Off-label-use in the pharmaceutical world refers to the practice of prescribing any drug for a purpose or to a patient other than for whom it was approved. The FDA can get a little hincky about this, but it goes on all the time. One of the best allergy drugs I ever took was an asthma medication.
My recent trip to Italy reminded me of one of the great divides between American and European culture, as evidenced by the presence of a bidet in my bathroom. On paper, the bidet makes great sense. In practice, I have no idea whatsoever about how to use one … properly. I’d love to learn, but I don’t anticipate getting a personal tutorial on the devices and the nuances of practiced use (I guess I’m supposed to squat?) aren’t likely to be gleaned from an owner’s manual.
So it is that when I travel in Europe, there’s always this extra porcelain device sitting there. I like to maximize my room use, so whenever possible, I press them into service.
My favorite off-label use of bidets is to drain excess water from cycling clothing I’ve just washed in the sink. Sometimes I use them to do the laundry. They have also been repositories for wet clothes when I’ve entered a hotel following a wet ride, and I’ve washed out water bottles in them when the sink is too tiny.
Then there was the time I ate my way into a case of food poisoning so severe that I was humbled to my knees. The bidet seemed an entirely more convenient place to put my face, especially as the sink was six stories above what I could reach.
My sister tells me a bidet is a perfect place to dump a bucket of ice and immerse a bottle of Rosé. She says chilled Rosé is the only way for a non-cyclist to survive a Provençal summer. She knows a bit more than I do about finding a good time.
So if this little discussion hasn’t sent you scrambling for nausea medication, tell us: What’s your favorite off-label use for the bidet?