Home stories Italian Bathrooms, The Bidet And How To Have A Sparkling DownTown Area

Italian Bathrooms, The Bidet And How To Have A Sparkling DownTown Area

written by M.E. Evans September 3, 2014

Hey guys! So, this is a C.O.S.I Post about bathrooms in Italy and bathroom related things. Don’t forget to check out what everyone else has to say about the bidet, bathrooms, and bathroom humor on my COSI page. Want to join us? Leave a comment on the page saying so and we’ll get in touch!

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk about The Bidet.

When I have visitors from outside of Italy I know it’s only a matter of time before one of them shyly asks about that thing in the bathroom that looks like a sink on the floor. “It’s a bidet,” I tell them. They’ll move closer, as if they’re about to disclose a secret, “Weird! So, uh, how does it work?”

A toilet (left) and a bidet (right).

A toilet (left) and a bidet (right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start with the first part of the reaction that the bidet is “weird.” I’m not sure that there is anything less than AWESOME about having a sparkling clean vagina twenty-four-seven. SPARKLING, CLEAN and it feels, GREAT. Don’t even get me started on how awesome the bidet is for men, especially the hairy ones whose asses could very well belong on a baboon. I’m pretty sure that most men, without a bidet, leave what could only be described as a murder scene of doody in their whitey-tities (why can you not operate toilet paper!?). The bidet is your friend, guys. It’s your friend. Don’t have a bidet? Get one! Seriously, best investment ever. When I’m in the US I feel totally icky without one of these things around. I’ll never understand why they haven’t become more popular in the US. I promise, once you’ve used it, you cannot go back. 

How To Use The Bidet:
1. Use the toilet (preferably like a normal person, not like a monkey-see below).
2. Use toilet paper.
3. Turn on the bidet and make sure the water isn’t scolding hot. I’ve burned my hoo-haw before and it totally sucked.
4. Sit on the bidet either straddling it, or facing away from it. Wash your bits with the fancy “hoo-haw,” soap just like you would in a bath.
5. Pat dry with a towel.
6. Model your clean and fancy parts for all to see, and/or, just put your pants back on (perv).
7. Attention women: If you hop on the bidet facing the water, you might get a “happy surprise.” So, if screaming, “Yes, YES, YES,” in a guest’s bathroom during a dinner party isn’t what you’d had in mind, I’d be careful where the water hits you. (Note: This isn’t from personal experience but I have friends who use the bidet as a cleaning machine AND as a boyfriend substitute. And yes, we’ve talked about it because Vodka).
8. For more on how to use a bidet check out this: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Bidet


Italian Public Bathrooms.
When you go into any home in Italy you’ll almost always be shocked by the sheer sparkling cleanness that is their bathroom. Even in the grosses bachelor pads, somehow, their bathrooms are always clean. I’ve never seen cleaner bathrooms in my life. So, it’s really disheartening to learn that for some reason, these clean people, cannot use a public restroom.

The public restrooms in Italy are among the grossest I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve traveled, a lot, and I don’t understand why. In the women’s restroom it’s entirely common to step over a river of urine on the way to the toilet. The sink is almost always clogged, water over-flowing, and the toilet is always, without a doubt, beading with piss as if, on a hot day, the toilet has perspirated pee. I’ve often tried to understand the logistics of how in the hell women can piss all over a toilet. Are they standing on it? Do they hang their bum over the toilet and belly dance? Are they just unsure how public toilets work? Sometimes, even in the nicest restaurants, I’ll enter a bathroom after a classy woman leaves it, to find a situation that can only be compared to the monkey exhibit of the zoo. Monkeys often pee on each other menacingly and on occasion they poop in their hands and throw it at each other. So, that, but in an ornately decorated public bathroom in a Michelin star restaurant. WTF!? Can someone please explain this to me?

Italian Bathrooms And Bathroom Signs.
There are almost always strange signs in Italian bathrooms. I’ve taken it upon myself to document them because what the hell?

