Lately - certain in the years between me being a sniggering adolescent and the present (a sniggering 49 year-old), the talk and imagery of genitals has become more mainstream (ever seen the UK television series 'Embarrassing Bodies?) . Don't misunderstand me; I have not taken to waving my manhood at passers by, but I have perceived a lightening in the previous horror at the mention of the words 'penis' or 'vulva'. On that note, however, I do wish that more people would use the word 'vulva' instead of erroneously using 'vagina', which let's face it, is like calling one's anus one's rectum. Wow, I'm on a genital roll; I may just as well say 'scrotum' and 'labia', and I would hate to compound any sexual myths by forgetting the clitoris.
Odd how these words carry such heavy weight - and it makes no sense that they should. Fortunately the mention of sex and genitals (it's not easy to talk about sex without at least thinking about genitals, surely?) is losing it's stigma - at least among people with functioning reason glands (not genital in nature, they are situated just behind the eyes). However...
Cleaning them. Genitals, that is. In my culture - British - the concept of cleaning one's genitalia is very much unspoken unless among members of the medical profession. We never talked about it in my family and it's accurate to say that I have never, ever discussed the subject with any of my closest friends.This may be because the subject is not easily inserted into regular conversations witrhout the strong likelihood of moment-ruining spit takes or abrupt fainting. Again, this is really a little sodd, because we all do it - we all lean ourselves 'down there'. At least I have reason to believe that all my family and friends do. I have had occasion to meet a great many people who are personal hygiene-challenged, and in my experience it tends to be an affliction that makes itself known through the nostrils fairly quickly.
I'll be blunt then: I clean my genitals. Frequently...in fact I may be in danger of becoming a little obssessive about it, but in that case I claim the moral high ground. As someone who has...ummm...'known' one or two people with less than perfect genital hygiene (NOT, I hasten to add, currently!), I have come to consider it only polite and considerate to make myself clean primarily for my sexual partner and on a more holistic level, to avoid unpleasant odours ever escaping and assailing anyone in my immediate vicinity. I know what you're thinking obssessive clean freak. Honestly I'm not, but I really, really prefer not to smell nasty.
So, against that background, I've been thinking about bidets. In Europe - and I believe in particular in France and Italy - bidets are the norm, they are considered necessary, which is a lot more important than merely 'desirable'. In Britain - and as far as I can tell, in English-speaking Canada - bidets are viewed with suspicion and ironically as horrible, dirty things. Suspicion could just about be forgiven by virtue of cultural ignorance, but the nasty and dirty image is ridiculous - after all we have no problems with shitting into a bowl of water and sending that stuff down pipes, why on earth would a CLEANING device be thought of as yukky?
As we are all aware (now don't lie! you know where I'm going with this!), however, this is not always the case, and on such occasions, the material I want to get rid of shows a tenacious ability to hang on for grim death, despite my repeated attempts at cleaning the offending area. If I find myself thus afflicted - for example in a public loo (which seems to always happen, by the way) - I end up using vast amounts of toilet paper in an increasingly feverish battle against the demon poo. In the confines of my own bathrooms, in such need I will turn to moistened loo paper or - my personal preference - judicial use of the showering facilities. Only by taking such measures do I feel remotely confident that I am indeed free of butt nuggets, Klingons, poop raisins and the like. Cleanliness matters to me.
Against that background, our lack of the eminently sensible bidet bothers me, but the unwillingness of my culture to adopt such a concept puzzles me. Why would we be shy of cleaning our nether regions using - of all things - clean water? Why exactly do we find using absorbent paper - which of course represents a colossal number of dead trees - to smear poo around our bottoms? How can that be cleaner or less icky than basically bathing our bums 'n bits properly? Culture is a strange thing, and this prejudice against a household appliance which is more ecologically sound and much more effective at performing the required function, has me scratching my head - but of course only after I've washed my hands.
I want a bidet but such is the cultural bias against one, I fear that I'm going to have to endure some strange looks/comments in order to facilitate this. This is, frankly, madness. I wish to assert my right to a clean bum and bits, and I want A BIDET!