Italian Bidets and Detergente Intimo For All Ages

3 Aug

Wow folks, it’s a double header today! You see, when my kids leave town with their dad and grandma for their beach vacation and I am left with dirty laundry and a house all to myself, I just sit at my computer and write to my heart’s content. My jeans might have holes in them because I hate shopping, but I’ll be damned if I’m never short on words.

So here is something I just HAVE to get off my chest. I saw an ad online yesterday several times (Youtube) and every time I was like, “No, seriously. Really?”

First things first. If you’re Italian, you can skip this part. If you live in Italy, you can skip this part. But if you don’t know what INTIMATE SOAP is, then, yes, this primer is for you.

First time I came to Italy 12 years ago, I was about as “deer in the headlights” as they come. MAN WAS I NAIVE.

So I had no frickin’ clue what the bidet was for. And Lord knows I am not getting into the particulars of that here. I might have some free time on my hands, but not that much free time. Other people have covered that ground already, anyways:

How to Use a Bidet: 7 Steps (with illustrations) Why is the woman on the bidet backwards here?? And I’ve never seen a bidet with “jets” in Italy. It either fills up the basin like a sink, and you splash, or it comes directly out of the faucet and you can adjust the direction.

How to Use a Bidet “Step 1: Use the Toilet. This step is self-explanatory.” Wow. Thanks. I might have forgotten that one.

An Idiot’s Incomplete Guide to the Bidet “Editor’s note: Warning: Inevitable, perhaps obligatory, bathroom humor ahead.”

A video of an Italian demonstrating use  (fully clothed, mind you!) presumably to Spanish tourists.

OH DEAR GOD. If you speak Italian, this is like a train wreck. I have no idea why this dude was verbally explaining the process of taking a shit and what to do subsequently (probably to foreign students studying Italian in Italy), but it is absolutely comic gold and bizarrely compelling. This also makes me happy to be divorced without any men using bathrooms in my house. But seriously, I would so go on a first date with this guy it’s not even funny. If you can give a talk like this, yes, you are the man for me. Love you already.

But, no, no. I don’t need to write a “How To” guide, you see. My precious free time will be spent instead talking about a much more technical and puzzling issue to me: the SPECIAL SOAP you use for the bidet. Yes, that’s right. The intimate soap.

Frankly I think it’s all a bit of a marketing ploy, but I’m not a licensed gynecologist so I have no idea if the actual pH of my soap makes a difference. The dude in the train wreck video simply said the all-purpose Italian phrase they use for any maxim they espouse without exactly knowing why they do it: “Perchè fa male.” (“Because [using the hand soap for the bidet] is bad for you.”)  I’m sure laboratory tests have shown it to be so. Suffice it to say, that in addition to the bidet itself, there is a special soap that you buy for the bidet that is called detergente intimo, so now not only do you have to have hand soap for the bathroom and dish soap for the kitchen but don’t forget the bidet soap too.

Now. That would all be fine and good, if it were to end there. But you see, folks, what I discovered yesterday is that now the marketing geniuses have come up with a special bidet soap for GIRLS AGES 3 to 12.

That’s right. I, proud mother of twin almost-four-year-olds, am apparently the perfect target for Tantum Rosa Detergente Intimo 3-12 anni.

Besides the pink and blue fishies, I really have no clue why I should buy special soap just for my girls. Especially knowing that they’ll just dump it all into the bidet and act like it’s a bathtub for their Barbie dolls. Although I will admit that I’ve taught Paola the joys of using the bidet for the time-honored summer ritual “foot bath” and so sometimes she says “Mamma, mamma, foot bath!” and that’s good times. But let me just translate what the box says:

Rich in natural hydrating, moisturizing and soothing substances – Helps to prevent redness and small intimate discomforts

You know what though? I admit it. I will admit that I buy special bidet soap. I do. Just like I cover my neck if I’m not wearing a scarf when a cold gust blows by, or just like I don’t drink cappuccino after dinner, or just like I don’t cross arms when I toast glasses in a group. I’ve “gone native” a bit.

But I have no real idea if there’s even a point to it. It’s sort of like the bottled water thing here in Italy. Rome has like, the best tap water ever, (ok, high calcium content, I know), and yet there are about a bazillion different brands of bottled water at the stores, all with their own marketing pitch.

That’s all. I just wanted to make you aware of this phenomenon. You can go about your other business now. (Why don’t boys get their own bidet soap? Wait. Don’t answer that.)

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6 Responses to “Italian Bidets and Detergente Intimo For All Ages”

  1. Jennifer Avventura August 3, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    You took the words right out of my mouth! I was even thinking about writing a post about this bidet soap for kids, but you beat me to it. The first time I saw the commercial on TV I was floored, then totally disturbed! The cute little blonde girl in the commercial needs to be selling ice cream or kiddy toys – not this soap! This commercial and this product piss me off enough to never buy it!

  2. triciatierney August 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Of course you buy the soap – ‘while in Rome…’ – sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
    While Italians do not do the ‘bidet’ as well as other places, at least they have them. Really – don’t you miss it when you’re in the States?
    Now the Japanese have this business down (surprise!). I’ve actually thought of marketing these babies — the toilet seat that does it all. I bought one and now, my at-first-skeptical family only wants to crap at home. I mean how gross are we American – just paper?
    Okay – enough on this.
    But I’m telling you — there’s a market here…it just takes a little education. Probably we should take a page or two from the Italian marketers. What do you think?

  3. Nora August 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Proof again I am not native even if I am supposed to be. Better speed up my papers to get rid of my italian passport!
    I never bought special bidet soap. I confess.
    And the whole thing is just a big marketing plot, really, and they found out this new wonderful market called “young people”, especially girls, and they are going to fill it with crap.
    Luckily, I live in a country with no bidet, no bidet soap and I have a boy. I am safe, so far…

  4. littleitaliandreams March 2, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    I did have a giggle at your post! I’ve spent lots of time in Italy (I’m Australian) and truly ~ I really miss having a bidet. Never invested in ‘special’ soap though. I’ll look forwards to checking it out next time!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Meet Rick Zullo of Rick’s Rome | Un'americana a Roma - May 30, 2014

    […] the elusive bidet. I had to ask my female flatmates how to use it when I first came here. I have the requisite “bidet post” too. It was inspired by the fact that I saw in the pharmacy that they were selling special bidet […]

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