Sitting on the Deck of Bidet*

This is a reblog of a post from back in 2015. In light of the current toilet paper shortages, I thought I’d rerun it as a public service. You are welcome.

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

Over the years I would 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 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, there are now toilet seat-integrated bidets — sort of a “one-stop-shop” on which 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. When we saw the integrated seats for sale at Costco, we 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?

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, we would take ours with us on our travels. Having to use conventional toilets for an extended period is 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.

The seat of power in our house.

* Sincere apologies to the ghost of Otis Redding.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

116 thoughts on “Sitting on the Deck of Bidet*”

  1. Joanne and I were both researching bidets since our group chat!😁
    There are portable/travel ones, Janis. Google “bum guns”. Basically a squeeze bottle with a nozzle on the end. I tried to order one this morning but no luck so far. I’m gonna keep trying because I don’t think I can get the fancy kind anytime soon. Glad you reposted!

    Deb

  2. So timely. DH and I were just discussing this morning. I bet if I looked right now, I wouldn’t be able to find one. Someone is probably hoarding those too. Thanks for the great laugh!!!

  3. We have two, count ‘em, TWO Brondell combo seats. I encountered my first combo seat in Hanoi. Take THAT, all you ethnocentric Americans who think we can’t learn anything from other countries! I love the seat warmer and the heated water that cleans my “goods”. I will confess I’m not as thrilled with the blow job. I get impatient, grab the paper and dry myself off.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    1. I remember when I first posted this, you said that you had a bidet (purchased because of your experience in Hanoi) that still had to be installed. True confession: we don’t use the dryer function either (and I’m pretty jealous that you came up with “blow Job” and I didn’t).

      1. Well, your memory is better than mine. I had forgotten both your original post and that I had commented on it.
        The upside: the post was like new to me, and I enjoyed reading it the second time, probably as much as the first!

  4. I started researching and shopping for one a few weeks ago only to find them out of stock everywhere and we need an electrician to put an outlet in our WC. When we’re out of isolation and back to normal we’re hiring one and buying a bidet too. I too discovered them in Europe -France, but seriously never thought about having one until now.

  5. I think Otis would approve, Janis. Given the traveler’s constant quest for a functional and reasonably clean bathroom, I would kill for such a fancy toilet on the road. Do you think it would fit in the overhead compartment?

  6. I imagine Otis might have appreciated the message!
    Great post full of beans and well…puns with a serving of up-to-date-info.
    I’m sure you’re enjoying your compact bidet with your whole being and from the bottom of your – heart?

  7. You do make me smile, Janis. Who would have thought I would hear the words “nether-regions” twice in the same week. OMgosh…….the loosening up comment…….now I am officially laughing out loud.

    I don’t know whether this is a U.S. Costco thing, since I don’t recall seeing any here at our Canadian Costco. I can always check online when our current situation changes.

    Our house in Nanaimo had a bidet in the bathroom and a laundry chute. Otherwise it was not a super fancy house. When friends came over the first thing they wanted to see was the bidet and then throw something down the laundry chute.

    Exceptionally funny and witty and I am soooo glad you reposted this. You are the highlight of my Saturday evening.

  8. This afternoon I had a group chat with my guys and the bidet came up again. Of course I told them about your post. Son #2 (who introduced me to the portable bidet) was impressed with the warm air at the end. Let’s just say there were a few jokes and a lot of laughter! Thanks 😀

  9. Haha! This is hysterical. Been thinking about the hose attachment version, but I need to read up more. Very timely that. you republished.

  10. Okay, after I calm myself from my uncontrollable fit of laughter, I have three points to make here.
    1. Best title ever. Seriously.
    2. This is the hardest that I’ve laughed at any single post that I’ve read.
    3. Your clever and cheeky writing style is absolutely why I began following you!

  11. I think Otis Redding, would have loved the title. In this crisis, you would have the shortage of paper beat. If the water stops though, we’ll all be in the same boat. Near the dock of course. 🙂

  12. Janis we both laughed out loud reading this post!! SO funny. So well written. Great post!

    Once again, as global nomads we cannot escape the observation that ethnocentricity applies everywhere, including in the bathroom. Having grown up in France (Ben), a bidet was the norm. Every bathroom had a bidet. Of course! It is only when his family moved to the U.S. that it became clear that this was some exotic “Euro” thing often derided as some unnecessary quirky European gadget. And having lived in Asia now for so many years, while it is not the bidet that prevails, but rather the “bum gun” (a simple hose next to the toilet with a spray feature )~ it feels so very strange when there is only toilet paper but no jet of water to do the deed (as you say). As our Asian friends are prone to point out, if bird poop fell on your arm, would you be content to wipe it with a paper towel or would you prefer to wash it off with water? Duh.. if the later, then one can extrapolate to the “bum gun” to the bidet.

