A bidet, a bidet! My kingdom for a bidet! (The Etiquette of the Bidet)

No Bidet? No Way!

It should be illegal, on grounds of proper hygiene and public health, to construct a 21st-century bathroom without a bidet. A bathroom without a bidet is like a kitchen without a sink or a car without windshield-wiper fluid. (Try dry-wiping a muddied windshield….Exactly!) It simply makes no sense. The fact is that dry toilet paper alone does not properly clean the anal area after a bowel movement. If that were the case, one would be able to wipe one’s hand clean with dry paper towel after spreading mustard or chocolate syrup over the hand.

There is also a proper way to wipe the anal area after a movement of the bowels: With sufficient toilet paper in hand, a man should wipe his anal area in an upward swipe, towards his back and away from his genitals. Back- and-forth wiping of the area should be avoided as it tends to spread the fecal matter rather than remove it. Some health professionals also believe that back-and-forth wiping contributes to the development of hemorrhoids; and in the case of women, it is believed to be a contributing factor to vaginal yeast infections since forward swiping tends to deposit fecal matter, and its attendant bacteria, onto or near the vagina. In countries such as the United States and those of Northern Europe where bidets are not the norm, a significant percentage of the population walks around with unclean anal areas. A gentleman, however, does not. There is no surer way to bring a racy evening to a screeching halt than to observe “skid marks” in a lover’s underwear.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to take a shower after having a movement of the bowels. (That is why bidets were invented—a very long time ago—in the first place!) After wiping the anal area with dry toilet paper, the bidet should be used to wash the anal area clean with soap and water. Today, most bidets are designed with the water-source situated towards the rear of the device, which was a much-needed improvement to some older-model bidets, where the water source was situated at the base of the bowl. (You get the point…..)

Before sitting on the bidet (Yes, that lid-less, truncated-toilet-looking contraption next to the toilet is the bidet. And no, it isn’t a miniature bathtub for swimming rubber duckies or washing feet!), the water should be allowed to run for a few seconds before being tested by the back of the hand to ensure a comfortable temperature. Once sitting on the bidet, the hand (in Islamic cultures, only the left hand), the running water, and the liquid soap which is generally provided, should be used to thoroughly cleanse the anal area. At the end of the procedure, one of the disposable hand towels, which should be situated next to the bidet, should be used to pat-dry the anal area. Thereafter, with the water still running in the bidet, additional soap should be used to preliminarily wash the hands, the bidet serving as the basin. Another clean, disposable hand towel should then be moistened and used to wipe the rim of the bidet clean. And yet another hand towel should be moistened and used to wipe-clean first the liquid soap dispenser and then the bidet faucet and spigot before the water flow is extinguished. (And while preliminarily washing the hands and tidying the bidet, the bidet is “flushed” with running water in the process). After all the disposable towels have been properly placed into the trash receptacle, a thorough washing of the hands with soap and water should be conducted in the hand-face wash basin.

Today, in private homes that have no bidets, a conscientious host or hostess will provide moist towelettes, either individually wrapped or in a dispenser, for the purpose of cleaning the anal area after a preliminary wiping with dry toilet paper. In the instances where those towelettes are of a cloth-like consistency, they should not be flushed after use as they can clog the average household toilet and/or disrupt the typical municipal sewage-processing system. Instead, they should be discretely folded to conceal any fecal residue, wrapped in paper towel or toilet paper, and placed into the wastebasket. (Obviously, then, it is of critical importance that the preliminary wiping with dry toilet paper be thorough!).

Very few public restrooms have bidets. When it is absolutely necessary for a gentleman to have a bowel movement in a public restroom, several sheets of moistened paper towels, one or two to which a dab of liquid soap has been applied, should be taken into the stall and utilized to accomplish the necessary task. After all, a gentleman must adjust—elegantly—when necessary.

Whether toilet or bidet, private bathroom or public restroom, seats and rims should always be wiped clean with a moistened paper towel (or sanitizing wet-wipes, if provided) after use as a convenience to the subsequent occupant. No one needs to sit on traces of the previous occupant’s perspiration.


The Courtesy-Flush”: When having a bowel movement in a public restroom or any bathroom likely to be occupied shortly thereafter by another person, a courtesy-flush should be conducted in order to minimize any offensive odors. Immediately after the initial release of the bowels, when feces and the gases that often accompany them are likely to have the most offensive odors, the toilet should be flushed, thereby eliminating or significantly reducing the offensive odors. Then, of course, at the end of the bowel movement, the toilet should be flushed again.


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