The History of the Bidet

The French invented the use of the bidet (bee-day) and it was very crude in the beginning. It was just a bowl that you squat over and then evolved into a separate porcelain toilet with faucets, but you still had to squat or straddle it. In the middle 1900's American toilet manufacturers improved the bidet as a porcelain bathroom device, but the American culture did not adopt it and it was mostly exported to other countries. The bidet is actually a small horse. And you straddle a horse, so when the French used a device for cleaning the genitals and the posterior they called it a bidet, because you straddle it when you wash.

The Small Horse Story

"What’s the matter, La Fleur, said I, with this bidet of thine?—Monsieur, said he, Nay, if he is a conceited beast, he must go his own way, replied I—so La Fleur got off him, and giving him a good sound lash, the bidet took me at my word, and away he scamper’d back to Montreal."

The Evolution of the Bidet

The earliest known written reference to the bidet is dated 1710. In 1750, the bidet à seringue appeared. It provided an upward spray through the use of a hand-pump fed by a reservoir.

Until the 1900's the bidet was confined to the bedroom, along with the chamber pot (a bucket that served as a toilet.)

Modern plumbing brought the bidet into the bathroom. Where it sits next to the toilet. It is resembles a toilet, but it has facet knobs and you straddle it to wash your private parts, after using the toilet.

Today, there are many bidets (modern porcelain toilet bowls) to choose from built by many different manufacturers, but they take up extra bathroom space. However, another device has evolved that is attached to an existing toilet. This is more of an efficient use of bathroom space.

The Modified Bidet

The evolution of the bidet started after WWII, when the Japanese started importing American made toilets. It was better than Japanese toilets, because you could sit down in comfort, rather than squatting over old Japan toilets.

After the adoption of American made toilets, including American made bidets (porcelain toilets that required you to squat), the Japanese decided to improve the product. The Japanese liked the style of the American toilet that allowed you to sit and the Japanese invented a device that you attach to your existing toilet and shoots water, through a jet valve and cleans the anal and feminine areas without the use of toilet paper. This ingenious manual device was then expanded to include hot and cold water. Electronic models were then designed to include a heated seat, retractable cleaning jets, sensors, automatic controls, a dryer and a deodorizer.

Bidets are used by many European and Asian countries and have not yet penetrated the American marketplace. In continental Europe, the usefulness of the bidet is fully understood and is considered to be as important in the bathroom as the toilet and the tub - no well equipped home is without one.

However, most Americans have never seen a bidet. Those who have, have generally observed them in upscale hotels, either in the U.S. or in Europe. Rare is the American home that actually has one.

To some, this seems a bit strange, considering the American preoccupation with cleanliness. But the majority of Americans start their day in the shower, rather than visit the bath tub once a week. Thus the use of the bidet for personal hygiene has not yet taken on an important role in America..

The Philippines and The Tabo

In the Philippines, a tabo is used to clean the genitals and the posterior parts of the body. A tabo is a bowl of water and is placed under the posterior, while squatting over the toilet.

Are Americans Ready for The Bidet

Are Americans ready for this? Americans are into being clean and probably shower more than most people from other cultures. Toilet paper is the primary means that most Americans use to clean the posterior and Americans use a lot of toilet paper. Also toilet paper has a tendency to irritate the skin, if you rub too hard. However, this is not really a sanitary way of cleaning oneself, because cleaning with toilet paper leaves residue in the anal area and this can cause various unhealthy conditions. Ask any American mother and she will tell you that she hates doing the laundry, especially if she has boys and has to wash their shorts. Some men think it's a sissy way of cleaning yourself, maybe the name should be changed to buttsink. Buttsink doesn't sound as feminine, like "bidet". A girl uses a bidet and a man uses a buttsink. Americans are different and a whole new marketing scheme will have to be invented, in order to sell the American public.

The other thing to consider is that you would never think of cleaning your dishes with just a tissue and then reuse the dish or utensil. You also would not take a shower by just wiping yourself with a dry tissue and put on a clean set of clothes. So why do we (Americans) clean ourselves with only tissue and not water. Water is meant to be used to bathe ourselves and what better means, than a bidet, could be used to clean ourselves in the bathroom.

The market for bidets is fairly new in the United States and there is a lot of potential here. Americans are ready and some are already using it, but it still may be some time before you see these products at your local hardware store. Once Americans start to use it regularly, they will wonder why they were so slow to adapt to this healthy way of living.

Why Use a Bidet

The bidet can and is being used by both men and women. Bidets offer the user a hands-free and superior water wash, in place of the wiping and occasionally irritating action of toilet paper.

An invaluable aid to personal hygiene, the bidet is gaining popularity among senior citizens, the disabled and those with impaired motor functions or unable to control bodily functions.

More importantly, these devices can and should be used by healthy people that want to remain healthy and feel truly clean.

I know, I bought one and I am male and American. After this feeling of cleanliness, you will never go back to toilet paper, except to dry, but if you get a bidet with a dryer, then you won't have to use paper to dry yourself. And the best thing is knowing that you are personally contributing to the conservation of our forests.