Why Bidets Are the Only Bathroom Accessory With Diehard Fans

I didn’t see a bidet with my own eyes until I was 14 years old. My parents (and I, reluctantly) were preparing to move from a small town in New Jersey to Boca Raton, Florida, a city many people associate with wealth and the elderly. We were exploring fully furnished home models in the town’s seemingly infinite gated communities, which had names like “Broken Sound” and “Lexington Estates,” looking for the one we’d call home.

It was in the bathroom of one of the especially fancy models that I encountered a strange toilet-sink hybrid next to a regular toilet. It was the same height and shape as the toilet, but instead of a lid, tank, and opening at the bottom of the bowl, it had what appeared to be a faucet and a sink-like drain with a stopper.

“What is that?” I asked my mom.

“Oh, that’s a bidet,” she said. “It’s for cleaning your butt.”

My adolescent brain was horrified. A butt-cleaning machine? What was this hellscape of inevitable humiliation my parents were moving me to? “Do we have to get one of those when we move here?”

“No, no,” my mom assured me. “Sometimes they just put weird stuff in these models.”

And thus, my unenlightened opinion of bidets was formed: They’re weird and, just like Boca, they’re associated with wealth and the elderly. And to this day, I haven’t tried one.

You can imagine my surprise when Heather, one of my best childhood friends from that small town in New Jersey, recently told me she uses a bidet every single day — and that it changed her life. I knew for a fact that there wasn’t a bidet in her childhood home, and I was pretty sure the Seattle house she now lives in didn’t come with one. How did one of my best friends become weird, rich, and old without me noticing?

“It truly makes all the difference in the world,” she said. “We clean our bodies in running water in the shower. Why wouldn’t you want your ass cleaned out after taking a shit?” Heather has never been one to mince words, and she made an excellent point. I basically keep Cottonelle in business with the number of butt wipes I buy, but I’ve always worried that I’m being wasteful in the pursuit of a clean crack. Clearly, it’s time for me to reconsider the bidet.

Fact: There’s more than one type of bidet.

I reached out to James Lin, founder of bidet purveyors BidetKing.com and Alpha Bidet, and a man on a mission to normalize the appliance among young American adults. “I’m a millennial myself, and if it weren’t for my line of business, most of my friends would not care to use bidets,” Lin says. “There are some bidet companies out there trying to reach my age group, and it’s mostly with the cheaper, non-electric, attachment-type bidets. These tend to be more popular with the younger generation that may not be ready to plop down a few hundred on a fully featured bidet seat.” (Ha. Plop.)

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