Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Bidet Drinking Fountain

There was a band that pre-dated Lawsuit. It was called The Heffalumps. I sometimes get confused about which were Heffalumps songs and which are early Lawsuit songs. But I know "The Bidet Drinking Fountain" was Heffalumps.

I knew what a bidet was, of course, but I had never seen one (and so had a completely different mental image) until this trip, when we had a bidet in two of our hotel rooms.

bidet.jpg (40280 bytes)

This was our bathroom in St. Margherita Ligure and then our bathroom in Siena had a bidet as well.

Some of the women on the trip were repulsed by the idea of a bidet (Char said that she remembered a group that found it convenient for washing feet). I couldn't understand how a bidet was any more "disgusting" than a toilet would be.

I decided that when in Rome (or other parts of Italy) you should do what the Italians do, so I gave it a try. I became a bidet enthusiast. What a civilized, logical invention. I think this country should go with a platform of not only a chicken in every pot but a bidet in every bathroom.

TP.jpg (58027 bytes)Of course many of us in this country have tiny bathrooms. To put a bidet in our downstairs bathroom, for example, we'd have to give up any space to put your feet at all.

I recently bought this clever little doohickey that holds toilet paper. You hang it on the side of the tank. I thought that was really a good idea, not realizing until after I got home that there isn't enough space between the tank and the wall to hold the darn thing--so it sits on top of the tank.

If you can't put something the width of a roll of toilet paper next to your toilet, you sure as heck aren't going to be able to install a bidet.

However, we Americans are inventive people. And we're always up for improving something that seems to have worked for hundreds of years.

I did some research on toilet paper and discovered that it dates back to the Tang Dynesty in China (618-907 AD) when it was written, "They (the Chinese) are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper."

The 16th century French satirical writer Francois Rabelais in his series of novels Gargantua & Pantagruel, discussing the various ways of cleansing oneself at the toilet, wrote that: "He who uses paper on his filthy bum, will always find his ballocks lined with scum", proposing that the soft feathers on the back of a live goose provide an optimum cleansing medium. (There are all sorts of problems I can envision if one is going to use live poultry to wipe one's bum!)

The Toilet Paper Museum (you just knew there had to be such a thing, right?) has pictures of early rolls of toilet paper (the first paper for sale for that use was folded flat mother still recalls using pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog and I've heard references to corn cobs).

But there is nothing invented that can't be improved upon and the people who have brought you things to clean your toilet and your bathroom tub have now come up with "Comfort Wipes," a new method "to provide sanitary cleanliness."

"For over a hundred years we've been using toilet tissues the same old way. Now there's a better way with the extended reach and comfortable to use Comfort Wipe™. It grabs and holds the toilet tissue in perfect postions so you can easily wipe yourself. When you're done, just dispense the soiled tissue right in the toilet with the press of a button. Comfort Wipe™ extends your reach a full 18" while the anotomical design follows the contours of your body for perfect cleaning. It's perfect for everyone, especially if you have trouble easily reaching because of physical limitations such as bad shoulder or other mobility litimations. Now you'll never have to touch a dirty toilet tissue!"

I dunno. I'm kinda used to handling toilet paper and if I had to choose between the "Comfort Wipe" and a bidet, I'd take a bidet any day.


Pandi said...

Francois Rabelais was an ogre. So sayeth bird-lovers everywhere. And just TRY to use a goose for that. Ever get bitten by a goose? Perhaps he was looking for a quick castration. Oy!

Pandi again said...

Oh, and?

kathi said...

Mingle on!

Gotta say that the "Comfort Wipe" looks almost as ummm... UNcomfortable... as a live goose.

Kohler makes a bidet toilet seat which would solve the space issue, but cost is almost $1,000. Guess everything comes at a price!

Indigo said...

Here's the thing Bev, while reading this post about toilets and bidets, I can't help but think of your other bathroom post. ;-)

I've had the teeny tiny bathrooms that would have no room for a bidet, right now I could put one in however I'd lost my towel closet and I kinda like my towel closet. Anyhow, I think my pets would think it was a glorified bubbler.