by Marissa Marangoni

Well, reader, here it is: the review you never asked for, but the review I know you need. This month, I bring you my extremely biased bidet review. Thank COVID-19.

Back in 2015, when we could freely travel the world, I traveled to Europe. That trip was responsible for my introduction to the bidet, my safety-net-turned-household-mainstay in the great toilet paper shortage of March 2020.

For those unfamiliar with the bidet, it could be described as a miniature gravity-defying toilet shower for your nether regions. Doesn’t sound as nice, but it’s the truth. And Urine Luck only ever brings you the truth.

You’ll know a bidet when you see one: it looks like a very short bathroom sink or a toilet attachment with extra knobs or buttons. These mini toilets were a staple in every European Airbnb and VRBO I stayed in. I’d always wanted to use one, and as soon as I did, I knew it’d be one of the things I’d miss about the trip. Ah, nostalgia: you can even have it for toilets.

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When TP went scarce during the pandemic panic, I did not look at it as the last sheet on the roll but the first sheet of new opportunity: there was finally a reason for the bidet to become a fixture in my own home. I’d toyed with the idea before, but I was overwhelmed with all the options and convinced myself not to make the jump because, well, money. And while you can find a bidet attachment for under $30, the negative reviews deterred me from being cheap, so I waited.

But then the TP was plucked clean from store shelves, and my own bathroom shelves were running low. So I finally did my research and, wouldn’t you know it, in addition to the toilet paper shortage, there also seemed to be a bidet shortage. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who knew about this TP alternative. Every site I went to was sold out of bidets — even Amazon! — so I found a place that had them on backorder with a return policy and hit “purchase.” 

Before I tell you about the particular bidet I selected, I will tell you my reasons for preferring this method of sanitization to The American Way. First, there are the bears. Bidet commercials aren’t a thing here, so they have no bears, which automatically makes the bidet better than toilet paper. I’ve complained before about those damn toilet paper bears with red linty butts they shake in the name of being cute. I hate those bears. I hate their bear butts. And I hate that they are accurate. I won’t say more about that. 

However, directly related to the lint issue is cleanliness. True cleanliness. I assume that all of you have had the unfortunate experience of cleaning up poop from a place where it didn’t belong, be it your feet, shoes, hands, the floor, a swimming pool, your tax paperwork (not that I know anything about this), etc., I’m willing to bet that in your cleaning process, you did not simply reach for a piece of toilet paper, wipe the floor off, and then call it a day. You most likely involved some sort of cleaning agent to remove the mess properly. 

Other reasons for bidets? They’re friendlier to the environment by decreasing or eliminating the need for TP. Got hemorrhoids? No more abrasive wiping. If you’re a period-having person, well, you can probably imagine what this handy device can do for you. I’ve even heard they’re helpful when you’re cloth diapering babies! And if you’ve been searching for a refreshing (possibly jarring) wake up after your morning coffee, this may be your solution. 

I bought Omigo’s bidet attachment, which seems to be a popular choice in the U.S. Tushy, an even more popular brand, was more expensive and more back-ordered, and I liked Omigo’s 90-day trial period and return/exchange policies. 

The bidet was easy to install, is simple to operate and does not require electricity. I bought the Element, which is the bare-bones model, but other models include heated water, air dryers, carbon filter deodorizers and even remote-control options. The Element has two nozzles (one for your back, one for your front) that are covered when not in use to keep them clean and a knob for operation. 

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The knob also controls the intensity of the spray, and you should be aware that if you turn it all the way up, you might be a little shocked. Some people worry about the temperature of the unheated water, but I haven’t found it problematic. It only adds to the clean feeling. 

Once you figure out where to sit so you get hit where you want with the water, you should be good to go. If you’re worried about drip-drying, you can always follow the European way and have a stack of towels at the ready to pat yourself dry and toss into the laundry, or you can save a few squares of TP for this purpose.

I’m not sure what is at the heart of the U.S.’s reluctance to adopt this gadgetry. Some speculate that it goes all the way back to the 18th century when bidets were associated with brothels and considered dirty, but whatever the reason, I am here to tell you that there’s nothing dirty about them. My husband sincerely doubted he’d be happy about our bathroom bidet, but once he tried it, he admitted he was sold.

So, readers of Urine Luck, I implore you: Wash, don’t wipe. Let’s work on getting us a cleaner America. And cleaner butts. And, for the love of god, no more bears.

Marissa has been writing Urine Luck since 2015 and, clearly, has strong opinions about toilet paper. 

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