    Peta (& Ben)

    1. That bum gun would be especially useful in Mexico where TP can’t go in the toilet. Isn’t it funny how certain items and practices that are considered normal in one country are thought of as odd and even crazy in others. I remember observing a strange lack of shower curtains in Europe (years ago). I’m not sure if that’s still the case. I would definitely want water to wash off bird poop!

  13. Thanks for the laugh, Janis. I’ve gotten used to see bidets when traveled in Japan and Europe. Some Japanese toilets/ bidets have all the ‘bells and whistles’ 🙂

  14. Thank you for the many chuckles I had reading this post and the comments. It is perfect for this time we’re experiencing right now. Every time I sit down on my basic Ford seat, I’m going to be thinking of your Cadillac. Stay safe and by all means keep your sense of humor because we all appreciate it. 🙂

  15. Thanks for the rerun – it surely brightened my day. I’d get it just for the seatwarming feature – we keep the thermostat cranked lower at night. Which means a rude awakening – I can semi-sleepwalk to the potty to attend to my bladder’s urgency, but sitting upon an icy throne? Yikes! I’m awake! I’m awake!

  16. I can see where a bidet built into a regular toilet makes a lot of sense. And in theses days of toilet paper shortages, they are a very good idea indeed. I bet sales for them will skyrocket in the near future.

  17. Hi Janis! I agree with Donna that this post is a good reflection of your “cheeky” sense of humor that we all love. And would you believe I got a mailer from Costco just this week saying that as of today, March 30th, their bidets will be “on sale” online? Your timing is incredible! Nice to hear that things are continuing to stay “clean” where you are, including your nether-regions! ~Kathy

  18. Great post with humor in these times, Janis! I’ve heard of these all in one bidet/toilets and we entertained the idea of getting one when we added our master bathroom, even installed an electrical outlet next to the toilet. We have a friend who retired from this business who highly recommended them, but we never got around to installing one. Maybe in our new home! Thanks for the humor and enjoy saving that TP!

      1. I have heard that! We actually closed on the property on March 18th, with a mobile notary, just before the stay-at-home order. We are trying to work with the seller who owns the subdivision, to have the perc tests done for septic…the seller is putting up two model homes and we were hoping to have the testing done all together. Washington State is on stay at home orders too, so this will delay things somewhat. Not a problem otherwise. Thanks for asking 🙂

  19. Wonderful post, Janis. And, quite gutsy too. I love it! I wonder whether the sale of bidets has sky rocketed as well. That wouldn’t surprise me. Better for the environment. At least, it’s a French invention you don’t have to squat for. 🙂

    We once house sat in a fancy home that had a separate bidet, but we never used it. We were too worried the spray might miss us and mess up the bathroom! On hindsight, I should have tried it. I wondered why it couldn’t be combined with a toilet fixture. Now I know it can. Yours sounds marvelous.

  20. 😂 ‘“one-stop-shop” on which to plop …and, well, Costco.” I love that you have such a system in your home. Once I got to Singapore, I found the use of toilet paper wasteful insanity. Unfortunately, the plumbing system aboard Amandla does not support such eco-conveniences, so we cart paper rolls with us across the globe. The tissue goes in the bin near the head, and we tossed it out with the other paper trash. I am happy to report that we found toilet paper to be plentiful on our way up the coast and had no issues resupplying our stores.

    1. Your experience on Amandla must have prepared you nicely for Mexico. There was always a little trashcan next to the toilet. It was hard to get used to, but important to remember because of their aging plumbing system. I hope you are finding opportunities to enjoy La Paz!

  21. Ha ha – that was a welcome read in a time of doom and gloom Janis. So you can just scoff at the people rushing out to buy TP! I went with my father to Germany in 1969 at age 13. I was fascinated with the toilet paper in a weird way – it was like paper towels, nothing soft about it and it was in smaller rolls than what we were used to and came in a dark pink, or light gray paper. Ugh! I remember I brought a roll home to show people as it amazed me so much. You’ve certainly sold me!

