on Amazon, at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]



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