Monday, February 14, 2011

Bidets becoming popular in the USA

Yes, you heard me right!
B I D E T s are becoming more common in the USA.
You can find a little bit about the history of bidets HERE .


French ladies using bidets in the 18th century.

I did miss having a bidet when I first moved into the US until buying our first house, which amazingly enough, had a bidet.
HERE is an interesting article written in Portuguese by a Portuguese American doctor from Bristol, Rhode Island. I am sorry if you don't understand Portuguese, but it has a hilarious poem at the end about bidets that shows how funny Portuguese folks can be. They truly have a great sense of humor.
You just have to get past the graphic medical images to get to the funny part at the end.
For the non Portuguese speaking crowd, long story short, the Portuguese doctor is saying Americans have the highest incidence of "hemorrhoids" due mainly to the lack of hygiene provided by bidets.
He also mentioned that at the beginning of the last century Ritz Hotel in New York city installed bidets and it caused a big campaign from puritan minded religious folks who were saying bidets promoted prostitution and women were using as a birth prevention method...not hard to imagine. It sounds like something Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin would say if they were around back in those days ;)
I love bidets, they are super practical and very hygienic, once you get used to having one. I doubt you would go back to using toilet paper alone.
Perhaps I don't need to go into details on why and how they are practical and super awesome and used by men and women around the world for cleaning their genitalia and perineum areas.
If you are an Expat, you also should now by now how much of clean freaks Brazilians are in general, and how popular bidets are in Brazil. ;)
Bidets are now clearly becoming a trend for bathroom renovations across the US.
You might be asking me how the heck do I know that, right?
We renovated our bathrooms in 2009 and wanted to replace our old bidet in one of the bathrooms being renovated, and to our surprise our local Lowe's and Home Depot were sold out of bidets!!!!
True story, I had no idea bidets were becoming a trend in Bathrooms across this country.
Well, at least across New England, they were sold out, every model and we had to order one from a catalog and wait 3 months.

This is very similar to the Bidet at our house

I always thought our house was an absolute exception, once there was already a bidet here when we bought it. The lady we bought the house from, was an American of Portuguese origin, she sure had strong Portuguese cultural habits, including having a bidet in a small middle class Cape Cod style house in Rhode Island.
We looked at many houses before we purchased this one and we never saw a bidet anywhere, a rare exception were some luxurious condos downtown Providence, Rhode Island.
I have always liked the Marriott on the East Side in Manhattan, on Lexington and 49th street, it is the only Hotel in Manhattan that has a bidet in it's awesome Travertine marble bathroom, as far as I know. I am sure there are more, I will need to explore it in the future.
Now that we don't stay at Marriott's anymore we will definitely be able to discover other nice hotels with bidets in New York city and other places.
If you have been reading our blog, you will most likely remember that we don't stay at Marriott Hotels anymore in retaliation to the Mormon's shameful support of the Homophobic Proposition 8 in California.
We have changed our 19 years of loyalty from the Marriott family of Hotels to Hilton or any other hotel not associated with any Religion that actively fights against my family's basic civil rights.
You can take a peak HERE to refresh your memory on the whole controversy.

This is how the first bidets looked like! Yikes!

Back to Bidet's, if you are an expat in Brazil you have already encountered one, I am sure.
Most Brazilian homes have them, not the UBBER small new apartments in Sao Paulo, like my brother's new place near Paulista Avenue, but most Brazilian apartment and homes have bidets.
Bidet is an institution in Brazilian culture, a clear influence from southern Europe, where bidets are very popular.
My parent's apartment and everyone else's home I know in Brazil have a bidet in every bathroom of the house.