      1. That was in 1969 when we went to Germany; I can’t remember if it was like that when I returned in 1979 with both my parents. Yes, show-and-tell as I could not believe it as it was rough like a paper towel.

        In your travels did you ever encounter a Turkish toilet Janis? I was on a two-week American Express tour and the first week was a land tour of Greece, the next week had some ports of call like Turkey, Egypt and some Greek Islands. The toilets were really primitive – two places to put your feet and a hole in the ground in between … it was very hot the days we were in Turkey and Egypt and our tour guide said “drink all you want, but be mindful that this will be the toilet facilities you will be using” and passed around a picture … we all drank sparingly. 🙂

  22. Very cute post, Janis, and I’ll bet that Otis Redding wouldn’t mind your play on words a bit. True story: My sister-in-law calls a couple of days after Christmas. “You won’t believe what my hubby got me for Christmas!!! Wait until you see it. I haven’t used it yet; he’s putting it together now.” My SIL is a very fit, very chic 70 year old who goes to the gym almost every day, so I’m thinking it HAS to be a Peloton. My daughter and I stop over a few days later, and my SIL says, “C’mon upstairs. I have to show you my Christmas gift.” I’m thinking they probably put the Peloton in one of the spare bedrooms. Upstairs we go – to her and her husband’s bedroom. I’m thinking they must be nuts to put the Peloton in their own bedroom when they have a couple of spares. But, no, we continue on through to their bathroom. Okay, so it’s not a Peloton. What could she be so excited about that belongs in a bathroom? You guessed it – a “toilet topper” bidet, one with all the bells and whistles. I think my SIL was actually a little apprehensive about using it for the first time (although I couldn’t imagine why since they’re long-time international travelers). A few days after that we got “the review.” She absolutely loved it and, I have to say, it’s features were pretty impressive. Who would have thought?! Kudos to her hubby – he sure nailed that Christmas gift. So glad you revived this post, Janis. I never realized that bidets were quite so entertaining!

    1. Good to see you here, Mary, and not in my spam filter! That’s such a funny story about your SIL’s Christmas gift. I bet hubby is even more of a hero now! Although a Peloton would be handy to have right now (although I’m not sure I’d know where to put it), I’ll take my bidet over it for sure 🙂 Did your SIL’s gushing over her bidet convince you to get one?

      1. Nope, we’re Toilet Traditionalists. (Probably what you’d expect from someone who started out tent camping and who is no stranger to vault toilets in State and National Parks.) Heck, our newer travel trailer has a porcelain toilet, and that’s about as high on the Toilet Totem as we’ll ever go. Of course, I can always get a taste of the good life by driving the 15 minutes to my SIL’s – she’s so excited that I’m sure she’d be happy to share! I bid(et) you a good day, Janis!

  23. Coming over from Behind the Scenery where Erica mentions your post. I recently read an article that said most of Europe as well as Asian countries think we Americans are nasty because the majority of us in the US don’t have a bidet. I think Americans are catching on but it will be a while before everyone has a bidet. Since most bathrooms here aren’t designed to hold two separate toilet sized fixtures then the integrated bidet seats seems to be the way to go. I’m even starting to see ads and commercials for such.

  24. Oh, I meant to ask, is the post title a play on words related to “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” Otis Redding? That’s what popped into my head when I saw the title 🙂

  25. This was so funny! Thanks, Janis, for (re-)posting it. You’re ahead of the curve in the US with bidets, that’s for sure!

  26. Thanks for bringing this post back! I can’t tell you how many times since the toilet paper hoarding has started that I have wished we had a bidet in our home. I’ve only experienced one once in my lifetime, and I was only 12 at the time. It freaked me out. You’ve made excellent selling points, though. Hmm…now if only the stores would let shoppers in beyond getting just essentials. Your points may come in handy to convince them though!

    1. I agree that they can be a little freaky at first 🙂 I wonder if the current shortage will convince more people to buy them (once they become widely available again)? I noticed that Costco was advertising bidets recently so maybe they have them via online delivery.

  27. Thanks for re-blogging this Janis, very interesting & was really well explained on a very delicate subject. I wonder if they sell them at Costco in Australia?

  28. Oh my gosh, I just saw this! Thanks for a laugh. We experienced our first bidet in a hotel in Europe and made a video about the experience. It was pretty funny, but it won’t be getting any Academy awards..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.