“The only thing we have to fear is… fear of the rear itself.” Bidets are back…

‘When Did you and the Bidet First Meet?‘ According to the majority of dictionaries a Bidet is still described as, ‘A small, low bath in which a person washes the lower part of their body.’ That’s exactly how I remember seeing a ‘bidet’ for the first time in a relative’s bathroom. I didn’t have a dictionary to hand, there was no, ‘Okay Google…’ so I figured it was time to introduce myself. With the bathroom door firmly locked I checked out the white stand-alone low-level oval porcelain tub with taps. Positioned between the bath tub and the toilet, why would I even think about shuffling from the WC (with my trousers around my ankles) to go wash my bum? I guessed it was for washing my feet and I did. I ended up using 3 rolls of toilet paper to mop up the shower of water I’d sent cascading across the floor and took five attempts to flush the soggy evidence down the toilet. Departing none the wiser, until my second acquaintance on a trip to France by which time I’d figured it out and finally, in Japan, I got to feel the real deal. The question that struck me most, prior to trying out a bidet was, ‘Why having grown up with toilet paper would I want one?’ But the new bidets are easy to install, hygienic and above all they’re changing peoples perspectives.

Why Bidets Got a Bum Rap. Way before my first encounter, America a big potential market for bidets, had failed to adopt them (the low-level sit and wash version) because they got a bum rap. Many Americans associated the stand-alone bidet with sex-workers, having seen them being used in European brothels during World War II. The question of space and additional plumbing for bidet fixtures in, ‘the smallest room‘ didn’t help its cause either, added to which the use of toilet paper was gathering pace. Travelling even further back in time, long before the Romans sat in their rows of toilets with a ‘sponge on a stick‘ to mop up after themselves, the world was already awash with ‘washers.’ The options for the finishing touches included; stones, leaves, grass, corn cobs, animal furs, sticks, snow, bits of porcelain, seashells or simply your hand.

Toilet Paper is ‘On a Roll.’ The Chinese are credited with inventing the new alternative, toilet paper, as far back as 1391 and by the late fifteenth century it was widely available throughout China. Fast forward to 1596 and, rather like computers, the invention of the modern WC/Toilet provided the hardware for a wider audience. The software sales (toilet paper) took a further 260 years to take off when eventually in 1857, Joseph Gayetty of New York, marketed a modern commercially available toilet paper, ‘Medicated Paper, for the Water-Closet.‘ The first perforated toilet paper rolls were finally introduced in 1890 and by 1930 toilet paper was widely manufactured and ‘splinter free.’ Since then toilet paper has gone ‘on a roll‘ (pun intended) for wipers worldwide as being, ‘The go to, when you go do!‘. The appearance of toilets in every home coupled with improvements to the softness and strength of toilet paper and its extensive sales and marketing went on to influence a social change, and social conditioning in countries like the US and UK (still two of the leading wiper countries.) With bidets (in their original format) failing to take off and get deep enough into the human psyche, the momentum was lost and led to a generation of toilet owners (in the USA, UK, much of Europe and many East Asian countries) becoming keen wipers and subsequently dedicated toilet paper users. Until now that is…

Douche and Dab’ or Wipe. It’s a long time since bidets first appeared in France back in the late 17th century, and although the first flushable toilet was invented in England (1596) WCs/Toilets didn’t gain popularity until 1851. It took approx. 100 years longer to establish themselves in the modern world. In 1980, the first ‘paperless toilet‘ was launched in Japan by manufacturer Toto. Since the 1980s technology, design and functionality have gone on to transform the product, the experience and the accessibility of both toilets and bidets. In regards to ‘wash vs wipe,’ billions of ‘washers‘ around the world had their cleaning experience happily established for ages. In many parts of the world [e.g. South East Asia, The Middle East, India and some European countries] washing has always been the preference over wiping. Their culture is a flip on the way ‘wiping society‘ thinks with our reliance on toilet tissue. For the residents of many nations, washing with either bowls, ‘bum guns’ (washing wands) and/or bidets are ‘the main event,’ the toilet paper is the ‘(back) side show,’ or even a complete no show. In trying to persuade people, it’s far easier to ‘upgrade’ a habitual and established washing method, rather than change the habits of a lifetime, i.e. get them to exchange ‘douche and dab,’ for the waterless wipes with toilet paper. Quite understandably when you put it like that.

