Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Clean Your Butt Like Your Hands

If your hand is covered in sticky muck, you don’t clean it off with a dry paper towel. You wash it off under the sink with water and soap. So why doesn’t everyone clean their butts that way?

The Japanese do wash their bums with water.

In fact, it’s easier to find a Japanese home without a dishwasher or microwave than a toilet-bidet.

Even though water is far superior to toilet paper, it’s rare to find a bidet in a Western home.

Why?

Why does a life-enriching technology get accepted in some parts of the world and rejected in others?

Because people don’t just care about utility. More importantly, we care about how others see us.

And we don’t want to look silly.

Whether we embrace a new technology slowly, quickly, or not at all, depends on the spot where function and perception meet.

Before Apple Earpods, walking around with a wireless headset dangling from your ear got you ridiculed.

There are tons more useful inventions that, when used in public, get you laughed at.

Recumbent bikes.
Rubber fingertips.
Cell phone belt holsters.

But with enough time and a bit of luck, geeky gadgets can go mainstream. Fanny packs, for example, are now super hip.

Another item that fought its way through rejection is the walkman. Initially, people thought wearing headphones in public was embarrassing.

But privately listening to music was so valuable, music lovers accepted the social costs of the headphone.

So it’s all about the balance between function and humiliation.

The dumber you look, the greater the function must be. 

But while function is static, ‘cool’ is not. Get a geeky technology adopted by the influential and you may have a ‘dope’ gadget from the start.

Influencers or not, in the end, it’s the function what drives a technology to widespread adoption.

So eventually, the useful toilet-bidet will reach the tipping point and find its way into every home. And give us all a squeaky clean butt.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach