I roared in surprise and leapt off that bidet so quickly that a jet of water shot up out of the bowl after me, spraying me across the back of the shirt as I madly jabbed at buttons to diminish its power.
A splash of culture
By Morgan Hannah, Contributor
It’s my understanding that everyone’s first time with a bidet is uncomfortable and no one really wants to talk about it. Well, today I’m going to talk about it. And no, I don’t have an ass-up face-down kind of bidet story but I did have a fight with one and it isn’t exactly clear who won.
The year was 2019, I boarded a plane heading to almost exactly the other side of the world: Indonesia. But first, a quick layover in Taipei. This is the point where I would like to address something: contrary to popular belief, toilets do not flush in the opposite direction due to the Coriolis effect. While the Coriolis effect is significant for natural weather phenomena, it’s not powerful enough to make toilets flush in different directions at different places on Earth. If ever you’ve seen a toilet flush “backwards”, it’s simply a result of the direction the water jets are pointing. Sorry.
Back to my bidet story. Due to my determination to never use an airplane bathroom if I can help it, I held it in for all twelve hours of my flight from Vancouver to Taipei, which meant it was time to go now. Due to my urgency, it wasn’t until my ass was on porcelain that I realized I was sitting on a bidet-equipped toilet for the first time ever. This hi-tech toilet had a huge panel full of buttons and controls on the right-cheek side. The issue: there wasn’t a whiff of English or any cute little helpful icons. Only intimidating Mandarin Chinese.
Hindsight is a cruel mistress, for at the time I was unaware that that panel controlled everything about the bidet: water pressure, water temperature, angle of attack, and duration of the spray. Much like a mini car wash, where my asshole was the muddy car, there was even a dryer function!
Finally, I decided, “when in Taipei…” and pushed one of the buttons, only nothing happened. Or so I thought. Almost silent machinery was working “behind the scenes” on a bombardment of the most brutal kind. With precision accuracy and the firepower to outgun any man, a hard, fast, and freezing cold jet of water hit me squarely in the pink starfish!
I roared in surprise and leapt off that bidet so quickly that a jet of water shot up out of the bowl after me, spraying me across the back of the shirt as I madly jabbed at buttons to diminish its power. While I was able to finally figure out which button brought the flow to a light trickle, I was subjected to the horrific reality that I had soaked a Taipei airport bathroom stall and myself, all the while wondering why in the world a bidet would have so many features and controls in the first place! What were they all for? And what would happen if the water shot “up there” a little too hard?
Finally, I retreated onto the connecting flight, unsure of what was awaiting me the next time I had to go. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Indonesia—weak septic systems and all—did not have bidets, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead of a foreign panel that controlled the troops against poops, there was a spray gun alongside every toilet. It wasn’t long before I realized that this made a lot of sense. Initially, the concept of squirting one’s butt afterwards was unfamiliar to me, but if you think about it from another angle, say you’re changing a baby’s diaper and you get a little poop on your arm, would you wipe it with paper or wash it off?
Perhaps the bidet is a bathroom habit that more North Americans could learn a thing or two about and take advantage of! Then, before you know it, you’ll also have had a strange encounter of the turd kind!