Team Wipe vs Team Wash. This has meant that for some while ‘Team Wipe‘ have been sitting on their backsides (so to speak) focussing on how they could upgrade their own experience with things like softer or more eco-friendly tissue options. Meanwhile, manufacturers and designers for ‘Team Wash‘ have been coming up with a range of smart new inventions and health benefits to enhance their offering. You’ll no doubt be familiar with toilets with built in bidets, and functions such as; wash, dry, self-clean, funky lighting, music, automatic seat open and close, health checks and a whole lot more. But hey, I hear you! 😉 ‘That’s all very well but it’s not so easy to make the switch if your current set up is a standard toilet, plus toilet roll holder(s)… and there’s a great range of toilet rolls to choose from these days.’ Okay, let’s get to the bottom of all this.

Changing Your Perspective. The recent panic buying and fear of running out of toilet tissue has been a timely opportunity to grab the wiping world’s attention with alternatives to just using toilet paper. For the toilet paper consumer as it were, trying to sell something to ‘attach to a toilet and wash your butt,’ is no easy task. There have been various attachable bidet patents and inventions dating back to the late 1800s, the most recent appears to be from 2010. Having said that, only in the past few years have ‘attachable bidets‘ begun to get spotted by the ‘wiping community.’ The outbreak of coronavirus led to toilet paper ‘shortages,’ and then the closure of many public toilets left people with another dilemma, ‘how to go on the go.‘ Media attention turned from toilet paper to bidets as a solution with more and more headlines and greater press coverage (yep, there’s even a travel version in case you’re caught short outside). Once the public had embraced the possibilities of a bidet and were loving the buzz of other ‘new’ peripheral toilet temptations (Aesop Post-Poo Drops or Poo-Pourri as examples) the whole bathroom experience began to inspire a new audience, a wider following and a big fan base. Perspective has changed.

The Generation Game Changer. That game-changer (life-changer) for ‘the wipers’ has a lot to do with the coming of age of ‘attachable bidets‘ and for many Millennials and Generation Z they make total sense. With no history, nor necessarily any memory of ye olde off-putting bidets, ‘The Attachables‘ are grabbing their attention, and this generation are technologically immersed, care about planet earth and constantly discussing the endless list of environmental issues. Another advantage, if you rent your home, is that this is an inexpensive way to get a bidet installed, and take it with you anywhere you go. In exploring the world of attachable bidets there are some brilliantly designed alternatives out there, with all sorts of functions for all sorts of people. However, making a bidet appealing enough to promote change isn’t just about what it does, ‘it’s about what it does for you.‘ That vital part of the persuasive process takes a brilliant marketeer [Miki Agrawal] and an innovative new approach [TUSHY.]

Reasons to be Cheerful not Fearful. One of the other reasons for the attachable bidets new resurgence and success is its simplicity, in 10 minutes you can easily convert your current toilet into a bidet and… it looks good too. Costs vary but a ‘classic‘ starts at around $89 (approx. 60-100 rolls in toilet paper money;)) making it very affordable. That’s quite tempting vs the considerably greater expense of having to buy and fit a completely new smart toilet/bidet with wash, dry and other multi-functionality built in. But fear not toilet paper fans, bidets do not necessarily equate to ‘no toilet paper whatsoever’ because with bidet attachments you’ll still need to dry up afterwards. The preferred methods being toilet paper (biodegradable) or bum towels (ideally bamboo in both cases.) After all, whatever age, you’ll still have your toilet rolls (or bum-towels) close to hand. You decide how much toilet paper you use and/or how often you get to use the bidet – so sit back, relax, and… ‘ease your way into your new bidet.

Hello TUSHY. Let’s get back to ‘TUSHY.’ Founded by Canadian born New Yorker Miki Agrawal back in 2015. Miki, CEO Jason Ojalvo and their team have been making a big splash by changing consumer perceptions (and misconceptions) about using a bidet, or ‘making a clean start‘ so to speak. Miki, whose parents are Indian and Japanese (so she knows about bidets and the washing ways) is a disruptive innovator whose marketing approach mixes, ‘hygiene + humour, entertainment + environment‘ which confronts and cuts through traditional taboos and bravely challenges the status quo. ‘TUSHY‘ have jumped the obstacles and put attachable bidets ‘front of mind for your behind.’ Apart from convincing people that using a bidet is the best way to clean your butt, and in spite of the stiff competition, they’ve got a lot of people’s attention! The TUSHY bidet attachment is also environmentally friendly, squeaky clean, saves you money, it’s fun, totally natural to use, and it makes you feel, ‘It’s the way to go if you’re in the know.’

