Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Travel /

It happened when I was going through airport security, in Nice. I couldn’t help noticing that the older gentlemen right before me had suppositories in his plastic bag. Then it downed on me: I had completely forgotten about suppositories. You see, nobody uses them this side on the Channel. In fact, I hadn’t missed them at all. And I am pretty sure that my (British) daughters didn’t miss them either. Hmmm, I am not sure I will ask them. Some things are probably better left unsaid.


So why are suppositories so popular in my home country? – I wondered. This is the one subject that we French are quite relaxed about, whereas the British conversely get very hot under the collar whenever suppositories are mentioned. In fact, we French will quite happily use suppositories for any ailment. The gentleman wasn’t ashamed to put some in his little bag, and he even smiled at me while putting it back into his luggage. I could even see that the suppositories were for constipation relief. Not that I needed to know, obviously. But to be fair, it was right in my face; I couldn’t really miss it.

Then I remembered. I was told countless times by my pharmacist that they work much quicker than tablets. This is because they go straight into the bloodstream, and I was also explained that they are better for the system, because less chemicals are added to the active ingredients. As a result, French doctors love to prescribe them.

My family doctor used to find them very valuable for babies and older people, because they bypassed the stomach. I am sure he was right. He often prescribed them to adults too.

As for me, well, I couldn’t help thinking that:

  • I would never, ever, show off my suppositories in my transparent plastic bag at airport security. I would die of shame if someone had seen me with suppositories. I would dye my hair blonde, and ask for a brand new identity. That’s just me. Maybe I am becoming less French?
  • I still can’t believe that the French security agents didn’t say anything.
  • As much as I understand the reason why suppositories are so valuable, I think that I will try to avoid them. What can I say? I might be more British than I thought.

So tell me, what about you? What do you think of suppositories? Are you more British than French, or the other way around?