My Buddy, the Bidet

The Bidet, Italywise

Here in Italy the bidet is indispensable when it comes to person hygiene.

Well, I promised myself I would be faithful to discussing all facets of my new life here in Italy. And, to that promise, today I’m writing lovingly about my buddy, the bidet. Pardon me if I insert a bit of bathroom humor, but I’ll try to keep it clean as possible (the puns already are starting!).

The bidet is found most widely in southern Europe, with Italy topping the list.

Wikipedia will ground you in the basics of the bidet, if for some reason, you need an education. I saw my first bidet many moons ago when I was studying art here in Italy. My university group had landed in Paris, and we were staying there for a couple of nights before taking the train to Florence. In our little hotel I remember my moment of extreme bewilderment when I saw this hybrid of a sink and a toilet. I stood there, wondering if there was a hidden camera recording my confusion, and my eventual choice as to which device to use. Mom and dad hadn’t prepared me for this. I chose wisely, opting to go with the known entity. I asked questions later, but basically got an explanation that it was for women to “freshen up” after using the toilet.

Now I understand so much more. And, I don’t know what I would do without one in our home.

Italians take their personal hygiene and their bathroom habits seriously. I’ve heard many of my Italian friends remark, with disbelief, that a bidet isn’t a common bathroom fixture in the United States, even going so far as to say “Che schifo!”, or “How disgusting!”. This is followed up with an inquiry as to how Americans make sure they’re “clean” after going to the toilet, and remarking that toilet paper surely can’t do a complete job.

I have to agree.

I now understand that the bidet is designed for both genders. The hurdle for me was getting past the sitting on cold porcelain. Yikes, that’s an abrupt feeling of cold. Now I know what women feel like when the men in their households leave the toilet seat up, and they experience surprise contact with porcelain.

But, now I’m well versed in how to use the bidet. A person can sit facing the faucet or opposite, depending on the task at hand, or personal preference. Soaps for “intimate” areas are always within reach.

What happens when space doesn’t allow for a bidet?

An important question, especially since some bathrooms simply aren’t large enough to accommodate a bidet. If you’ve ever been to Italy, and seen a faucet with a hose next to the toilet, well that’s what it’s for – not to hose down the floor or clean the bath, though it certainly can come in handy in that regard. The problem, for me, with this “solve”, is the inability to control and contain the water during the hose-down of private parts. And, the force of the water often is a bit much for my taste. But, now that my “house training” has adapted me to the benefits of the bidet, I’ll certainly take the hose over not having anything but toilet paper.

Now, when I’m out and about, and a bidet or a special hygiene hose doesn’t exist (as is the case in many restaurants and bar/cafès) I’m not a happy camper. And, when I visit the States, I have to revert to old habits, and settle for not having the extra dose of “clean up”. Certainly not the end of the world, but now that I’ve seen the light, I’m a convert.

Yes, I’m spoiled, but I’m happy not to be soiled (sorry, couldn’t resist it).

I hope you enjoyed this brief post extolling the wonders of the bidet!

 

By |2016-06-20T18:34:37+00:00June 21st, 2016|My Life in Italy|7 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

7 Comments

  1. Anita June 25, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Ciao Jed…yes memories of first encounter yrs ago at my sisters home !! Thanks for “toilet” talk helpful to mew bidet users!! Love all your posts! Hugs Anita

  2. Hannah Neufeld June 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed!

    I must say I LOVE my bidet…… when I had my bathrooms remodeled recently I put one in my bathroom….. except it is not a separate stool – It fits over the top of my commode. Just slides on easy-peasy after you take the old seat off. All you need is a water source and electric source. It is from Hi-Tech and called “Feel Fresh”. Was going to buy a Toto but the Feel Fresh was half the price and the only thing missing was a puff of air to dry those parts. I am able to adjust the seat temperature (comes in handy in the winter months!!), the water flow pressure, and the water temperature. Was going to send you a picture but cannot attach to this….. anyway, anyone could look it up. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier! Have always loved bidets and often sing “I love a bidet” after using it and feeling fresh along to the tune of “I love a parade”. So there you have it!! Angi and I had a GREAT time in Italy (and I loved using the Italian bidets).

    • Jed June 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Ciao Hannah! So nice to hear from you and to know that you are a big fan of the bidet! Spread the word. I’d love to hear more about your particular device. Send me a photo at jed@italywise.com. I had a wonderful time with you and Angi – even though it rained so much! Hope you have readjusted to being back. Please stay in touch! Baci, Jed

  3. Kathy Sexton June 22, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

    Jed, I loved the post. I can almost hear Liz talking about your bidet…and possibly even sketching it!

    • Jed June 22, 2016 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Yes, I’m sure Mom easily could’ve made this the subject of a sketch or painting. She was fearless!

  4. Brent Cagle June 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Great post! I love bidets though we don’t have one.

    • Jed June 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Glad you like this “bathroom humor”, which hopefully I used effectively to extol the benefits of the bidet. When you come to visit, you’ll be in bathroom heaven!

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