4 Comments
Jun 2Liked by Lloyd Alter

He was ahead of his time in many ways and a great artist but he was a callous husband. He had no obvious concern for his wife’s most basic wishes.

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She hated the glaring light everywhere too, I understand.

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This brought back a number of, scatological memories of France from 1978. I spent 4 months in Europe in 1978 & as a North American University student the WC facilities in France & southern Europe were eye opening. "Turkish Toilets" were the norm in many youth hostels, pensiones & public WC's. I'd been warned but the WTF moment when one has to navigate this is really funny in hindsight. As a Fine Art major, I did spend a lot of time in Art Galleries & museums so these WC's were more what I was used to, so I used to use them even if I didn't really have to do so. The really odd thing I kept seeing was the large number of Plumbing boutiques. How strange I thought that people who seemed oblivious to modern conveniences would have these many boutiques! What I didn't know I was observing is what you point out in your article; the beginning of the people of France changing their minds about such things.

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The hygiene offensive was still going on well into the 1980s, when we came here as students, schools were still actively pushing it. When we moved here around 2000, there were people in the village who had raised a large family with no bathroom, only a sink to wash in (rumour had it the elderly couple concerned had never seen each other naked either!) and small boys were encouraged to go pee outside as flushing a toilet just for that was seen as a waste of water (which it is really). The squat pan toilets still exist, and I think they are still made, though you see fewer of them now. I really wouldn't say the people I know here now, young or older, are less hygienically inclined than anyone else; one youngster I taught who went to stay in an expat Brit family to help his English was rather surprised with their lack of cleanliness (though very polite about it!). Anecdotally, many Europeans (except maybe Germans), find Americans in their experience obsessively, wastefully over-clean, especially with regard to washing machines and tumble dryers.

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