Breaking it Down: Bathroom Humor*
Those of you who watched the video of DMC Ville may have noticed that our bathroom comes with a fancy Asian bidet. Basically, it’s an attachment bolted on in place of the toilet seat, which offers all the utility of a bidet without requiring A) a separate dedicated unit (as is often the case in Europe [or was the last time I was there]) or B) a SUPER expensive all-in-one toilet/bidet, which can run you upwards of $5500.
In theory, it’s all quite luxurious. Without getting too graphic, it could be said that one might grow to appreciate a persistent state of freshness concerning one’s rear nethers. But on the subject of bathroom luxury, ours is a house divided: HCB is guarded but optimistic; I face the thing with dread. Although I’m a dedicated practitioner of personal hygiene, I just don’t know about this thing.
Let me, with painstaking delicacy, walk you through the situation. Not wishing to belabor the point, I’ll begin my breakdown at the point after all necessary business has been dispensed with and the normal… maintenance… has been taken care of. Are we all on the same page here? Yes? Ok. So, being well prepared, one turns one’s attention to the control panel waiting innocently to the right of the seat:
As you can see, on it is an array of pictograms and English words, both abbreviated and not. The purposes of some are clearly apparent; the purposes of others are a mystery even after experimentation. The difference between the “WASH” and “BIDET” functions, for example. Something different is going on, but what exactly… I have no idea. Also, the “MAS,” “DEO” and “ANION” functions are too frightening to risk on such delicate anatomy. Massage? Deodorant? Ions? I’m at a loss.
Don’t worry though. Even without the instruction manual, one can take this baby for a spin around the block, but as with any powerful machine, it’s important to start out slow. However, the problem one faces, especially when one has just moved into one’s new apartment, is that the temperature and intensity of the water is set by the bidet’s most recent operator. This means that if the previous occupants had used the bidet so often and so vigorously that they couldn’t feel clean with anything short of scalding hot water discharged from a fire hose, then one will be in for an unambiguous intimate cleaning. However, after reducing the heat and intensity, it is possible that one might be seduced by the bidet’s charms. When used improperly, it is not entirely unlike sitting on or VERY near a jacuzzi jet. When set correctly, the experience is not entirely unpleasant, although the splashing that can occur undermines my confidence in its hygienic virtues.
With all that attended to, there one sits, clean but sopping. Although more antique bidet technology might have necessitated some amount of toweling off, here in Asia, we sit astride the culmination of human advancement: the toilet-mounted hairdryer. I just can’t go into detail on this one (HCB’s mother reads AD), but suffice it to say, any potential concern that has shot through your mind while reading this is a real issue that must either be mitigated or tolerated. Yes. Everything you’re thinking right now. All of it.
Even with all that, every once in a while, I break down and give the bidet another try. It’s too hard to resist that siren’s song. I think to myself, Maybe just for a second. Just a spritz. But as with so many bad ideas, once started, it’s “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Oh and did I mention? Every time you push a button – switching from WASH to BIDET to DRY – the toilet beeps, notifying you and any house guests you may have that you’ve started a new phase of the cleaning process. So if anybody visits us, be forewarned: if you try the bidet, everyone in the apartment – and probably everyone on our floor – will know what you’re doing and when. If you’re comfortable with that then we are, but consent can’t be given without prior knowledge.
*Maybe “humor” sets the bar a little high, but let’s go with it.