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June 22, 2015 / Retirementallychallenged.com

Sitting on the deck of bidet

Like many Americans, I was first introduced to bidets when I traveled through Europe. It took me awhile to gain the required coordination and I never felt completely comfortable using one. The challenge was, after using the “regular’ toilet, I had to, with pants still down around my ankles, shuffle over to the bidet to experience the cleansing wash of water focused on my nether-regions.  I remember feeling rather silly but certainly fresher and cleaner. Once back home, I don’t think I gave bidets a second thought. I was 28, what did I know?

None of the bathrooms on my European travels 30 years ago were this nice, but you get the idea. Image from archiproducts.com

None of the bathrooms on my European travels 30 years ago were this nice, but you get the idea. Image from archiproducts.com

Over the years I’d see them in higher-end homes, but, even if I was tempted, I certainly didn’t have a bathroom big enough to hold two toilet-sized fixtures. Besides, bidets really seemed like an extravagance that was unnecessary in my life.

Then, several of things happened that helped to change my mind:

  • As I’ve gotten older there have been things other than just my skin that have, let’s just say, loosened up.
  • Unlike the bidets I found in Europe in my twenties, there are now toilet seat-integrated bidets — sort of a “one-stop-shop” for you to plop. What used to require not only a bathroom large enough for two fixtures but also extensive re-plumbing now takes up no extra room and can be installed in a few hours by a handy homeowner.
  • A dear friend whose opinion I value greatly speaks of her integrated bidet in terms that can only be described as worshipful adulation.
  • And, well, Costco.

After doing some, um, product testing at my friend’s house and a bit of online research, my husband and I began to think that getting a bidet might not be a bad idea. Then, we saw the integrated seats for sale at Costco and figured the time had come to shit or get off the pot buy one. Now, we are converts.

Do you still have a conventional toilet? I shake my head in pity for you.

Is your toilet seat as cold as ice when you first sit down? My naked bum is welcomed by a soothingly warmed seat (especially nice for those middle-of-the-night sojourns).

When you are finished doing the deed, do you reach for dry toilet paper that (let’s be honest here) doesn’t do the job very well? Then, you use more and more tissue (at the risk of clogging up your plumbing) trying to remove all evidence? My tush is treated to a cleansing warm-water spray that leaves me feeling fresh and clean.

Ah-ha, you say, at least I don’t end up with a wet end! Well, actually neither do I: after my bidet completes the rinse cycle, it finishes up by gently blow-drying my derriere with warmed air.

Oh, did I mention that it has a remote control?

The Seat of Power in our house.

The Seat of Power in our house.

I admit that our bidet has totally ruined me for regular toilet seats. Although not a fan of using public restrooms anyway, I now have an even stronger incentive to keep it together until I get home. If these things were portable, I would have taken ours with us on our recent road trip. Having to use conventional toilets for three weeks straight was almost too much for my tush to tolerate.

Sales in America are tiny compared to the rest of the world but these integrated bidet seats are slowly gaining acceptance. There are several manufacturers (Kohler, Toto and Brondell are just three) and a variety of features available in different price ranges. As consumers start to appreciate the advantages of bidets (including better hygiene care for the disabled and elderly), I’m confident that they will become mainstream here too.

In the meantime, to those of you who haven’t promoted your potty yet, what are you waiting for? Relieve yourself of that seat that just sits there and treat your gluteus to maximus luxury. I guarantee that your bum won’t be bummed.

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28 Comments

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  1. Shelley / Jun 22 2015 3:52 pm

    I experienced my first combo seat in (of all places) Hanoi. It was during one of my Global Volunteers tours of duty, so I was NOT staying at a luxury hotel. And we feel sorry for those third world people?
    The only reason I didn’t have one installed the day after I got off the plane was the need for an electrical outlet. Ours are not in the right place. That is all changing because we are redoing parts of our house, and on the top of the ‘must have’ list were two strategically placed electrical outlets. (yep, we are putting one in the guest bath). Right now, a Brondell seat is waiting in a closet till the electrician can complete the all important task.

  2. Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 22 2015 4:05 pm

    We have a Brondell too! Fortunately, we were able to bring an outlet over to our WC, and, fortunately, my husband is pretty handy. So far we only have one in the master bathroom but might consider one for the guest bath too… except then they might never leave!

