Different customs require adjusting to. Moving to a new country or even visiting it can present certain things or situations people haven’t had the chance to encounter yet.
Redditor u/Equal-Dinner told the AITA community about the time a guest at her house was introduced to a bidet. The visitor wasn’t familiar with the custom of washing yourself after using the bathroom, which is why she was shocked to learn that after using it for other purposes. Scroll down for the full story in the redditor’s own words.
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Bored Panda has reached out to the OP and she was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. You will find her thoughts in the text below.
Using a bidet is customary in numerous countries around the world
Image credits: AtlasComposer (not the actual photo)
This guest wasn’t familiar with what a bidet is or what it’s used for
Image credits: nd3000 (not the actual photo)
Image credits: voronaman111 (not the actual photo)
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Image credits: Equal-Dinner
Bidets have been around for hundreds of years already; however, they are not equally popular everywhere
Image credits: Ted & Dani Percival (not the actual photo)
In some countries, such as Italy, Japan, and Argentina, for instance, using a bidet is a typical part of one’s personal hygiene. It is believed to have been invented in France back in the 1700s, even though similar techniques were used way before that. Despite the popularity in Europe and elsewhere around the world, bidets are not as common in the United States, which is likely why Kelly wasn’t familiar with such an installation in the bathroom.
“It wasn’t much of a surprise, at first I just found it funny, but after Kelly reacted the way she did I got very annoyed at her,” the OP told Bored Panda during a recent interview. “I knew that other countries are not exposed to bidets but I honestly never imagined having to explain to someone what a bidet is.”
BioBidet’s 2022 survey revealed that around 12% of Americans say they know a lot about bidets, while 37% admit they don’t know what one looks like. Statistics also uncovered that more than two-thirds have never tried using one.
“My wife used to be a wiper, like most of the people in her country. She knew what bidets were, but never considered using one,” the redditor said. “However, when we met, I told her that just wiping is dirty and it means that you’re walking with a dirty behind. I gave her this example: consider you have poop on any other part of your body, like your arm. Would you just wipe it off with paper and that’s it? No, you would wash it off with water and soap. So why would you do any different with the only part of your body that is in daily contact with your poo?
“Wiping with just paper means that you can take the visible poo off your skin, but all the smelly and dirty bacteria would still be very much there. This argument changed her perspective completely and, although she finds bidets uncomfortable, she now uses baby wipes after pooping to properly clean herself. She now feels a lot cleaner and says she could never go back to just wiping with toilet paper. This is also what I used to do when I lived in countries that did not have bidets, baby wipes were my saviors,” the OP added.
Some people opt for toilet paper just because that’s what they’re used to
Image credits: Vie Studio (not the actual photo)
“I believe people wipe because that’s just what they know,” the OP said. Business Insider also pointed out that most Americans grew up using toilet paper, which is one of the reasons bidets are far from popular in the US. However, it revealed that using TP is not the most environmentally friendly, nor the cheapest option.
According to Business Insider, people in the United States use roughly 34 million rolls of toilet paper a day, one of which requires about 37 gallons of water to make (compared to one-eighth of a gallon that using a bidet requires). They also arguably spend $40-70 dollars a year on average for toilet paper, which could be cut by around 75% if replaced with a bidet.
In addition to environmental and financial reasons, people are starting to see bidets in a more positive light because of hygiene-related matters, especially after the pandemic. Vice president of product management, chinaware and commercial products for LIXIL Americas, James Walsh, told the Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine that when the toilet paper shortage made national news in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they noticed a sudden increase in people’s interest in bidets. “We believe this was due to consumers looking for more hygienic bathroom solutions. While that spike has leveled off a bit, we are still seeing strong demand in the category as consumers continue to seek a cleaner, safer bathroom in their home,” he said.
In addition to the safety and cleanliness of the bidet itself, people seem to be pretty interested in the bidet towel as well. The OP told Bored Panda that she expected most of the reactions she received from fellow redditors, but didn’t think they would be so obsessed with the “poop towel”.
“I found the term hilarious and having to clarify what it was and how it’s used was really funny. For the record, the towel does not touch any poo, you just use it to dry clean skin, like any other normal towel, and it hangs next to the bidet, not above, so confusing it for a normal towel would be impossible.”
Redditors shared their thoughts in the comments and agreed that the OP wasn’t a jerk in this situation