January 02, 2013 - You know I'm just like you (even if you're a chick). I am just an average Joe and every time a new year comes around I kinda want to do things better. And, if I can't do better, then maybe just doing them a little different will work, too.
With that in mind, I'll share with you my thoughts for this new year and how I came to these conclusions.
Some days before Christmas I received the following e-mail.
Recently, my video team and I released a video that highlights the economic and environmental impact of toilet paper and the hidden costs behind this paper product.
After the site popped up in my quick research, I thought I'd reach out, hoping you'll find some value in the video. Let me know if it's something you'd be interested in seeing or possibly share.
Thanks! Emily S.
Well, of course I had to respond to her correspondence and I did so thusly, "Emily please send me the video link. I am sure I can whip up a column. As I tell my sons, bathroom humor never goes out of style."
She complied and sent me a link to the Hidden Costs of Toilet Paper (which you can Google and find yourself). Since Emily complied, so did I. I watched the quirky little one minute, 20 second video.
And, here is what I was told:
1. Bidets are better than using T.P.
2. Only 25-30% of the world's population uses toilet paper, but folks in China, Japan and Europe are itching to get in on the fun.
3. The average person who uses T.P. uses 57 sheets a day; 20,000 a year; or each of us flushes about 384 trees down the crapper a year.
4. The average American spends between $40 and $70 a year keeping the water closet stocked with paper.
5. The world uses 27,000 trees a day in toilet paper.
And, 6. Bidets are better than T.P.
* * *
Before I get into that uncomfortable discussion about bidets, what they do, and how, I have a few questions (and if you want to skip my questions, you can start thinking about water picks not to use for rinsing your mouth but your backside right now.)
My questions are rather simple. When calculating T.P. usage, did they take into account single or double ply purchases, Scott or Charmin brands, white or designer colors?
* * *
So, I've stalled long enough. Bidets. I know (by quick Don Rush math and sound deductive reasoning) that 70 to 75 percent of the world's population uses a bidet over good ol' American toilet paper. And since most folks use 'em, they must be good, feel good and do a good job in cleaning up after doing what needs to be done. But, since I ain't a globe-trottin' playboy type, the only thing I think of when I think "bidet" is a high pressure stream of water rinsing over my particulars once the job is done. I don't know, it just seems like there'd be lots of messy splashing going on.
But ever the reporter, I got over my own prejudices and looked up how to use a bidet. First, do what you do and then . . .
1. Straddle the bidet. If it's a stand-alone operation you can either face the controls or back into place. Regardless, it looks like you need to shuck your slacks and hang 'em some place.
2. Adjust the temperature and jet strengths for comfort. I read this: be very careful when turning on the water, as many bidets can produce a very high jet of water with only a slight turn of the control and that can ruin your whole day.
3. Position yourself over the water jets so the H20 hits the desired area. For some bidets you can continue to hover above the bidet or you can sit down on it. I guess this is a personal choice that I'd rather not think about.
4. (And, here's where I think bidets lose their luster.) Clean anal area and/or genitals. Clean the desired area using your hands, as you would when taking a shower. Question: Why not just shower?
5. Dry your skin. Some bidets have a built-in air dryer that you can use (which actually sounds pretty groovy in a tingly kind of way). Others don't, so you pat dry with toilet paper. I read many bidets have a towel on a ring positioned next to the bidet with a towel to be used for drying. To this I say, "Oh hell no."
Then you are 'sposed to rinse and wipe down the bidet and then wash your hands. If this sounds like something that will float your boat, the starting cost for a bidet is about $120. Have fun.
* * *
Am I a better man now than before I watched the video. I can't really say. Will I do things differently after watching the video.
I am an American, and I will continue doing what I do, when I do it, the way I've always done it regardless the cost to me or the world.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org