Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The bidet, and why you need one, possibly
When we started refurbishing our house a couple of years ago, my mother strongly encouraged me to get a bidet. "Do whatever you want with the rest of the house, but make sure you get a bidet." She was emphatic perhaps even solemnly so - the way you tell your college-aged daughter never to leave her drink unattended on the bar.
A bidet made me think of those houses I visited as a kid - the fancy ones owned by older relatives with avocado-coloured baths, carpeted bathroom floors, and fleur de lis border patterns. Or hotels in Dubai - with what appears to be a bottom washing obsession in the Middle East.
It felt kind of old fashioned and ostentatious, and it wasn't something on our must-have list. But then I remembered something a friend of mine had randomly told me about years before. She said that (weirdly) she had had a bidet in the small ensuite in her room in halls at university. "Best thing ever," she enthused, "great for, you know, washing down there after sex." I also remembered my mother washing my (then) toddler nephew's muddy covered feet in the bidet or was it dog poo covered? Or teaching him to wash his little hands using the tap on it, or filling it with water and allowing him to play with his little floaty toys in it. (And yes, my mother is equally if not more hygiene obsessed than me, so this was done when it was clean).
And then there is the fact that before that wonderful life-changing invention that is wet flushable toilet wipes, it really was the only way you could properly wash your bottom without stepping into the shower or bath. Unless of course you are a tourist in a park bathroom in London that has diarrhoea and washes your backside standing at the communal basin where everyone can encounter this breathtaking (and the smell really was breathtaking but not in a good way) sight.
But I digress ...
As it turns out when we were designing our bathroom, we had the space next to the toilet and I found a bidet that was pretty modern looking (not an avocado or fleur de lis in site). The architect seemed amused that someone in this day and age would want one but said she'd stick it in the plans. And I thought to myself, 'even if we don't use it, it makes the bathroom look smarter (at least to some people) if we ever resell.'
And so it came to pass that we had a bidet for the first time, and the thing is, I have come to love it. I really love my bidet.
Apart from the fact that it really is good at cleaning your bottom and is useful for the aforementioned feminine hygiene thing (if you face the other way), it's also kind of a broader family love affair. My four-year-old son (when he remembers it's there) loves weeing in it. I only wish I had had one when we were toilet training him because he so loves not having to stand on his toes to reach the regular toilet. I remember being little and always feeling that the world was far too big for me and being delighted when finding things that were my size - that for once I didn't have to struggle, that for once the world didn't expect me to fit in with it but fit to my needs instead.
The cat likes to perch on the edge of it while I turn on the tap and uses it as a fountain to drink from. My other cat likes to lie in it in the summer using it as a kind or large cooling ceramic nest. I don't know if my husband uses it because eleven years and counting we still do not feel the need to be in the bathroom when the other is using the toilet. Thank god. And my daughter eschews it in favour of the regular toilet and toilet wipes in the kids bathroom. But me, my urinating son, and the two cats - we are all big fans.
Posted by letters from london at 9:00 pm