Health, Hygiene and Environment. Environmentally the big plus about bidets is they save water, a lot of water. Another is ‘Trees vs Bamboo’ as millions of trees are cut down to make toilet paper, check our article, ‘Is Wiping our Bottoms Wiping out Forests?’ Bamboo offers a sustainable future. As numerous stats clearly illustrate bidets are good for the environment, healthier and the most hygienic self-care option. But tell that to people a couple of years ago and ‘yer, right!’ The fact is it’s Miki has managed to get that message out there, got it across and got it to stick. The ‘better for you‘ factor is backed up by a long list of positive personal stuff that’s going to benefit us by using one including; not using our hands and/or spreading germs around, avoiding haemorrhoids, washing with water is non-abrasive, it can help with IBS, UTI’s and periods… quite a lot of which gets covered in their most recent (and amusing) advert, ‘Time To Get With The Clean Poop Program, People.’

The TUSHY Talk

Taking the ‘Boo!’ out of ‘Taboo.’ It would be fair to say that in my personal opinion, in terms of converting the unconverted and taking the ‘Boo!‘ out of ‘Taboo,‘ TUSHY (with their bidet attachments, bamboo tp, bum towels and travel bidet) are currently the greatest influence in moving washing back to the no. 1 spot for our no. 2s and suchlike. But there’s another great ‘finishing touch’ to the TUSHY story and that’s the fact Miki Agrawal is also a philanthropist, ‘TUSHY is passionate about fighting the global sanitation crisis and has helped almost 60,000 families gain access to clean toilets in India.’ TUSHY, ‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts… and the hearts of our bottoms!’

We’ll be back in a week or two with another of our independent takes on the world of taboos, loos and no. 2s… As ever do get in touch with any comments or feedback. Have a great weekend! Well be back in a couple of weeks as heading off to our B&B in Corfu to check all’s well.

[All photos in the article are copyright of HelloTUSHY]

Does my Toilet make sense? BBC CrowdScience Podcast

Is it time to reinvent the flush toilet? Take 39 minutes while you’re home to get to know about your toilet. A brilliant podcast from the BBC’s WorldScience on that very topic. First released on May 15th 2020 and featuring Rose George author of the ‘The Big Necessity‘ published in 2009 (available on Amazon) Description: ‘Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, hidden by euphemism, sh*t is rarely out in the open in ‘civilised’ society, but the world of waste – and the people who deal with it, work with it and in it – is a rich one. This book takes us underground to the sewers of NYC and London and overground, to meet the heroes of India’s sanitation movement, American sewage schoolteachers, the Japanese genius at the cutting edge of toilet technology, and the biosolids lobbying team. With a journalist’s nose for story, and a campaigner’s desire for change, Rose George also addresses the politics of this under-reported social and environmental effluent, and the consequences of our reluctance to talk about it. Witty and original, The Big Necessity proves that sh*t doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

The 3+1Ps Poop, Pee, Paper + ‘Poop Museums.’

Museo della Merda
Museo della Merda
Museo della Merda
Images courtesy of Museo della Merda photographer Henrick Bloomqvist

Poop Museums: Some while back we highlighted, Pooseum‘ an inspired visitor attraction located (down under) in Australia. It’s a tough time for practically every museum impacted by covid-19 having to be closed, so we thought it a great time to introduce or rather re-introduce you to the best of the Poop Museums, and even a theme park or two. They’ve all survived so far and we wanted to add some support by dedicating this post to them and giving each one a plug in ‘The Daily Poo!‘ For our readers, it’s also an opportunity to read about something other than toilet paper, which still seems to be taking up the headlines.

‘The Shit Museum’: This remarkable museum was established in 2015 when it first opened in Italy. It’s the ‘Shit Museum‘ [okay that’s the translation, in Italian it’s, ‘Il Museo della Merda!‘] ‘The Shit Museum’ even has its own tv section, yep, it’s called ‘Shit TV.’ But don’t imagine this is anything but an extraordinary story, you can check out just how ‘on trend’ they are with all matters poop and poop products, cool designs, ethics, recycling and innovation by looking at their ‘news and stories.’ This is an impressive place that we happened to come upon after a visit to the V&A in London having seen their MerdaCotta in the ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate‘ exhibition last year. To quote from their about page, ‘With constant innovation and new commissions, this area brings together testimonies of aesthetic, scientific human and animal experiences, both of today and of yesteryear, in which shit is a useful and living material. From the dung beetle, considered divine by the Egyptians (and symbol of the Museum itself), to the use of dung in architecture, from ancient Italian civilisations to those in Africa, via historical-literary works such as Pliny’s Naturalis Historia. Right up to the latest scientific research and works of art drawing on the use and reuse of waste and discarded materials, the Museum is a contemporary cabinet of curiosities which finds its main guide in the science and art of transformation.Castelbosco by Gianantonio Locatelli. This is a must see!

