How to use a bidet? Admit it, at some point you’ve wondered…
Popular in many parts of the world, Americans have never embraced the idea of washing themselves “down there” to stay clean. No, we prefer rolls and rolls of toilet paper, which often does a “crappy” job. (sorry, couldn’t resist.) North Americans use 37.5 billion rolls of toilet paper each year. That’s a lot of trees!
Bidet furniture was a thing!
The bidet–pronounced bee-DAY–showed up in the late 1600s, with the first apparent reference in 1710. By 1750, Italians were gaga for it, and furniture makers were designing it for use in the bedroom. Without plumbing, the early bidet was little more than a bowl of water, with a manual pump or syringe, used to wash the genitals and butt after a variety of functions that included those body parts. But folks seemed to like the idea of feeling fresh and the word spread.
Today, when you travel, there’s a good chance you will encounter a bidet. With modern plumbing, they migrated to the bathroom and are usually next to the toilet. Very handy. And no, it is not used as a place to wash your feet or as an ice bucket. Americans tend to snigger like a bunch of boys who just found an older girl’s bra on a clothesline. Don’t be that person.
How to use a bidet: Step-by-step
This is all quite interesting, you say. But how the heck do I use a bidet? It’s easy!
- Use the toilet before cleaning up on the bidet. There is usually a towel rack nearby with a small towel. Some places even have a soap holder near the bidet. Because Europe is old, and so are its sewer systems, toilet paper is not recommended.
- Take a few seconds to study the faucets. Where will the water come out? There can be a few variations in design, and you probably don’t want to be surprised…
- Okay, now you can straddle! Sit facing front (like a toilet) or facing back, so you can control the water. You may need to strip from the waist to sit properly.
- Turn on the water, hot water first. Add cold water until the temperature is right for you. Just like with bath water, be careful. Don’t start until everything is comfortable.
- Scoot into position so the water is hitting all the places you want to clean. Use soap or body wash if you want, using your hands the same way you would in the shower. Rinse well.
- Dry off with a towel. Again, try to avoid toilet paper.
There you go. That’s how you use a bidet. Oh, and they’re for all genders.
Why didn’t Americans get on the bidet bandwagon? Well, the British didn’t like the French, and therefore rejected the whole concept. And since the United States came from England, that was that. Then, in World War II, soldiers who visited European prostitutes noticed bidets in the brothels. Bidets became a symbol of immorality.
Fun fact: In French, bidet is a small horse with short legs. Because a straddle position is used for the porcelain version, people started calling it a bidet.
If you have a funny or unusual bidet story, share it with us! Did you know how to use a bidet?
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