What is a Bidet?

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Bidets.  A porcelain gift that somehow never caught on in America.  It looks like a toilet, yet it is not one.  
There are bidets all around the world. Some spray up, some spray sideways, some both front and back.  Some are white while others are black. 

So what is this majestic bathroom appliance’s function?


To get you up to date in case you're some weirdo who isn't intrigued in the history of bidets, here's the lowdown.

In early 1700's France, a small bowl structure was placed next to the toilet to sit on, and a person would use their hand to splash and clean after having used the restroom.  Eventually this crude mechanism turned into a stool with a bowl inset for easier access.  The appliance (can we call it that?) made the person sitting astride it to appear as if they were riding a small pony, or bidet in French.  The name took hold.  In 1750 a manual pump handle allowing for upward spraying was installed, and thus bidet á seringue, or bidet with syringe, came into the lives of avid bum cleaners everywhere.

As stated before, this method of bathroom behavior has not exactly caught on in America, so I was curious to see if people from all over the world, including Americans in Europe, actually use the bidets in their homes.  And if so, is it for the French intention and tradition of washing the hiney?  Do these people enjoy the freedom of butt washing? Do the Italians actually use the bidets they own?  So many questions.

Thankfully living in Florence gives me both the opportunity to be around multitudes of bidets, and around mixes of people from all over the world who may or may not use a bidet.


So here are the answers to what people think these majestic objects are used for.

“They’re drinking fountains, right?" (with a wink) -My brother, Jack, America

"Well I don't really use mine except to put my dirty laundry in."- Michela D., America/Italy

“I used it to shave my legs before going out if I didn’t want to shower.  But just this once, I told a friend they were used to wash your face… and he believed me.  I probably shouldn’t have told you that story.” – M. Marcos, America/Argentina

“They’re used to wash your butt, right?”- Some drunk girl at Uncle Jimmy’s, America

"Uhhh, ishh for your bum, or Johnny's drinking water." -Kate M., Australia (note Johnny is a Jack Russel Terrier, not a human)

“Definitely used for the bootyhole.  I’ve been all around the world and there are all sorts of ass-spraying mechanisms.”- Brad W., America

"I don't know....Bi-det...It's for to wash my ass.  And it's bih-dehT." Filippo A., Italy

“I went to Thailand and the bathrooms there are terrible- but they have AWESOME bum guns!”-Evan S., America/Mexico

"I don't use it.  I have no use for the bidet!"- Karl T., Sweden


So the next time you see a bidet, don't shy away.  Try it out, for it's original purpose, a new use suggested above, or if you have your own use for a bidet you'd like to share, let me know in the comments below!