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Why haven’t Americans used bidets—until now?

In the United States, people do things a little differently. Americans measure distances in miles and yards, while the rest of the world uses the metric system. The field game played internationally is known as football to most; in the U.S., it’s called soccer. Yet, while these idiosyncrasies are well-entrenched, Americans are beginning to join their fellow global citizens in a popular habit: using a bidet.

The bidet is a common bathroom fixture, particularly in areas of Europe and Asia, that people use to wash themselves after using the toilet. People rave about how it leaves them feeling cleaner and fresher than standard toilet paper. Given all the bidet fanfare, why haven’t Americans used them—until now?

Nation-founding habits die hard

In the 1700s, the bidet was introduced to the aristocracy in France. At that time, the English viewed French culture as “tainted with hedonism and sensuality.” Many of America’s first settlers were Puritans from England who brought this opinion with them—along with their ethic for hard work and submission to God. The refreshment of a deeper clean had no place amid the toil of starting a new nation.

Americans make associations in WWII

Centuries later, as American soldiers fought World War II on European lands, they came into contact with bidets for the first time in their lives. Only it was a salacious association, as bidets were common in French brothels. Thus Americans thought of bidets in connection with prostitution. It’s fair to say that soldiers didn’t write home about the bidet—nor about how they learned of them. In other words, what happened in French bathrooms, stayed in French bathrooms.

American modesty

Blame it on the Puritans and other strict influences: to this day, Americans are modest towards intimate topics, such as bathroom habits. In fact, the first toilet did not appear on film until Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1960. Until recently, the idea of discussing anything toilet-related, yet alone a unique bathroom fixture to clean one’s derriere, was simply too audacious for many Americans.

But American times are a-changin’. Launching in the spring of 2019, people will be able to replace the standard seat on their toilet with the Coway Bidetmega 200. In doing so, they will experience a new level of clean, plus the ability to customize the water temperature and warm the seat to their liking. Americans may never measure water flow in liters, but they will appreciate the Coway Bidetmega’s low-gallon water usage, too.