When traveling to Italy to work on our abandoned farmhouse in the 80’s, my neighbor Nina, upon my arrival and our customary cup of coffee together, would always ask, “ so you’re here again to add another bathroom. What do you Americans do in there?” My objective in the first 12 journeys across the sea was accomplished having added 12 more bathrooms to the house that had one. I believe today for most Americans it has become one’s private sanctuary. Managing the B&B I have found guests linger there indefinitely, missing buses and at times even meals. It has become a reading room, a spa, a place to contemplate, be alone, and often the only place to enjoy solitude. When out to a private home for dinner one night with a dear friend, I became concerned when she delayed her return when using the facilities between the serving of antipasti and the main course. As the host family waited patiently for her to join us at the table, holding off the serving of the main course for 20 minutes, I wondered, did she fall in? Finally, the dinner no longer warm, Sally appeared at the table smiling, unaware of her tardiness whispered to me, “ I feel so good”. My answer, “ sure must have been a good one”. “ Oh no”, she answered, I fell asleep on the pot”. Now this is something I don’t think many Europeans would do. In the 90’s one bathroom item always fascinated our guests. “Amazing how Italians cater to babies. They put those little tubs for infants in each room”, I overheard a B&B guest comment to another.” Oh no,” said the other, “ I believe it is to soak and wash your underwear ”. As they debated the issue, a third guest overhearing them as he came down for coffee, laughing at their comments, informed them that they were both wrong. “ It is a foot bath”. When I explaining it was to sit on, and to be used as a cleaning devise, confused looking faces would then ask, “How do you sit on it, facing front or back? “Well it would depend what you want to clean,” was my answer to guest questioning the use of the commode that often is seen by the side or directly in front of the toilet in most |Italian bathrooms, the bidet. Europeans like my husband are introduced to the bidet after being potty trained as a child, making life without a bidet incomprehensible. Americans with an Anglo-Saxon heritage might have been introduced to the bidet for the first time by viewing Paul Hogan in the movie, Crocodile Dundee, when he squirted the ceiling accidentally, unaware of the bidet’s function as a cleaning devise for one’s private areas . Apparently, none of the questioning guests had seen the movie or might have missed the significance of the popular Italian bidet. I must admit, although not raised using one in America since marriage, I have learned to appreciate this wonderful cleaning devise. I have been told that often foreign guests not familiar with this commode in the past would mistake it for a toilet creating a messy situation for chamber maids. Thank God they have been removed from most private room. I for sure would never have been in the lodging business for 30 years, if not.