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Bidet, instructions for use!

Mistreated abroad but obligatory in Italy: bidet is a very special object, that is essential for us Italians but almost unknown outside our country, with some rare exceptions. Its presence in a hotel bathroom may seem so bizarre for foreign tourists, that in many cases the management has been forced to make real instructions in order to explain how to use this piece of sanitary ware properly and avoid any issues and probable damages to the structure. 

It seems too much? Maybe yes, but the presence of bidet in a bathroom is a matter of cultural distance between Italy and the rest of the world! 

For example, our country is the only one in which bidet is mandatory by law, unlike the United States where, on the other hand, its presence is actually a cause for devaluation of a property, because it steals space in a bathroom and creates disorder. Completely different life philosophies, therefore, that lead to different questions about bidet and its use in Europe, where apart from Spain and Portugal, it is practically impossible to find in houses and hotels. But what about Italians, who are the flagships of the use of bidet in the world, do we really know how to use it correctly? It is not just an odd question, have a look at Google search results to understand that, even we, sometimes have doubts about how to use a bidet in a proper way.

Going back in time, it turns out that a bidet was born in France, as you might have guessed from the name. It seems ridiculous that French people call ponies the same way, because of the position that is the same when riding this little horse. A bizarre homonymy, surely, but it makes the idea. Bidet makes its first appearance in a bathroom furniture in the eighteenth century, after it was installed in some apartments of the Palace of Versailles. To tell the truth, it did not have much success at the French court: the 100 apartments equipped with bidets had become the least attractive of the Royal Palace, so much that in 10 years they were abandoned. Nevertheless, bidet were installed in the rendez-vous houses of the capital of France and from this period bidet became associated with prostitutes. In spite of this unpleasant talkings the Queen of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Maria Carolina of Hapsburg-Lorraine in the second half of the eighteenth century demanded the installation of bidet in her private bathroom at the Royal Palace of Caserta. However, Queen Maria Carolina officially introduced the bidet in Italy, its true widespread distribution in the country is relatively recent and dates back to the second post-war period. Before then, bidet in homes of italian citizens were installed only in the houses of the upper-class bourgeoisie of large cities. The introduction of the obligation of the presence of bidet in Italian baths dates back to 1975, but today there are special derogations, but not for the constructions for civil use, where the presence of bidet is obligatory in at least one bathroom, if there are more than one bathroom in a house.

Having done this brief historical journey, it is clear that using bidet is essential for personal hygiene. In Italy we know it well and, in fact, according to a survey, 97% of Italians use it regularly at least once a day. The different perception of using bidet that Americans have, due to a historical legacy unfortunately rooted in their mentality.  Americans have discovered bidet firstly in France during the Second World War, where it was presented exclusively in the brothels, and used by prostitutes after having sex with their clients. Since that time was born an idea that bidet is something not very hygienic, and above all, inappropriate for respectable houses of American people. As mentioned before, it was the same in Europe in the eighteenth century, but this superstition was forgotten thanks to Queen Maria Carolina of Hapsburg-Lorraine. Now it is more clear why Americans when stay at our hotels which mostly all have bidet in a bathroom, fell anxious about using this curious sanitary tool. For fairness’ sake, the USA it’s not the only nation who have difficulties about using bidet, even Asians are not particularly acquainted with this piece of sanitary ware, even Japanese, known for their obsession with hygiene, have developed highly technological systems to combine the functions of WC and bidet in a single object.

Shoulders back or...? Although foreigners are, of course, those who show greater difficulty in understanding how to use the bidet, in some cases even Italians show some perplexities, especially when it comes to establish a verse of use for the bidet. To this question, which have been placed at least once in their lifetime, there is no answer or, better to say, there is no right one: the bidet can be used in both directions. However, for practical reasons, most people use it with a face turned to the wall, so as to have better access to the tap for water regulation. For the rest, everyone uses it as it seems most appropriate for himself.  Sanitary ware market in Italy is in constant evolution and every year there are more and more models of outstanding design and functions: discover the latest news on our website.


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