s I sat on the little red chair next to the bidet preparing to shave my legs it suddenly hit me how versatile this simple piece of porcelain really is.
While living in Sicily 35 years ago I bathed my 10-month-old baby daughter in one. When she wasn’t happily splashing around, my husband was using it to ice down his 12-pack of Coors Lite, too large to fit in a European refrigerator. After the beer came a bath for our toy poodle. And after that some more personal coiffing.
Yes, it all sounds a bit disgusting, but think about it: Is a bidet really any worse than sitting in a bubble bath with a greasy ring just below that pretty line of bubbles? Maybe if you scrubbed your bathtub you’d begin to see a bidet for what it is: a multi-purpose delight.
True, the bidet was built to apply hygiene to specific body parts, but contrary to widespread belief there is no Armed Bidet Militia waiting to arrest you should you find more creative ways to use this most bountiful of bowls.
A bidet is great in emergencies.
Have you ever had your shower go out and tried to climb up on a granite countertop and use the spray nozzle in the sink? Take it from me, though you might actually make to the sink, there’s a Tsunami aftermath to mop up when you finally climb down (oh, and don’t slip).
We Americans have everything ass backwards (which, by the way, is the ideal way to sit on the bidet). We need to lose our lavish kitchens — many bought and installed by people who don’t even cook — and subscribe to simpler European methods, including the plumbing genius that is the simple white bidet bowl.
During my Spoleto stay I’ve already have used it for a foot soak, laundry soak, potted plant soak, as bucket for my mop, a leg shaving receptacle, an ice bucket for Prosecco, and of course for its intended use which is to make me feel fresh as a daisy should my fabulous (still AWOL) Fabio drop by unexpectedly.
In America, we subscribe to all things fast: fast food, fast cash, fast cars and fast women. How on earth did we let the splash-and-dash bidet get past us?
We think nothing of getting our vehicles detailed or of running them through a two-minute car wash. I suppose, as last resort, I could resign myself to life without a bidet and strap myself face-up to the luggage rack of my SUV. But that seems a little drastic, even for the U.S.
As I prepare to leave Italy I admit my bidet-withdrawal anxiety is rising. Do I have to go home thinking myself a prairie woman? Once home, do I need to get a galvanized bucket? Do I have to run a garden hose through my bathroom window to feel that lavender fresh feeling?
Most people return home from a European sojourn and with stories of food, wine and romance.
Not me. I intend to stand in front of Home Depot with my Biscotti-filled bucket and a sign that reads:
“GET YOUR BIDET TODAY! JOE THE PLUMBER IS OUT OF WORK.”