Lex Friedman blogs here.

Lex is the EVP of Sales and Development for Midroll, the world's best podcast advertising network.

He was previously Macworld's senior writer, and continues to contribute to the publication. He is the cohost of the Not Playing podcast, a cohost of the Turning This Car Around podcast, a cohost of the The Rebound podcast, and the sole host of the Your Daily Lex podcast.

Lex's first book, The Snuggie Sutra, is exactly what it sounds like. His most recent book is a Dr. Seuss parody for adults; it's called The Kid in the Crib.

You should follow him on both Twitter and App.net.

Lex would be delighted to speak at your awesome event.

You should buy a bidet

Like squares and rectangles, all tech writers are writers, but not all writers are tech writers. The point is, your favorite tech writers don’t write only about tech; they can also write about other subjects about which they feel passionate. That’s why Marco Arment writes about coffee and LED lighting, John Gruber writes about Stanley Kubrick, and John Moltz writes about yachts. Today, I’m not writing about coffee, LEDs, Kubrick, or yachts. I’m writing about bidets.

I’ll warn you: One can’t talk about bidets—and vigorously endorse them—without making at least passing references to the act of defecation. I promise to do so with the utmost maturity and restraint, until that gets boring.

Why use a bidet?

Let’s start with a thought experiment. Suppose you’re calmly walking down the street, minding your own business as you do, when a crazed attacker smears his feces all over your forehead. For the purposes of this thought experiment, whether it’s the attacker’s own feces is irrelevant to our purposes. The point is, someone smeared shit on you.

Suddenly, a hero appears. He’s short on time and supplies. He’s carrying just two things: a roll of paper towels, and a powerful hose with an endless supply of water. The catch? You can only pick one of those two items to clean yourself up.

Which do you pick?

If you have any sanity, the choice is clear: You take the hose, thank the hero, and wash up.

And yet, when it comes time to tidy up after Your Daily Instapaper Session atop the throne, you probably reach for the Charmin. Soft cottony paper has its place, folks, but that place is as the sturdy material upon which the letters you create in Apple’s Cards app for iPhone are printed. Cotton paper has no place cleaning up poop—at least, not when there are alternatives.

Two basic kinds of bidets

If you’ve travelled (or lived) in Europe, stayed in a frou-frou hotel, or perhaps stayed in a fancy cruise suite, you may have encountered the basin form of bidet. That’s the one that looks a bit like a second toilet seat. Often, these bidets employ faucets; you’re meant to fill them and then rinse off. That’s disgusting. Don’t get one of those.

The better kind of bidet—and frankly, “better” isn’t nearly strong enough a word, since what we really mean here is the only acceptable kind of bidet, and one that is a wonderful invention of which more people should avail themselves—is the nozzle bidet.

With a nozzle bidet, you’ve got the hero’s hose. It’s aimed pretty perfectly by design. You rinse until clean, and then optionally use a smidgen of paper to pat dry.

I’m not suggesting you gut your bathroom and add new plumbing hookups. It turns out that adding a nozzle bidet to an existing toilet is painless, affordable, and life-changing.

The nozzle bidet to get

The bidet

There’s a company out there called Luxe Bidet. If the owners aren’t billionaires yet, they should be. Luxe makes a comically large variety of bidet attachments for your toilet.

These attachments hook into your existing water line that feeds the toilet. Fear not, you won’t be cleaning yourself with any water that you wouldn’t want touching you; the piping you add connects to your fresh tap water source.

Although Luxe Bidet offers pricier options, including multi-nozzle options that allow better aiming for feminine hygiene. I haven’t tested those models.

Rather, the one I use and love is the MB110 Fresh Water Spray Non-Electric Mechanical Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment.

Luxe is good at bidets, and horrible at product names. Note that the link there is an affiliate link, through which I will no doubt become fabulously wealthy. But you’re going to stop cleaning up your poop with tissues, so I think it’s a fair trade.

But as careful study of the too-long product name will show, the MB110 uses fresh water, and it has no electric parts. You turn the dial to turn up the water pressure, and trust that you’ll want to turn that dial slowly until you a) learn how powerful that water can be, and b) learn how much pressure your most delicate parts can withstand.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “This sounds great! But what about hygiene? I know mine will improve in theory, but won’t this bidet attachment be, well, in the line of fire?”

Patience, bidet virgin. Luxe Bidet is way, way ahead of you.

The nozzle only actually descends from its mechanical housing when you turn the water stream on, and automatically retracts when the water gets shut off. Thus, the nozzle is forever protected.

Don’t be ashamed

I know it’s embarrassing that, like a fool, you’ve been doing the bathroom equivalent of wiping up spilled milk with newspaper. But you were only doing what you’d been taught.

Now, you know better. Go buy the MB110. At this writing, Amazon’s offering an incredible discount on the product (it’s just $36!). All you need is a screwdriver and about fifteen minutes, along with a two-piece standard toilet bowl.

In a few weeks, you’ll have some friends over, and they’ll use your bathroom, and then come out and ask, “Hey, is that a bidet in there or something?”

And you’ll look them in the eye and say: “No shit.”

Posted on August 15th, 2012