Nearly everyone I talk to about bidets (and that's nearly everyone) acts mystified. How do they work? What does it feel like? Isn't it icky? So after a brief but hilarious discussion with Chris, I deemed it worthy of a blog rant.
Listen. When your hands are, say, covered in mud from working in the garden, how do you clean them? Do you wipe a few times with a paper towel, and then go back to preparing dinner? No, you use water, 'cause water is what humans use to get stuff clean. It's the universal solvent (high school chemistry deserts me, but that sounds right-ish).
Not convinced? Ok. Imagine yourself in possession of a soiled, screaming, malodorous infant. For reasons you can't fathom, it falls on you to clean the child's fundament. What tool would you reach for? A roll of dry, scratchy toilet paper, or a soft, moist baby wipe? Right! Because, as we established, POOP DIRTY! WATER CLEAN GOOD POOP!
So, why, friends, when it's time to polish your own wazoo, do you recoil at the thought of adding H2O to the equation? To put it bluntly, when you only use toilet paper, you're not clearing, you're smearing! Stop fooling yourselves! Your little sphinxes will thank you!
Now, let me introduce you to your new best friend...
Bidets have come a long way since you last saw one on a backpacking trip through Europe (and couldn't decide whether to pee or wash your hands in it). Nowadays, you can get one that fits right over your existing toilet bowl, has a heated seat, seventeen temperature and pressure settings, and knows to how to aim for girls versus boys.
The one we have in our house is the Brondell Swash 550 (now out of production), an integrated bidet and toilet seat that works with almost any toilet bowl (here's a list of a bunch of different models). We paid $299, which might seem a little pricey, but if you divide that by the number of dukes you nuke in just one year, it's actually quite reasonable. Ours needs a power outlet nearby to warm the water and seat, but there are non-powered options out there if you don't have a plug around. It needs minimal cleaning and doesn't take up extra space.
Can I tell you how much we love this thing? My wife (who is going to kill me now), practically refuses to do her business anywhere else. Our friends (who are going to deny this, then kill me), seem to make a special visits just to number-two at our house. Like, 'Oops, we were just in the neighborhood ... can I go poopy in your awesome toilet? Again!' Yeah right.
To start with, the heated seat is a simple luxury that will make you feel like the king of a small island nation. In the winter, when it's 20 below outside, I sometimes sit on the toilet with my pants down just for the hell of it. You have to feel it to believe it, but after getting used to our heated seat, every unheated one I sit on gives me the prairie dogs (nope; not explaining it).
Then there's the bidet itself, the precise workings of which I won't describe in great detail, 'cause we're not friends like that. But I will say you'll never feel so fresh and so clean. No, it doesn't hurt (it's an odd feeling at first, I guess, but certainly not painful). No, it doesn't miss (unless you move the target around). And no, it's not unhygienic (the bidet wand never actually touches you, so you're not sharing germs). You do still have to wipe; just not as much (it's a big toilet paper saver, if you're into that).
So there you have it. I know our family will never have a toilet without one again. If there were a pro-bidet march at the capitol, I'd probably go to it (woah, it scares me that that's actually true). As awkward and ridiculous as it is, I truly believe people would be better off if more of them used this simple, effective technological advancement.
Get over your preconceptions and find a friend who has one you can try out. Just don't stop by our neighborhood; ours is occupied.