Toilets, Tubs, and Bidets (Part 3)


Most of us Americans get a kick out of an encounter with a bidet.  To many, it’s often intriguing, entertaining, funny, or even sexy in an odd sort of way.  But in many parts of the world, it’s a normal fixture in the bathroom.  In French, bidet is the word for “pony.”  Now, how appropriate can that be, because you ride a bidet much like you would a pony.  That is… straddling it.

I take a lot of Americans around Europe and believe me, I’ve heard lots of “bidet” stories.  Here are some ways in which my tour members have utilized the bidets in their hotel rooms:


  • a foot washer;
  • a water fountain;
  • a urinal;
  • a place to shave one’s legs;
  • an object for “truth or dare”;
  • a replacement for bathing;
  • a laundry;
  • a dishwasher; and,
  •  a cooler for beer.

Bidets originated in France, several centuries ago as a means to wash after using the toilet, after having sex, or even after a day at the office.  In short, its purpose is to maintain clean personal hygiene without taking a full shower or bath.  So, now you know why lots of Europeans think they are clean when their pits smell to high heaven!

Here’s how to use a bidet:

  1. Test the water controls before getting on!  Some bidets have high pressure jets that squirt up to the ceiling if turned fully on.  Others have a faucet similar to a sink.  Some have hot and cold water valves while others have just one water valve.  The point here is to SLOWLY test out all the knobs, valves, and controls before getting on.
  2. If you are wearing pants, you have got to take them off!  Otherwise hike up your skirt or dress. Then straddle the bidet, facing the wall, so you’ll have full control of the knobs, controls, and valves.  Then, by positioning yourself and the faucet, direct the water to the area you want to clean.  It’s ok to use soap and your hands.  Some people prefer to face away from the wall and manipulate the controls in a contorted manner.  I ran across this hilarious video on YouTube that shows you how to do it from a Spaniard’s perspective.  Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cunTYbi9yM
  3. Once finished, use toilet paper to dry off.  The towels hanging by the bidet are to dry off your hands after the whole procedure.  Don’t stick the towels down there to dry off, or you’ll hear it from the maids the next morning!

OK, that’s was pretty personal, but at least you’ve got no doubt about bidets.  Now, go experience some more of Europe!


**You can add your two-cents worth by clicking on the comments link below.

About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
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