  3. Kate Crimmins / Jun 22 2015 4:34 pm

    What a great idea! I’ve never used one but it sounds so….clean!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 22 2015 4:52 pm

      Oh, you must get one! I have become a bidet evangelist… maybe I can get a sponsored post and get paid in free ones for my guest bathroom and powder room!

  4. Denise Hammond / Jun 22 2015 4:36 pm

    OMG. First I heard of the integrated toilet/bidet. My latest water bill had a notice not to flush those sanitary wipes one must use to get clean. But why a remote? Is someone going to control the toilet you are sitting on? What is the reason for it?

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 22 2015 4:59 pm

      They don’t all have remotes. I guess it’s just for convenience. Some have the controls on the side, attached to the seat.

  5. snakesinthegrass2014 / Jun 22 2015 5:57 pm

    Who doesn’t like one-stop-shopping? Well done!

  6. Sammy D. / Jun 22 2015 7:46 pm

    OMG the things I read in the blogosphere. But if you and Shelley are swearing by them, who am I to sneer into the toilet paper? I’ve never tried one despite European opportunities and cannot fathom how it ckeans without a good wipe or swipe. But mostly I probably wouldn’t sit still long enough for the blow dry.

    I can, however, after your testimonial see these catch on as we age and become disabled so I’ll be the late grateful convert!!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 12:12 pm

      You can’t go wrong with a Shelley and Janis endorsement! Blow drys are optional, as is bum warming. I always prefer my toilet seats to give me choices.

      • Sammy D. / Jun 23 2015 2:41 pm

        😊

        BTW I loved your Otis Redding pun title. Too clever !!!

  7. btg5885 / Jun 23 2015 5:45 am

    Your title needs to be sung to the tune of the classic Otis Redding song.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 8:00 am

      That is exactly why I came up with the title… I just love puns. I hope others got it too – otherwise it would be a little bit of a head scratcher. 🙂

      • btg5885 / Jun 23 2015 4:45 pm

        I had a feeling that you planned it that way. Well done.

  8. Terri Webster Schrandt / Jun 23 2015 7:56 am

    This is great, Janis…we are just about to remodel our master BR and add a bathroom. This is a good idea. We have a windsurfer friend whose company sells the fancy toilets with the warm seats, remote the whole shebang. I think since we are adding the bath, that is the way to go. I’ll check out Costco. And I am in full agreement with you on this 🙂

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 12:19 pm

      See my reply below. For some reason, it didn’t go on the thread. Sounds like you have a fun house project planned!

  9. Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 12:17 pm

    Just make sure you have an outlet placed next to the toilet. We actually ended up buying ours online after researching options. Our friend has a Toto, we have a Brondell. I think Costco was selling Kohlers. I’m sure they are all good.

  10. Terri Webster Schrandt / Jun 23 2015 12:25 pm

    Great idea! We can have that built in when we start! Thanks for the advice!

  11. Kat / Jun 23 2015 12:37 pm

    Well done! Funny!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 2:13 pm

      Thank you! I really do like the product but it’s a bit hard to talk about. We (including me) can be so squeamish about normal human functions, right?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Carol Ferenc / Jun 23 2015 2:06 pm

    Although I’ve never used a bidet, it always seemed like such a weird concept to me. Now I’m re-thinking the idea. You made an excellent point about improved hygiene for the disabled and elderly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this most personal topic!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jun 23 2015 2:19 pm

      We Americans think it’s odd, yet many (most?) Europeans wouldn’t think of not having one. I wondered when I posted this what kind of reaction I would get… so far it’s been positive… whew!

  13. Sandi / Jun 25 2015 7:01 am

    Your title alone deserves applause. Very entertaining–and you make a good case for the Euro-peein’ alternative.

  14. liferedesign101Michele / Jul 3 2015 9:36 am

    I’ve never so- it sounds like it has its charms.

  15. Ellen Hawley / Jul 5 2015 9:39 am

    1. The only time I used one I may have been cleaner but I was also wetter. Much, much wetter. Not a plus, in my opinion.

    2. We visited friends in Japan, where some public toilets have not just handles but entire control panels. Our friends’ advice was (a) don’t mess with them because you don’t know what’ll happen and (b) if you do give in to the temptation to punch buttons, don’t scream when things start happening..

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Jul 5 2015 6:18 pm

      If one has the blow dryer option than one’s bum doesn’t stay wait for long! All the little buttons do take some getting used to. I don’t think I’d be too comfortable using a bidet that had unfamiliar settings. I’m not surprised to find out that they aren’t common in the UK either.

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