Tom Blank of Weird History ponders why bidets are so popular in many countries yet not at all in the United States. It turns out that this toilet appliance was closely associated with the French elite, class snobbery, and prostitution. It also helped women who were menstruating. For these reasons, it was rejected.
And why are bidets popular in Europe, but not America? Colonial American hygiene began with chamber pots and outhouses, and the country eventually progressed to toilets. Overall, however, Americans were skittish about hygiene topics associated with bidets…If you’re not familiar with this alternative to toilet paper in many countries, it’s a basin separate from the toilet for washing one’s nether regions.
Hopefully, environmental concerns will give the bidet another chance.
Every day, the world flushes 270,000 trees down the toilet. If the US switched to bidets, it could save 15 million trees – so why don’t Americans use bidets?