The unforeseen perils of backpacking in Europe…
Me: Hey, Snook, can you grab me one of those towels in the bathroom? I wanna take it along on our day trip in case we get sweaty.
Him: Which ones?
Me: You know… The little hand towels hanging above the bidet.
Him: You mean the ass towels??
Me: Ass towels? No, I mean the little hand towel right above the– Oh my god! They are ass towels! I took one yesterday and wiped my face with it! You didn’t use any of them on your ass, did you?
Him: No! Did you?
Me: No! (pause) Okay then.


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  1. ok, as an american, the concept and purpose of the bidet is completely lost on me. could someone explain?

  2. Ok! That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in days! I don’t care if I don’t have a bidet, every hand towel is now an ass towel. No more dish towels, either.

  3. it’s like a scene from “american pie: european vacation” – that’s the funniest thing i’ve read in days. thanks, kris!

  4. Me too, Brigita. I realized after I posted that that it probably sounds like we’re staying in really swanky places. We’re not. It’s just that pretty much every bathroom over here has one. (Except for public toilets, which – more often than not – are PIT TOILETS, i.e. just a friggin’ hole in the ground. I kid you not. Luckily I’ve avoided using any of those so far. But I digress.)

    Anyway, so from looking at the thing, it basically looks like a really shallow toilet (minus the seat) with a spigot right at the back pointing out at ninety degrees. From that I gather that it’s really only for washing your bum, as there’s no way for the water to get to your, uh, front bits (short of turning around and straddling the thing, which I somehow don’t think is right). So I guess you finish on the toilet, hop over one seat, and turn on the water which then washes down over your backside. Then you stand and wipe off with the aforementioned ass towel.

    Like I said, I haven’t used one, so that’s just a guess. 🙂

  5. oh i remember the pit toilets from when my family went to france many, many moons ago. they’ve also got them up in canada if i remember correctly…dad takes us to the nicest places. 😉

    i think somepne explained bidets to me once upon a time as necessary since euros showered with less frequency, so they used them to bathe their bits. i like your explaination better, but what’s wrong with just using TP to wipe?

  6. I had always assumed that bidets were for more adult cleaning needs. After this conversation began, however, I did a little goolge search, and found this site (, which has FAQ’s and answers the question why a bidet. The answer was something to the effect of the less abrasive effectiveness of water. This also recommends the use of TP after the use of the bidet, rather than towels (ick).

    I remember the pit toilets from China. I now travel with TP whenever abroad.

  7. pit toilets are the norm in asia. we even have them at work (2 pits, 2 regular toilets per bathroom). they’re not so bad really. at least you don’t have to come into contact with any surfaces when you squat.

  8. Ah, see, but I don’t quite get the logistics of a pit toilet. To put it bluntly, how do you keep from peeing on your clothes? As I told the Snook the other day, I don’t think I’ve EVER gone to the bathroom somewhere besides a proper sit-down toilet (aside from diapers, of course). So I don’t really get how you do it. Actually, I have very little faith in my own ability to, uh, aim. Maybe it’s just an innate animal ability, instinctual, and it’s not something to worry about.

  9. Our housing and interior design class was wondering about the topic of bidets. Apparently they have voice activated, massaging and travel bidets! Some have extra nozzels to clean female… uh… “front bits”.

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