Life, Football, Technology and Vespas…

The Bidet

Prior to leaving for our December holidays, we were informed that we must move into a new apartment here in Lagos. The plan was to conduct the move after we had returned, but due to the power challenges we were having in the existing apartment, we thought it would be best to move prior to heading back to SA. Especially with all the precious meat that was in our freezer!

This presented one issue though, we could only move into the apartment on the day my family was traveling back to SA – thus not leaving us with much time. It also meant that I was left alone in the apartment for two nights until I caught my flight to SA.

Obviously, this left me with far too much time to myself.

The new apartment is much larger than our old one.  The master bedroom and bathroom, combined, has enough space to keep livestock. The master bathroom is luxuriously decorated with items such as : a rose head shower, a large corner spa bath, a large double wash basin and … low and behold, a bidet.

Throughout my life, I have been spoiled with the luxury of double ply and as such, have never had a need to use a bidet. Secretly though, ever since watching Crocodile Dundee, I have always wanted to use one, but the fear of failure and embarrassment has always held me back.

The fear stems from it appearing to be such a risky contraption. The required positioning and posture – it seems to me, might just result in injury or paralysis. Every time I have come across one in a friend’s or relative’s house, I have been desperately tempted to use it, but the potential of having to be rescued from being stuck, (possibly upside down) and screaming for help with nothing but the rusty sheriffs badge shining up into in the air, was enough for me to reach for the kitten soft Kleenex.

Now with my new found time, I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to tackle this thing one on one – once and for all.

Upon inspection I immediately noticed that the Bidet has no plastic or wooden seat. Odd, I thought, because when I look over at the toilet…it has a seat. The seat is there for a good purpose. It is designed for some comfort and to remove the chill that would otherwise be there if  you plonk your cheeks down on the smooth porcelain. So why does the bidet not have one? It is effectively made from the same stuff as the throne, but just with no seat. My thoughts were, based on what is about to happen – a little extra comfort would be welcomed.

Now I was also concerned with the required positioning, and decided to turn to my trusty friend, the internet, in a last ditch effort to ensure that I do the correct thing on this contraption, and reduce my chances of being found dead by a tragic drowning accident. It never ceases to amaze me what the human population are willing to upload to the internet. So for fear of permanent mental distress, I opted to work it out for myself.

I get the basic idea – squirt a jet of water at the bull’s eye. But here is my problem : I do not have a neck like an owl or what would be more suitable, an ostrich, so seeing where to aim presents a problem. Poor aim can easily result in being soaked from head to to with water. Which then begs the next question – How much clothing should you remove in case of accidental water spray? I had stopped taking all my clothes off to use the toilet upon leaving university due to threats of criminal proceedings, so reverting back to that would not be a good idea.

Another issue is the water temperature. Obviously you have to set the temperature and jet speed prior to squatting. No one wants to be admitted to casualty with a singed ring. But here is the issue – the skin on your hand is not as sensitive as other delicate areas of the body. I for one can fish out the teabag from a freshly made cup of tea and squeeze it, not feeling a thing. So it is a delicate operation to ensure that the temperature is set right. Too hot and you are sitting on a rubber ring for a week. Too cold, you will be screaming the roof off – bringing unnecessary attention to yourself and your activities in the bathroom.

Ok. If you have successfully negotiated all of the above and you are now correctly positioned, a steady stream of ambient temperature water is cleansing you like a man hosing the garden driveway and all seems to be going well. Until you start wondering when should you actually cease the proceedings. Usually when performing any cleaning exercise, you only stop once the item is no longer dirty. Again, coming back to the neck problem, how can you determine that you are done?

Toilet paper at least has the indicative factor that after each stroke, you can see how close to cleanliness you really are. The bidet affords no such benefit. So you must hazard a guess and think…  “OK, that should long enough, my legs are now numb and I have pins and needles – I must be clean now” – as you reach for the pristine, fluffy white bathroom towel… and upon drying,  find out that you were not as clean as you had hoped and that you either needed to be squatted on the thing for at least another 45 minutes and have used some dettol and metal scourer, or use something with the force and pressure of New York fire truck.

So much stress…

Correct practice, I believe, is that once you are all done you are supposed to turn around and face this thing head on and do the same again. This, to me, is a bridge too far. Seriously, if you walked into the bathroom and found someone sitting on the bidet, facing the wall, going about their business – your relationship with them would never be the same. You may even call the police.


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