Today I want to reveal you, my dear innocent and unaware reader, what truly lies in the presence of that small and apparently inoffensive sink in Italian bathrooms: THE BIDET.
Naive people believe it is just a plumbing fixture Italians use to wash their genitalia, but this is just the poorest of possible descriptions: the bidet, as it is perceived by Italian people, is the emblem of our race superiority.
It links to our conviction nobody in the world is as neat as Italians, that our culture of hygiene is insuperable and unattainable, a radical belief which leads us to have a real panic attack at the moment we realize we are not simply going abroad, but that we won’t be able to use the bidet during the whole length of the vacation. I’m not jerking around when I say papers and magazines discuss it, or that ‘Is there the bidet in *country’s name*?’ used to be one of the evergreen questions in the Italian community of Ask.
To us, it’s pretty much like measuring the degree of civilisation depending on the use of the holy object. It obviously doesn’t apply exclusively to foreign people, but our fellow citizens are the first to be judged: those who don’t use it -and believe me, we have something similar to a sensor for it- are accused of the worst of crimes, forced onto the edges of society. Children get a detention if they don’t use the bidet before going to bed, Italians don’t go out if they haven’t washed up the private area: there is a high chance someone could find out your dirty secret and stigmatize you. The struggle is real.
If only George Orwell knew about the Italian situation, his dystopian future would have been much more impressive.
In closing, I want to share with you a conversation I had with an acquaintance of mine a long time ago, which perfectly summarizes our approach to life and people. At my complaint about a nasty experience I had in France, he simply replied: “what do you expect? They don’t even know what ‘bidet’ means”.