Perhaps the most significant and important museum of all is the ‘Museum of Toilets‘ in New Delhi, India created by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak founder of Sulabh International. ‘Founded in 1970 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh’s contribution in the field of sanitation is both monumental in scale and historical in its application of human rights framing to sanitation. Dr. Pathak’s foray into sanitation was in response to tackle the deep rooted discrimination, abuse and stigma faced by a community of people – known as manual scavengers – who cleaned dry latrines manually and were labelled as untouchables.‘ The Museum has a rare collection of facts, pictures and objects detailing the historic evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to date. It provides a chronological account of developments relating to technology, toilet related social customs, toilet etiquettes, prevailing sanitary conditions and legislative efforts of the times. It has an extensive display of privies, chamber-pots, toilet furniture, bidets and water closets in use from 1145 AD to the modern times. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Sociologist and Social Reformer and Founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement has helped 1000s and 1000s of people to have public sanitation.

Pooseum Tasmania Australia

‘Pooseum’: This Australian attraction was the first Pooseum that we ever wrote about. It isn’t easy to get an attraction about poop off the ground and we’d loved Karin Koch‘s enthusiasm and determination to put the museum on the map (she’s the creator and owner of ‘Pooseum.’) It’s only now we’ve got around to checking out all the others we can find. What it has clearly illustrated is that this one of a kind experience is set to be appearing in more and more countries in the not too distant future. For those of you who’ve heard of ‘PooPourri‘ you’ll also be aware of ‘how big poo is in marketing and creativity these days’ (and yes, that is quite a difficult line to read correctly.) Karen’s brand line, ‘Where Talking about Poo is not Taboo‘ is very much in line with our thinking and also why Mark (post editor) has written four kids books on the subject. Karen created a science museum dedicated entirely to the intriguing world of animal droppings, but also plus a whole lot more as she’s on a serious mission to educate visitors about the fascinating world of poo. It’s fun for all ages by combining that perfect mix of engagement, education and entertainment.

The National Poo Museum‘: Had its first exhibition back in 2015 having been created (with a lot of dedication) by members of the artist collective Eccleston George. It now has a permanent home at Sandown on the Isle of Wight, UK. This unconventional ‘poo-seum‘ is where visitors can see and/or hold poo of all shapes and sizes. Poo from the 21st century going back millions of years ago and from all sorts of animals as well as us humans too. Head to the Isle of Wight where visitors can discover the magic and secrets that live within poo as they ‘Pass Through the World of No. 2s.’

‘The Poo Museum’: The most recent to hit the headlines (albiet they’ve been around for a few years) is, Unko Tokyo(Yokohama) Japan, ‘The Poo Museum.’ Originally a ‘Pop-up Museum’ (Poop-up) it had to close temporarily with the outbreak of coronavirus but ingeniously, and with maximum use of the word ‘un‘ [one of the Japanese words for poo], they’ve taken the museum online. You can log in here (if you’re good at Japanese, or Japanese.) The Unko Museum opens May 1 2020 at 1pm and is part of the ‘stay at home week.’ Here’s their website (it’s in English too) and you can also follow them on instagram and on twitter @unko_museum

‘Poopoo Land’: Although currently closed, in South Korea there’s a theme park called, ‘Poopoo Land‘ in Seoul and Busan where the poo pleasures include; ‘Various Photo Zones‘ (see below) a ‘Dynamic Digestive Maze,’ and ‘An Exciting Poo Party‘ place… All of which I’m sure you’re imagining without even having clicked the link! 😉 We loved the strapline, ‘The facilities related to poopoo in Poopoo Land will provide you with special experiences that you cannot gain from other places‘ and that’s for sure.

PooMoon’ at Poopoo Land | image copyright Poopoo Land Korea

Way back we mentioned Tirdy Works in Maine, USA. Tirdy Works sells gifts made out of moose poop, their success has led to their own tv channel and the first episode of is airing on Tuesday May 5th on TruTV at 10pm EST [see the trailer on youtube here.] Although it’s not a museum the fact ‘their shit has hit the fan'(base) made us feel it deserved flagging up again. If you can’t see it on tv, enjoy the above trailer!

We think that covers it from top… to bottom. If we missed anyone out do please get in touch and we can add them to the post! Just before we go, during the #lockdown and #stayhome if you’re getting a ‘bit stuck’ then here’s an article by Brianne Hogan for SheKnows on the ‘The Easiest Exercises for Keeping Your Poop Healthy‘ that may be of help or relief for some! Have a good week and stay well.