A Bathroom Sign In A Club In Florence

A Bathroom Sign In A Club In Florence

The Dwarf-size bathroom ceiling (I hit my head twice trying to sit down to pee).

Complimentary Vagina Soap

Complimentary Vagina Soap

In case you are too drunk to read the note, they've provided a nice illustration to teach you how to discard paper, missiles, and some sort of brick.

In case you are too drunk to read the note, they’ve provided a nice illustration to teach you how to discard paper, missiles, and some sort of brick.

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Vicki caira September 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

You kill me. I just started reading your blog and I die laughing everytine. Please add me to all your postings!!!

engredchai September 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

Hilarious AND informative – awesome as usual! Looking forward to testing your instructions when I am in Italy in a couple of weeks!

simpletravelourway September 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

Great post – and I so agree about Italian public bathrooms!

cbriantx September 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

You had me at Bidet! I knew as soon as I saw the title that the part of me who still giggles at inappropriate times would love this post. Great job!

chirose September 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

omg.! That first picture of people peeing on the sign at the club.!! I’m always amazed at the graphic signs in the rest of the world. In Mexico, for the curb your dog signs, they show the actual poop falling from the dog’s bum.!

ytaba36 September 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I’m with you all the way, bidets are wonderful. It’s so great to feel all sparkle-arley clean and confident as you face yet another day. Or night.

M.E. Evans September 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Right? I’m so sparkly that my husband has to wear sunglasses when I take off my pants. GO GO SPARKLE-GINA GO!

MLombardo September 9, 2014 at 5:45 am

You’re hilarious! Love…

Joel Latner September 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Love your blog.

The reason Italian public rooms are so shitty is that they are overseen by men, who won’t have to clean them (they’ll have some woman do it) or pocket the public’s money and keep it filthy.

M.E. Evans September 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

You know, that’s a good point. Never thought of that! Thank you Joel!

Cindy September 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

This post was hilarious to read..and so true:). Their in home bathrooms are sparkling as if noone used them-even if there are 4 adults living there and this is the only bathroom in the home.
But the public restrooms are not so nice, and in my experience, not always separate for the sexes.

cultureacolazione September 4, 2014 at 1:19 am

I had a friend who used to say “il bidet, soprattutto se freddo, è sempre risolutore!” (no matter what problem you have, after washing yourself with a bidet, especially with cold water, you can solve it!). As to public WC, I think they just don’t clean very often… or maybe Italian women can’t pee while they’re standing!

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olioviadellafonte September 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm

I agree about public toilets ! But the bidet : who doesn’t know one ????? OMG ! can’t believe in year 2014 people still don’t know what is it and how to use it !!! Do you know how old is the bidet culture in Italy ??? I like your blog !

Bianca September 7, 2014 at 7:10 am

Omg so good. You have a new follower.

ilastinwanderlust September 8, 2014 at 6:56 am

Best post on the Italian culture ever.
Kisses from Portugal
An Italian girl abroad

Bobby Wade September 12, 2014 at 2:48 am

I put my magazines in them…all my Italian friends insist on calling me in my own bathroom to ask…what the fuck?

M.E. Evans September 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

AHahaha. Well, that’s another use! My dog thinks it’s a drinking fountain. He barks at it until we turn the water on for him. Sigh…

Alec Singletary ♡ (@akSingletary7) September 24, 2014 at 8:09 am

haha I love taking pictures of the signs in the bathrooms to send to my friends back home! Seriously love the post and what could be better than a sparkly clean downtown?

Pippa Pirrip September 26, 2014 at 4:18 am

When I travel abroad, I always pack a ridiculous number of those pocket-sized packs of tissue because, unless it’s a fancy German pay toilet (which are the cleanest things EVER), European bathrooms seem to take offense to toilet paper.

