COLUMN - Don't Ask Brian "Coronavirus, clippers and bidets"

By Brian Mickelson – April 21, 2020

Plenty of people are arguing that the current pandemic we’re experiencing is changing everything permanently.

I’m not an expert (on anything, much less pandemics) so it’s hard for me to weigh in on what will change forever and what will go back to normal soon enough (although not being an “expert” hasn’t stopped almost anyone from voicing expert-level diagnosis, advice, predictions, and prophesies on social media...and I’m very grateful for all of the pretend information now at our fingertips). But I can report on our home and family.

In short: more meals together, less gasoline used, more exercise and board games, more contact with teachers, and more home projects. This has been great family time. There are some negatives as well, but you all are experiencing the same kinds of things, so I won’t waste time complaining. With the typical list out of the way, there are two other changes I’d like to report on. I shaved my head and I installed a bidet. Let’s take these one at a time.

Well, I didn’t “shave” my head, per se. I buzzed it. I’ve always wanted to do this, but my wife wouldn’t let me and I’m not an overly courageous person (she can be deceptively strong when backed into a corner).

I've always suspected that my head is shaped weird and that my hair was hiding that fact, so I couldn’t muster the courage to unveil the bumps and have people secretly practice phrenology on me behind my back.

A few weeks back I saw a tweet explaining why, in the current state of COVID-19 panic, people weren’t getting haircuts. I honestly still don’t know if we’re supposed to get haircuts from professionals or not (and I don’t care either) but I thought this was as good a time as any to buzz my own head. I found a YouTube video of a reasonably good looking fellow (I honestly don’t really know if he is good looking but he seemed to think so...judge for yourself).

This guy buzzed his head as almost a meditation and challenge for himself. In the video he said words like “authenticity” and phrases such as “getting myself back to a state of truth” and “buzzing my head has been a restart for me” and “I’m the hair guy with my own hair brand selling hair products” and “it freed me up in a spiritual way.”

I was all in. He has a lot of likes and seems “woke” and “dope,” so it made sense for me to trust him with my hair. I watched a few minutes of his video and walked directly into the washroom, grabbed my wife hair clippers, put the #2 clipper-guard on, and just did it.

I did not look like the guy on the video. I still don’t look like the guy on the video. I look - like my “so-called friend” put it - like my mother wanted to save money in the summer by cutting my hair herself with no training.

The positive side? I use less gel. I saved about three minutes in my morning routine. I’m not accused of being a model anymore.



As I said, I also installed a bidet in our master bathroom. The instructions were simple and I’m reasonably handy when it comes to home improvement. I’ve only seen a bidet in the wild once in my life. Years ago, my wife’s niece and her husband installed one in their new home. I used their restroom, but I didn’t even try it because I didn’t know how and didn’t want to have to get anyone to come in and towel me off if things went awry.

Once the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 hit, I started to consider a bidet. Reviews online were excellent. I asked on Facebook and the responses were 98% positive. In fact, they were glowing.

So, this morning (well, the morning I wrote this article) I grabbed the needed tools and squoze down between the ground, the toilet, and the cabinet to install my new bidet. The process didn’t go any more smoothly than shaving my head went. At one point there was water on the ceiling and all four walls - a lot of water.

I broke the inside parts of the toilet. I hurt my shin. I almost ruined my iPad. Nevertheless, I got it installed.

So far only two of us have used it: me and my 11 year old son. I let out a “barbaric yawp” (Whitman, “Song of Myself”, verse 52) and a manly giggle due to the cold water and shockingly high pressure. If you didn’t know how to use this thing you could easily damage your eye.

Once my son got a crack at it (pun intended) I heard a scream of surprise through the locked bathroom door, then a nervous laugh, then more of a sustained squeal followed by a panicked second scream. He made it through with minimal injury.

At this point he and I are both fans of the bidet and after installing it my home value shot up by $73,000. Pretty good investment. So, are things going to change permanently from COVID-19? I’m not the one to ask. But I surely have more sunburns on my head to look forward to in the near future and I can count on more guttural screaming than I’m used to coming from our bathroom.

As for other changes - we’ll have to wait and see.

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