During a recent visit to the United Kingdom I was reminded of a charming and altogether little publicized facet of British living, which I had pushed to the nether regions of my memory (for reasons which will become clear). It all came rushing back to me (literally) upon my first visit to the loo in my London hotel room.
British toilets, at least the consistent majority of those visited by me in the six or seven months of my residence there, are very peculiar. I would not suggest that American toilets are necessarily superior but I am puzzled as to how it is that such a small change in construction lends itself to a completely different toileting experience. A far less pleasant toileting experience, I may suggest, for those who prefer a dry bum at the end of a trip to the john.
In terms of engineering: the British toilet possess two distinct difference from its American counterpart:  a greater distance between the water and toilet seat;  significantly less water surface area. You can see this illustrated in a clever drawing below:
On a positive note, it would appear that a British toilet uses less water per flush; however, one’s feces reaches terminal velocity on the trip downward and, upon arriving at the small drinking-glass-size reservoir at the bottom, sends the majority of the toilet’s liquid content skyward, which quickly retraces the distance most recently traveled and arrives promptly at one’s bum with scattering force.
When I was a resident alien, in lieu of establishing a routine that permitted me to shower after each bowel movement, I asked how it was one avoided this exciting rush. The answer, given by many: lay toilet paper across surface of the water, thereby breaking the turd’s fall and reducing the splash effect.
And I did. And I didn’t question it. And all was good, if not peculiar, until I returned stateside and forgot all about it.
My most recent trip across the pond reminded me that while we may speak the same language, our toilets do not. Of course: I am not the only individual who has experienced this “ass splash” — aside from the tens of millions of Brits who bear this cultural burden every day, a quick perusal of the internet unturns others with a similarly displeasing experience. From a more generic pondering to a comparison between british and german vessels, many greater men and women have attempted to tackle the beast that is the british bathroom.
All in all I have learned some important lessons, which form a syllogism (of sorts):  I don’t like water, urine, and feces splashed all over my bare ass;  British toilets are stupid;  but not as stupid as german toilets.