For as long as I can remember, bidets played a vital role in my personal hygiene. We had built-in spouts in all our toilets at home, similar to the one in the picture below except without the apparatus on the side. The spout was piped in from under the inner rim of the toilet bowl. I am almost certain that all my friend's and relative's houses had them as well. Probably the only places that didn't have them were public restrooms. To me it was such a given that I barely even gave it a thought. They were just always there.
So when I was reading this article written by Terry Riley, a former columnist for Tripso, I had a flashback. I was travelling abroad for the first time and needed to answer a call of nature, (you know number two?). It was then that I first realized bidets weren't a standard fixture in other parts of the world. In fact, they were practically unheard of! Gack!
I was confused. How did these people clean themselves? Of course I know now there are ways, but I couldn't grasp it then. I couldn't see how you could achieve that level of clean without a bidet. It also struck me then how dependent I had become to this little convenience at home. But more importantly, it was disturbing. Shouldn't these be a necessity, rather than a luxury?
It was in Spain when I first discovered the other kind of bidet. You know, that bowl beside the toilet? My first thought was "Wow, how close must these people be to actually be able to poo at the same time?". And though I was eventually educated on the techniques of using one, I never mastered it. I didn't get it. It was just a faucet in a bowl. Did you fill up the bowl with water and then dip? That's not enough. I wanted jet stream action! Dry toilet paper alone doesn't do the trick. It was at this point that Wet Ones became my new best travel buddy.
Although I've lived in the Philippines all my life, I never used the tabo system for this purpose. It always seemed a little complicated to me and I didn't want to risk getting my hands dirty, so to speak. So I never bothered trying.
The Japanese, not surprisingly, have revolutionized bidets. They're so high-tech they come with control options allowing you to adjust the pressure of the water, the type of stream and in some models even the temperature of the water. Now, that is a luxury I can definitely live with!