It is time for an alternative to toilet paper. Too many trees have perished for us to wipe our filthy asses. The thought hit me on New Year’s Day. Seemed like it was a time for new beginnings. I wouldn’t have such a problem if toilet paper were recyclable. But that’s simply not an option. The only substitutes I’ve come up with in the past 10 months are the bidet and the three sea shells that confound Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man.
Since we live in a world where Sly is merely an actor and not a super-cop, unfrozen through time to rid the world of Wesley Snipes, I guess we look to the bidet. A water fountain for your anus. How effective is this contraption at cleaning house? Can bidets be more than just an occasional luxury? Why aren’t more people using this green tech?
Bidets are exotic to most Americans, but a common fixture around the world. Though generally seen as a European indulgence, Koreans are into bidets too. In fact, they landed on combination toilet/bidets. These combo machines appear in approximately 60% of South Korean households. I’ve never heard a Korean complain either. I have to assume toilet/bidets are working just fine for their asses. And why not? A stream of water is exponentially more effective than dry paper. But without speaking to an honest to god Korean, I don’t know how it all goes down. If you’re Korean, please jump in. Do these exist in public spaces? You have to dry off… Are there public ass-towels in Korea? If we’re using paper towels to dry off, that would defeat the purpose of the bidet in the first place, so I can’t buy that. Maybe a motion-activated hair dryer for your fanny? A ha! Cool breeze of course.
I’ve done some research. Combo toilet/bidets go for about $3000 on the interwebs. Contrast that to an ordinary throne which goes for about $200. (This may be shocking to you as most of us never have to buy a toilet. Mostly a line-item on a contractor’s bill.) Clearly we have a price gap. What is driving the price of toilet/bidet combos up? I refuse to believe the higher price point is strictly due to manufacturing costs, but rather the perceived opulence of- what is essentially a water fountain for little people.
Perception is a very powerful barrier to entry. A distinct marketing problem. You will need the marketing power of an Apple, Inc. or a Nike to change people’s perception on latrines. Bidet’s are not just for the rich. OR just for the little people. Bidet’s are for your ass. The tech is centuries old and has current real world applications. Just do it.
There is a grander problem though; infrastructure. How do you get stubborn Americans to change the way they wipe their asses? No small task when dealing with a clique that, for all it’s marvels, is still surprisingly prude. Furthermore, how do you outfit bathrooms with a bidet when most are designed to only accommodate one porcelain appliance? This makes the combo toilet/bidet very appealing. Especially when more and more people are willing to pay a premium with the planet in mind. The less you inconvenience them the better. They already have monstrosities like the combo toilet/washing machine above. Why not an inconspicuous little bidet?
A change of considerable magnitude is going to have to take place in people’s minds if we are going to accept a cool and awkwardly refreshing rinse-off as a weapon against global warming.
Now if I can just convince America to switch to the metric system…