Toilet paper shortages prompted this family to embrace the squeaky clean feeling of an inexpensive bidet. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Toilet paper shortages prompted this family to embrace the squeaky clean feeling of an inexpensive bidet. (Jennifer Bardsley)

With a bidet, TP shortages no longer scare the crap out of us

This family ordered their new toilet just in time. Now bidets are either sold out or on back-order.

If only I could imitate a French accent. When I tell my husband, “The grocery store was out of toilet paper” in my usual voice, it sounds pedestrian. But if I could say: “Sacre bleu! The toilet paper was gone!” in a dramatic French accent, that would really catch his attention.

When I first understood that COVID-19 was serious, I went to Fred Meyer and bought a typical amount of groceries plus one package of toilet paper. Two weeks ago, I shopped normally again, except I bought a four-pack of disinfectant wipes and a second package of toilet paper. I’m certainly not a hoarder, but I did think ahead. That’s why 1½ weeks ago, I also ordered a bidet, direct from a company called Tushy.

At the time I ordered our Tushy Classic for $79, I had my pick of any Tushy model I wanted. Now they are either sold out or on back-order, and my family’s toilet paper supply is running low. The bidet arrived just in time, or else we’d be harvesting ferns from the back yard.

A big question, though, was where to put it: the downstairs bathroom, the kids’ bathroom or the master bathroom? After a colorful discussion, our family voted for the kids’ bathroom. We didn’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry who used our downstairs bathroom to experiment with it, and the kids explained that their bathroom was the designated location for important business already (which was news to my husband and me but explained why that bathroom ran out of toilet paper so fast).

During this conversation, it also became apparent that my 10-year-old daughter had been relentlessly bombarded with bidet advertisements the past week via YouTube. “If you had dog poop on your arm and you wiped it away with toilet paper would you think your arm was clean?” she asked. “No, of course not. That’s why bidets are so much better.”

“Oui oui,” I said, in my American accent.

“I just hope I can install it,” said my husband.

It turns out, he needn’t have worried. The Tushy Classic is a cold-water bidet, which is barbaric compared to the warm water Tushy Spa version, but easier to install because you don’t have to cut into the bathroom cabinetry to hook up to the hot water under the sink. My husband set up the Tushy in 15 minutes.

Three days and a bag of prunes later, this is what we’ve learned:

Do you still need toilet paper? Yes, because although the Tushy cleans you, it doesn’t dry you off. But since it does such a good job of washing, you cut your TP usage by 95%.

Does it make a mess? Sometimes. You have to fully cover the toilet basin with your derriere, or else water will splash up.

Does it hurt? Only if you crank the water pressure up too high and give yourself an accidental enema. I won’t say which Bardsley learned that lesson the hard way. But, oh mon Dieu, be careful with the dial.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at

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