I also used a restaurant bathroom in Rome that had a window in it open to the outside. Not really a big deal except it was a half-basement bathroom, so people walking by would accidentally see you peeing if they glanced downward. Luckily, I don’t have “Pee Fright” and can do it any time, any place, with or without an audience. But I couldn’t help but wonder how many people purposely took that path just to get a little voyeuristic thrill?

Brianna October 16, 2014 at 3:51 am

I adore your blog and am thrilled that I found it. I think it bears mentioning, but the biggest surprise to foreigners coming to Italy is the “bagno turco”, the dreaded “squat toilet”, or as I like to call it, the “Mediterranean Monster.” Nothing says comfort and sanitation quite like balancing your lady bits over a pee-stained porcelain hole in the ground.

M.E. Evans October 16, 2014 at 11:51 am

Just spit my coffee out reading this. Let’s be friends.

And you’re right, nothing could be more traumatic than all of the above. Luckily, I’ve only had to use them twice. Once at Rainbow Magic Land” in Rome, and once in a Starbucks in Paris.

Brianna October 18, 2014 at 2:26 am

Yes! A new partner in crime. I still see these horrific monstrosities every now and then. Thankfully, when I’m here (Italy), I know where to go to in order to avoid them. Although, when I do see them, I cannot shake my childhood fear that I will fall into the hole and be flushed into the sea.

M.E. Evans October 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

I’m pretty sure the clown from IT lives there.

ashleyshappiness October 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I have been in Italy for about a month and a half and still have not warmed up to the bidet. But now that I’m getting more info from a credible source and not just my (Italian) fiance I think I could be more adventurous. Love your blog!

Wynne December 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Also: Where’s the damned seat! I’ve been lucky enough, for the most part, to encounter fairly decent restrooms in Italy. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the seat is always missing! Sitting on the rim is just unpleasant and throws off one’s balance, unless your thighs are two inches thick.

M.E. Evans December 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I actually have no idea. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.

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Cash March 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

I always wondered what those “sinks” were for! I’m moving to Italy next month, so I’ll see for myself!

marco basileo April 1, 2015 at 11:03 am

dear m.e., regarding your last comment, you have to refer at the first photo (florence bathroom sign). it means that downstairs you will find a single bath that here in italy we call “alla turca” (turkish style). don’t know why, as it was invented in ancient rome and you can find similar toilets in japan too. It means: only the hole, surrounded by a ceramic plate and footboards, but not the seat. but as strange as may seems (you can find evidence on this subject on the internet). this kind of toilet is better for your health. best regards! ciao!

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tiakatty July 12, 2016 at 9:07 am

Hello! I also think the “turca” is better than the regular toilet; there is one in my parents’ house as well (well, they have 4 bathrooms) and it was my father’s favorite until a few years ago. Of course it’s less comfy than a proper toilet, but I prefer it when I go to a public bathroom because, as I assume most Italians do, I do not sit on the toilet, and standing on it I pee a bit everywhere. I do clean afterwards, but not everyone does.

M.E. Evans July 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

Ok! You have to explain the “not sitting on the toilet seat,” thing. Since it’s scientifically impossible to catch a disease from a toilet seat, I don’t understand why people don’t sit on them. And you’re right, people per EVERYWHERE and never clean it up. I need to understand! Help! Lol

bonniegm June 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

You can buy a “bidet attachment” on Amazon to “retrofit” your American toilet. My husband got it for me for Christmas. He finally clued in to all my “whining” whenever we returned from Italy. Love me a bidet!!!! Re: sitting on a public toilet seat, it’s the idea of sitting in someone’s pee that makes women “hover” since sooooo many don’t wipe the splatter! What’s with that? and when traveling I also pack, in addition to purse kleenex, Clorox travel wipes. A little bleach and I am feeling better about public bathroom use. 😉

Sharon Reams August 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the fantastic post about Italian restrooms. I just love bidets as they can clean my back cent percent what a toilet paper can’t. It’s reduces the uses of toilet paper and it’s really needed for our existence. I don’t know why few Americans still out of bidet? They must aware of toilet paper using now and then.


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