What is a Bidet and How to Use a Bidet?
Ah America, land of the free and home of the brave! Now if only that courage can extend to trying and using the new type of Japanese toilets called washlets instead of the old-style toilets we’ve been using for a hundred years. Many of them are made by Toto (the most popular toilet manufacturer in Japan) and they’re sometimes called the Toto bidet. But for Americans, that just leads to more questions, such as what’s the bidet definition and how does a bidet work?
These are questions that all over the world they don’t bother asking, because bidets are common everywhere except in America.
What is a Bidet?
Simply put, a bidet is like a toilet, except it’s like a shower for your nether regions. It’s designed to help you clean up and freshen up after you’ve used the toilet. You straddle the bidet, and then jets of spray water come up so you can get clean. It offers a more thorough cleansing than using just dry toilet paper.
These things were invented by the French (if you didn’t get that from the name, which you pronounce with a silent t). They’ve been in use since the early 1700s by the French aristocracy, which as you would expect were quite adamant in matters of hygiene and cleanliness.
At first, it was simply a water-filled bowl, and you used your hand to splash water on yourself. By about 1750, they incorporated a hand pump to the bidet which sprayed the water upward. This was the start of the modern bidet.
In most cases, the toilet is separate from the bidet, but that’s beginning to change. In the Toto bidet, for example, the toilet and bidet functions are built into one device.
How Do You Use a Bidet?
For prudish Americans, it’s probably best to read this article than to get the info from some other medium. You have to admit, this subject can be rather discomfiting for sensitive American sensibilities regarding doing a “number 2”. The fact that we still use these euphemisms speaks a lot about our queasiness about the subject matter.
So, of course, talking about these things can be a cause for embarrassment. And watching a video on using a bidet may be out of the question for most Americans, regardless of the fact that they are the greatest producers and consumers of porn in the world.
Now let’s begin:
- First you use the toilet. The bidet, as we’ve said, is designed for use after you’ve done your business.
- Then you straddle the bidet. You’ll have to transfer location when you have a standalone bidet in the bathroom. Now you can sit astride it as you would a toilet. But it may be a better idea to remove your pants altogether and sit backwards since the controls of the bidet is near the wall.
- Turn on the water carefully with only a slight turn of the control. This is important if you’re using the bidet for the first time, because the bidet may send a high jet of water.
- If the bidet has controls for hot and cold water, you may want to start with adjusting the cold water first. While some bidets may need time to heat up the water, other bidets don’t need time to heat the water up. So while you may be uncomfortable at first with the splash of cold water spray, at least you don’t end up with a nasty burn in rather sensitive areas of your anatomy.
- Your position over the bidet is a matter of personal preference, although most bidets are designed so that you can sit down on them. So you can do just that, or hover over it in a squatting position. Just position yourself so that the water jets clean the areas you want to clean.
- Now use your hands to clean the area, just as you would use your hands to clean yourself when you’re showering.
- Afterwards, you can use the dryer if the bidet has one built in. Other bidets have an attached towel you can use to wash your nether regions. You can also use toilet paper to dry up if you want.
- When you’re done, for a few seconds afterwards you should run the jets at low pressure to rinse the basin. This keeps the bidet fresh.
- Now wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water.
Obviously, if your hands are dirty you don’t just swipe it with a dry toilet paper and consider your hands clean afterwards. So why should your nether regions be clean just because you swiped toilet paper on it? This is the riddle of American sanitary habits which has the rest of the world truly puzzled.
Why are Bidets Uncommon in the US?
Nobody knows for sure. In the US, cultural habits make this subject an uncomfortable topic for discussion. There are several theories. One hypothesis is that the Brits in the 1700s were not exactly fans of French aristocracy, so the colonists automatically disdained something that the French aristocracy used.
The US first became aware of bidets when their soldiers liberated France in WWII. The problem was that since most of these guys only encountered them in the brothels, they associated its use with immorality. And they didn’t exactly talk about it when they went back home, because after all, they didn’t exactly cherish explaining their visit to a brothel to their families in the US.
This lack of familiarity with bidets became evident in the 1960s, when a would-be entrepreneur named Arnold Cohen tried to market the bidet in the US. The problem was that 99% of the people in the country had never even heard of the bidet (and the 1% thought it was naughty). He really couldn’t find ways to run ads about bidets, because most people considered the topic vulgar.
In any case, we’re now well into the new millennium, and with the Internet and hopefully more open minds, Americans can learn to use the bidet, and perhaps learn to appreciate it too.