Stylish classic bidet

In Brazil, tile floors have to be washed and scrubbed with BLEACH and RINSED with lots of water.
The American way of cleaning with a string mop and some chemicals that you just apply and don't have to rinse cannot be accepted in Brazilian cultural cleaning habits, hence all the drains in Brazilian tiled kitchens and bathroom floors.
Brazilian tiles are usually well washed daily or at least weekly with lot's of soap, bleach and plenty of water to be well rinsed and all that water has to go down the drain. Apartment and houses are built with plenty of drains in tiled areas.
Our newly renovated bathroom has Travertine marble heated floors and has no drains, so, no washing Brazilian style here with lots of water, bleach and soap.
Remember that we have Americanized ourselves to a high degree and we have learned to clean our marble floors without all that water fest that we used to see in Brazil.
When I was going to Law School back in Sao Paulo and worked for an American family as a translator, the American lady from Vacaville, California was appalled and disgusted with a bidet she found at her rented apartment at "Portal do Morumbi", a luxurious condominium in Sao Paulo.
I tried to explain to her that it wasn't a place for plants in the bathroom or a urinal but she couldn't believe it, wouldn't accept it.
She told me that must it be a thing of the 3rd world...
-Yes, Irene, 3rd world France...for your information.
-You certainly sound like a sophisticated person.
-We 3rd world people like to be clean. Some day we might develop to a higher redneck degree and give up water and soap in exchange for toilet paper alone. Ok, I never said that, but I should have...
Another American family from Jackson, Mississippi thought a bidet was an urinal. They had two boys and told their boys that it was the place to pee in...oh, my, I had to wonder...
-Am I from another planet? or are these people from a different planet?
I was only 19 and truly thought bidets were a popular thing in Brazil and France only and the outside world had no knowledge of such convenience!!!!
I couldn't judge Vacaville, CA from the impressions of one extremely redneck ignorant person, neither Jackson, Mississippi from the family with the bidet peeing boys.
Watching House Hunters on our HDTV cable channel last week, we saw a realtor from Saint Paul, Minnesota making a comment that you only include a bidet in a bathroom renovation in million dollar homes.
In her words, million dollar homes are almost always expected to have bidets in the US, but you are not supposed to spend money installing a bidet in regular middle class houses.
I guess millionaire Americans have a 3rd world mentality ;)  People won't appreciate it and won't value it for what they are...a waste of money in that experts opinion.
Whoopi Goldberg has mentioned many times that she loves her Toto bidet/toilet combo. She is talking about the electric bidet invented in the early 60's and just now becoming a popular amenity in upscale American homes.
Toto is the most popular bidet brand and they are very expensive. The cheapest ones go for around U$900,00 dollars and the top of the line cost upwards of U$9,000.00 dollars. The most expensive ones, wash and air dry your toosh with warm water and air in addition to a heated seat. These prices are just the bidet itself, not counting the installation and possible adaptions you might need to do in your bathrooms.
We didn't get a Toto yet, but when we renovated our bathrooms we made electrical and plumbing adjustments to accommodate a Toto in the future, so, for now, we just have a regular old fashioned bidet ;)
You can find more information on Toto's website HERE this is the same type of toilet/bidet Whoopi Goldberg installed in her townhouse in Manhattan. She is always raving about her Toto and they have become more and more popular in recent years.


Toto electric bidet adaptation for your regular toilet!

Would you install one at your American home?
Have you adapted and "Brazilianized" yourself with the use of a bidet? or do you completely ignore your bidet and use it as a water fountain, urinal or beer chilling device? :)



Bidet used as a water fountain!

Bidet used for chilling beers :)


Would you spend U$1000.00 to buy a Toto adaptable piece?



Automatic bidets being installed in toilets all across the US!
Any funny Brazilian experience with bidets you would like to share?

:)

Ray

9 comments:

Fiona said...

oh my god. that picture of the french ladies is hilarious. was that considered to be kinky back in the day?

Gil and Ray said...

Fiona,

Not really kinky, but I guess it was more of a practical device people have used to improve higiene.
I found references that male and female prostitues had been using bidets since the days of the Roman Empire.
There is a very vulgar expression in Portuguese that says "Lavou, ta novo", which means, "You washed, it's new", mentioned by people who are fond of prostitutes...
Bidet in french means poney, because people used to sit on it like they were riding a poney.
If you do a google search you will find all kinds of different explanations for the origins of the word and the habit of using a bidet.
Now, if you google bidet "images" you will find some kinky pictures for bidets and it's usage :)

ojeitobrasileiro said...

Iironic you would write about bidets. I was in a foul mood yesterday so left off that I personally don't like bidets, unless they are the Japanese style.. built in to the toilet. The whole process of moving from the toilet to the bidet is kind of unhygenical to me... although I find that the benefits of the bidet are great. So I'd rather just buy an adapter to add to my toilet because we all can't afford Totos can we?. Although the heated seat and air dry afterwards is a nice benefit.

Rachel said...

I have to say that I love a bidet! I even enjoy the hose they put in when there's no room for a real one. Now, what I really like is the last picture. A toilet with a built in one?! Very cool and practical!

Gil and Ray said...

ojeitobrasileiro,

Yes, these new attachment devices are expensive but totally worth it, after all, you will most likely use it more than many other appliances in the house... ;)

Gil and Ray said...

Rachel,

Yes, I am sure with all the heat during Rio's summer that beer chilling function looks pretty darn good...
I think those little hoses are better than nothing, but I still think they are pretty hard to use and somewhat messy...

Jana @ Paper plains said...

hahaha we have had many a discussion on what to do with ours and my husband has his own ideas and i thought they were mainly for women?! I guess not as he now likes using one ... I do have to say in the hotel we stayed at the sprayer was of such intensity that without getting into it... was not hygienic once whatever you are spraying is all over the place. Anyways.... im getting used to it, im a little OCD so now thats two places that could harbor bacteria but i guess I see the point so im trying to adapt!

Gil and Ray said...

Jana,

I got extremely hot water in sensitive areas as a kid one too many times and learned not to hover above the jet stream in a vulnerable situation until I knew how to control the darn thing and how hot the water actually was...learned the hard way...
Yes, I think once you go bidet you never go back ;)
The new Toto electronic models are super cool and very easy to retrofit in any standard toilet.
Good for the new smaller apartments.

Ray

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