Why Don't Americans Use Bidets?

Why Bidets Aren't Popular in America

There are a number of theories why bidets haven't taken off in the US the way they have in other countries. The device is said to have originated in France in the early 1700s. At that time, the bidet was basically a bowl full of water, from which you could splash water using your hand.

Around 1750, a hand pump was added that allowed water to be sprayed upward.1 From there, the modern bidet was born. As reported by Today I Found Out:2

"The modern bidet that resembles a toilet was developed in the 19th century, and the very popular bidet seat came about in the 1960s, with one of the most popular invented by an American, Arnold Cohen…

In the 1980s, the modern seat was improved with the creation of the 'washlet.' Using remote-controlled wands that spout water jets and finish with a warm-air dryer, the washlet is hugely popular, particularly in Japan.

So why don't Americans use this? After all, if fecal matter got on just about anywhere else on your body, you wouldn't just wipe it off with toilet paper and call it good. Why should your derrière be any different?"

The most plausible theories for why Americans prefer to be sans-bidet include:3

History: In the 18th century, Britons had a disdain for French aristocracy (which were among the first to champion the use of bidets). When the early colonists came to America, they may have brought this sentiment with them.
World War II: During this war, US soldiers likely saw bidets in French brothels (and probably nowhere else), which spread the idea that they were "dirty" or "immoral"
Conservatism: The first bidets involved using your hand to cleanse your genitals directly. Americans have, traditionally, been conservative in this area and probably preferred the "shield" of toilet paper between one's genitals and hands (in fact, the US was so conservative that the first toilet flushing wasn't seen on film until the 1960 film Psycho)4
Are Bidets Becoming More Popular?




Tags: bidet, americans, save TP, environmentally friendly

Location: United States