Because of my mother’s reaction to my question about the toilet tissue holders tightly wrapped in paper and stacked in a box on top of the toilet in my parents’ bathroom as a child (something like “That’s a private product meant for women only!”), I was hesitant to ask whether Crocodile Dundee was wrong or not when he stuck his head out of a NYC window to tell Sue Charlton that a bidet was for “washing your back side, right?” But my assumption was that it was another of those “private products meant for women only!” and that Mick Dundee had gotten it wrong. It made me scared to go to France for most of my childhood.
The first time I saw a real life bidet in the wild was in the master bedroom of the house we bought right before Christmas. I was confused, as the previous owner was a single man named Jon Norris. A man with a bidet in his house.
At the house inspection, I turned one of the knobs. Water shot four feet into the air and into my face. I screamed, “Oh my God! I got Jon Norris’ ball water in my eyes!” but it sounded really tough the way I said it. Then I scrubbed my head with rubbing alcohol, steel wool, and an ice pick for forty minutes. I didn’t touch it again for three months (the bidet).
But I still thought about it when crossing its path en route to the shower or sink every morning. Was this antiquated chunk of porcelain with the water cannon really for washing my backside? Or was it something more? I closed my eyes and ran my fingers along its rim while whispering, “Talk to me, Jon Norris’ bidet,” but it never spoke.
One day while I on the toilet–meaning the bidet was a few inches away–I decided to try it. I was tired of feeling like that little boy under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe. I needed to know if water trumped toilet paper. I couldn’t stay pale and emaciated on the toilet while wondering what the world was really like.
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to face forward or backward. It made more sense to face the faucets and tame them like Frank TJ Mackey tamed the pussy, but I couldn’t envision the designer intending for the user to perform a 180-degree turn with a dirty bottom, either. So, I elected to go with the “side shift” and “reach behind” technique.
I learned two quick lessons from this maneuver: 1) that the bidet faucet’s right handle controls the hot water and 2) that our hot water gets hot pretty fucking quickly. These lessons directly lead to my third epiphany: I can jump four feet from a squat when scalding hot water blasts my testicles without warning.
Once I peeled myself from the popcorn ceiling, I twisted the left faucet handle to temper the hot water and gently sat back down. And while I’m certain I had the cleanest scrotum on our street at that moment, that wasn’t the problem area.
I scooted forward as far as I could scoot and still have a bit of porcelain under me, and the water stream finally went where it needed to go. After a good twenty seconds, I figured I was finished and could move back to the toilet, where a manly American man like me belongs.
Then came the test. Would the paper be white as snow? Did the bidet cleanse my backside of its transgressions?
It didn’t. And I haven’t used the damned thing since.
*this post originally appeared on DadCentric!