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Can Startup Tushy Wash Away Americans’ Discomfort With Bidets?

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The company aims to clean up our collective attitude on the WC fixture

The bidet: a source of water, yes, but also a source of oft-inexplicable controversy in the U.S. Elsewhere—as in France (from whence the word "bidet" came) and Japan (where an urban restroom without a high-tech bidet is an increasing rarity)—bidets are fairly ubiquitous, and, if not necessarily beloved, are seen as a standard fixture. What’s a bidet, you ask? It’s a sink of sorts for your derriere, that helps wash folks’ nether regions after a visit to the loo by releasing a jet of water at the push of a button.

So why all this hand-wringing? It could boil down to Americans’ squeamishness about and sensitivity to talking about bodies, says Monica Perreira, CEO of Tushy, a new startup hoping to popularize bidets with U.S. consumers. But "there are real health benefits in using a bidet," explains Perreira, including helping folks avoid "UTIs, hemorrhoids," and other infections caused or exacerbated by incomplete hygiene habits.

Tushy’s raison d’être is straightforward: Bidets can "save your butt; save mother earth; and save the world," says the company’s website, which also asks: "Did you know that Americans use 57 sheets of TP on average every single day? And that it takes 37 gallons of water to make one TP roll?" This editor did not know, but Perreira obligingly explained, adding that a single use of the Tushy system is equal to about a pint of water. Cheers to that.

Right now, Tushy comes in two colorways, "Cool Tushy Classic," which is a white system with silver controls, and "Cool Tushy Noir," which is a black system with gold controls. It works by connecting to your toilet’s existing water supply, and sending that water to the Tushy nozzle, which sprays the way a bidet would if it were affixed directly to your home’s pipes. That means it’s ideal for renters and other who want the luxury of a bidet without embarking on a bathroom renovation. As Tushy puts it: "No hairy plumber needed, unless you’re into that."

Black and white not enough for you, design-savvy reader? Tushy is considering more colors. And each of its products costs less than $100.

The company also has broader goals, one of which is to increase access to hygienic loos for people the world over. Tushy has partnered with Indian non-profit Samagra to provide access to sanitary community toilets for one family for every Tushy sold. "We want the whole world to defecate with dignity," says Perreira.

See more over at the Tushy website.