Saturday, April 30, 2011

A (Big) Man’s Home Is His Castle

Originally Posted on August 9, 2005

That sure was long commute this afternoon, wasn’t it? A long day at work coupled with a packed bus moving slowly up its route because of a couple of accidents and the usual rubberneckers out there on the roadway. As irritated as you are, you can only think of one place where you’d rather be: home.

After a short walk from the stop to your doorstep, you fumble with the keys. You are beat, tired, malfunctioning. You need food...wait; you need to revive yourself before you can any food in your body! You need a long soak in the tub. It’s a lovely idea, but not as simple as you would think.

Most of the homes I lived in had these bath/shower enclosures that are too small for a 6’1” tall, 300-pound chubby bear to comfortably soak in the tub. No problem with the shower, but the tub? My legs were climbing up the tile work. Plus, any slight move in a tub full of water will allow gallons of water to flow out of the tub onto the floor. Not fun, folks!

Certainly, as a renter, you may not have much say in what kind of bathroom fixtures you would like to have to make your life comfortable. But, as a homeowner, including condo owners, you can do whatever you please with your more intimate parts of your abode.

Back in the spring of 2002, I drove up towards Sheboygan, Wisconsin to do some research for a column in the Midwest Ursine. My destination was the Kohler Design Center near the company’s main plant to check out what a big man can do make his life easier in the bathroom. For those of you who may not be aware, Kohler is one of the top brands of bathroom fixtures in the USA. I was shown that you could get a tub that can accommodate a large body, which is a great idea. Most of these tubs include whirlpool systems, which enhance the relaxing bath experience. I do recall an acquaintance having a couple of these at his flat. They are truly enjoyable.

The representative from Kohler that I spoke with suggested a “bathroom suite” approach for the big man’s home. What that means is to have a stand-up shower stall big enough for one person and a whirlpool-type bath. This may an expensive option to look into, but there is a reason behind this concept. Kohler discourages any soapsuds or bath bubble products to be used in whirlpools, since they can affect the performance of the jets themselves. Even if water is backed up in the tub during a shower, soap can enter into the jets as well. Also, whirlpools have specific base angles that are not completely flat for comfortable and balanced showering as well.

Aside from the bath, another great solution comes from a very touchy subject. Not all toilets will accommodate all shapes of asses. We know this for a fact. Kohler introduced me to three different bowl shapes and two different seat heights that can accommodate different types of people. With your choices of toilets out there, you can live comfortably when doing your most intimate needs.

However, the Kohler representative showed me something I have never seen before: a bidet. I have heard of bidets, but never knew what one looked like. A bidet is a convenient appliance to clean the body without taking a bath or shower.  After a stool, a person straddles the bidet facing the faucet knobs and allows the underneath jets to cleanse those necessary areas of your body. Believe it or not, bidets are used for both men and women. As part of the "bathroom suite" concept, the bidet usually accompanies the toilet, if not matches it, and is placed next to the toilet.

Truly, a big man’s castle is more than just the bathroom. However, as important as a good night’s sleep is to man, good hygiene is also good for the soul. Being big men, having good hygiene starts from where it all begins, in the bathroom fit for a king.

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