Back when my older two were much, much younger and I was in a far less egalitarian marriage than I’m in now, the bath was my sanctuary. It was the only time and place in an otherwise hectic day when I could lock out the outside world, and sink deep into scented bubbles, my latest read in hand.
These days, I don’t have the need to run away and hide from the world like that. And I actually don’t read in the bathtub anymore, either, although I do listen to the occasional audiobook (not often, though – I always have this nagging fear that my iPod might fall into the water, and as you might guess, nagging fears are not conducive to a good time, anywhere or anyplace.)
Nowadays, my time in the bath is my me time. Often, it’s a very creative time for me – I’ve dreamed up solutions to plot tangles while in the bath and I’ve stumbled magically onto solutions to what I had thought were pressing problems. Mostly, though, it’s a time and place of serenity and contemplation. At its best, it’s meditative rather than reflective.
I only require three things for a great soak:
1. A candle. Only one is needed. Lots of candles are always lovely, of course, but I only need one.
2. Something scented to put into the water. I don’t require it to produce bubbles, either.
3. Something scented to wash with. If it’s the same scent as the fragrance in the water, that’s a bonus, but again, it’s not absolutely necessary.
I’ve been thinking about baths quite a lot, because over the past three weeks, when it seemed like my life was all about work and nothing else, I made a deal with myself: I would find the time to pamper myself with a bath every day.
As it turned out, it was a splendid deal, and made the work go by more quickly both before and after each day’s bath. I felt refreshed, pampered, and comfortable after my bath, and looking forward to it made me work more quickly. It really did.
One thing I’ve learned over the years – and this is my point for writing this post (as Ellen Degeneres would say, I do have a point). There are very definitely two camps when it comes to baths vs. showers.
There are people who adore a good long soak in a lovely, hot, scented bath.
And then there are others who haven’t taken a bath in ages, for whom a shower is the only way to go.
My own daughter, for example, falls within the “showers only” camp. As she said to me recently, “Ugh. You know, if you look close enough, you can see flecks of your skin on the top of the water. Why would you want to sit in that?”
Or my sister, who I seem to remember telling me once that a bath feels like trying to clean yourself with dirty water.
Personally, I think if that’s one’s problem with a bath, then the simple solution is to do it the Japanese way: take a shower to get clean and then soak to your heart’s content in a nice hot bath.
(Now that I think about it, my sister said that to me long before she went to Japan on holiday a few years back. So her perspective might indeed have changed. I should ask her.)
Despite loving baths, I’m not adverse to showers myself. They are the only way to go on a hot sticky summer day, for example. And when I finish a rare bout of time on the treadmill, it’s not the tub I head to, but the shower.
Still, though, the moment the temperature starts dropping, the bath comes quickly to mind.
So here’s what I’ve been wondering (don’t ask me why I’ve been wondering this, but I have been, and the inquisitive part of me wouldn’t rest until I agreed with myself that I’d write this post) – where do you stand in the whole bath vs. shower debate? Are you a showers-only kind of person? Or is a bath the only thing that calls to you? Maybe you partake of both methods, but lean more towards one than the other?
And if you love baths, do you read in the bath? Listen to audiobooks? Or just reflect?