I have always wondered about the buying habits of people during an emergency. For example, in an approaching snowstorm, there is always a run on milk, bread, and toilet paper. Stores run out of shovels, snow scrapers, and even snow blowers. I always wondered, “What happened to the shovel and snowblowers you all bought last year?”. These all can’t be disposable, right? Or perhaps these all broke?
I understand the need to have milk and bread, but toilet paper? In the country I grew up in, where toilet paper is expensive and of poor quality. Culturally, it is not considered clean if you do not wash it with water.
A few months after I had started a new job, my office mates were having a conversation. Apparently, one of them had been overseas recently, and it amazed him that the country he visited did not use toilet paper. “They use a small container of water (The tabo) to pour water and wash their privates!”
A little irked, I asked “Do you really consider it advanced to use using what amounts to glorified banana leaves? Think about it, if your hands are oily and dirty, would you wipe them clean or wash them with soap and water?” That shut down that discussion.
So in an emergency situation, my priority would be to fill the belly. There are better options available for the Tp (Toilet Paper) that are cheaper, friendlier to the environment, and can save you money.
Enter the Bidet
Invented in France for washing for your privates, your definition of a bidet depends a lot on where you are, or where you are from. It can be a separate stand-alone or conventional toilet, a sprayer, or add-ons that include such amenities as auto-clean, seat heating, heated water, and more.
I discovered my first bidet when I was around 7 years old. It comprised a thin copper tube attached to a shut-off valve. The tube traveled underneath the seat and curled underneath the bowl. The end of the tube pointed up towards the center of the opening. Similar to the more expensive plastic and aluminum add-on bidets of today. I considered this to be a smart move. You used less water to clean, and it was convenient. But I must have used this bidet maybe once or twice. I was not comfortable. I always had an image of someone else using this, and their output might fall directly on the water source and not be sanitized afterward. Gross. The start of the covid-19 pandemic would make me reconsider. This was when shortages in toilet paper were headline news, for days. So I upgraded all our toilets with a bidet.
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Choosing a bidet
There are two main types of bidet, the stand-alone and the add-on.
The stand-alone bidet has been around since the early 1900 and looks similar to a toilet with the addition of a hot and cold faucet. Installing this bidet requires more space than most households would care to sacrifice. And the uninitiated may decide to pee in it, which you are free to do.
A more common bidet is the add-on. These can be as simple as a hand-held attached to a cold water source, although others can have both hot and cold. There are also toilet seat bidets. These bidets can have a built-in sprayer attached to a hot and cold water source, electronic controls to adjust the spray, air dryers, and fancy lights. You will definitely appreciate the heated bidet during cold months.
What you choose depends on the amount of toilet space you have, how much you are willing to spend, and your personal taste.
A Bidet can save you money
Consider this. The softest toilet paper made today comes from the felling of virgin forests and the average person in the United States will go through 100 rolls of toilet paper per year. That’s about $100 per year for a 1-ply of toilet paper. In 2022, the cost of water in Maryland is about $46 per month for a family of 4!
So do yourself, and the environment a favor. Ditch the Tp and install a bidet. Water is much kinder to your behind, more refreshing, and definitely cleaner.
Toilet Paper History (http://www.toiletpaperhistory.net/toilet-paper-facts/toilet-paper-fun-facts/)
World Population Review (https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/water-prices-by-state)
© 2022, Norman Talon. All rights reserved.