The Bidet: We Are Ready

Melissa - Overland Park, Kansas
Entered on May 22, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe we should bring the bidet into general use to the United States. The European countries that use them and have used them for so long are light years ahead of us in this matter. We have been without it as a common amenity in middle-class households for long enough. It isn’t like it is still the 1950’s when the middle class was not as worldly as it is today. Now it is in vogue for regular folks to flaunt our new cosmopolitan outlook. The bidet is not so exotic anymore, and it is time for us to embrace it.

I travelled to Spain and France for the first time last summer eagerly anticipating the European toilet experience that I had read so much about. I admit that I approached this aspect of travel with some trepidation and anxiety as I tiptoed through Paris for the first time. I was nervous about the hole-in-the-floor accommodations I had been warned about. To my surprise, and even disappointment, the toilets in the public restrooms that I visited were quite American. I wanted the real European experience, not some Americanized version like Euro-Disney.

I had resigned myself to the fact that all the bathrooms would be pretty much like they were back in Kansas, when I found to my delight that the hotel in Pamplona, Spain held a surprise for me. There, across from the toilet, sat a tiny sink close to the floor, with a spigot angling out of the wall above it in a down-then-out direction. It was as thrilling as Christmas morning. I was really excited to try it out, but wanted to be sure that it was in fact a bidet. I always pictured a bidet as a basin with a spout of water coming up from the bottom somehow, instead of from the wall behind it. There was a small soap shelf and towel bar positioned on the wall at perfect access level if one was to sit on the basin facing the wall. I did worry that perhaps this could be a foot basin and not a basin for this other part of the body, but nobody was looking so I tried it.

I enjoyed the bidet for the entire five days that I was there and swore that if I were to design a bathroom, I would definitely include the bidet. It cleans the necessary parts so effectively that there is no need to shower the entire body, until it is really necessary, of course. I found this to be very logical and useful and I believe that when the bidet does finally catch on in the U.S., it will be greedily embraced by everyone.