Might as well face it, you’re addicted to tubs

I’m somewhat reluctant to broach this subject because it’s not a particularly masculine one, but let’s be honest: that ship sailed a long time ago to the tune of poetry readings and beloved standards of American musical theatre. So here’s the thing: lately I’ve been taking a lot of baths. Not nightly, but certainly with the same frequency that I condition my beard, which is another not especially manly thing that, you know what, forget I mentioned.

This has been going on for about three months now. The desire to have a bath started shortly after my surgery, when, due to certain tube-age, I was unable to have one. All I could think about was, “God, I can’t wait to get this thing out of me so I can have a bath.” A bath seemed like the answer to all my ills – something simple and comfortingly old-fashioned, like chicken soup or a mustard poultice.

And indeed, in the subsequent weeks and months, on those days when I’ve been sore and uncomfortable, the heat of a bath has certainly helped. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but soaking is good. “Just going to have a quick bath,” I’ll say through a grimace, and then I’ll disappear into the bathroom.

It’s very therapeutic, but now that I think about it, I probably just like lying in the tub.

Baths get a bad rap. Many people find them appalling – stewing in your own filth, they say. First of all, stews are delicious. Secondly, unless you’ve been working in a coal mine, your filth is likely to be well diluted by the bath water. Thirdly, it’s hot water, so it’s not so much stewing as, in fact, steeping.

I also think baths are scorned because they are perceived as if not effeminate then certainly soft. Showers are loud, with pressure and pulsating action, and you have to stay vertical and on your guard so that the clammy shower curtain doesn’t blow in and touch your skin, which we can all agree is the worst. Showers are practical. Showers are butch.

Baths, on the other hand, are passive, quiet, secretive. You don’t scrub; you soak. You recline. You take your time, which makes people on the other side of the door wonder exactly what are you doing in there, all that time just stewing/steeping?

More to the point: what can’t you do!

For starters, I make sure my bath lasts at least a good half hour. I am at heart a cheap man, so if I’m running all that hot water, I’m going to fully exploit the burning up of the electricity bill. The same would hold true if I were a bubble guy; I would stay in that tub until all the bubbles were de-bubbled. But I am not a bubble guy. I draw the line. No bubbles, bombs, fizzy things, oils – none of that in my tub. Cat hair, I got, but it’s accidental.

So I’ve got a good half hour in there, plenty of time to read a couple of chapters or play a game of online Scrabble, though the latter is never entirely relaxing because there’s the constant fear of dropping the tablet in the tub. I started writing this column in the bath!

Tea is good. Any beverage is fine. The other night, my wife tapped on the door. “Are you decent?” she asked. “Well, I’m in the tub so I’m as decent as I’m going to get.” She walked in with a fresh, warm chocolate chip cookie on the plate, and the cookie was the size of the plate because my daughter made it, and she would rather make two trays of giant cookies than waste time making four trays of regular cookies. So that was nice. But again, you don’t want cookies in the bath water because that really does start to look like stew.

So you can see why I’ve been drawn to the tub this winter. Comfort, quiet, cookies. It’s been a cold winter and we keep our thermostat at a brisk 63 degrees – gotta cut back on the furnace if I’m pouring money out of the water heater! The bath is the only warm spot in the house.

Plus, why not? Why shouldn’t I soak in a tub? And why should I worry that it’s perhaps not masculine? After all, slouching in a tub for hours at a time entails perhaps the most male trait of all: hiding.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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17 Responses to Might as well face it, you’re addicted to tubs

  1. Ha! Enjoyed this, I think a lot of guys love baths, they just won’t stand up to be counted. Never considered whether it was macho, though. I guess the headline would sound bad is the news of your predilection gets out: “Ross Murray, Admitted Thespian, Plumbing the Depths of Ablution.” Sound bad even without the bubbles.
    During the winter, a hot bath is pretty great. But good grief, lose the tablet. A bath should be a refuge from electronics. And electrics, too, it makes me nervous when people hover nearby, holding a hair dryer, and I wrack my brain to remember if I’ve ticked them off recently.
    One of the old folks used to call a warm bath a great “restorative.” (He also believed bourbon had the same virtue, and pretty sure he combined the two hobbies.) Did you ever see “Clockwise”? John Cleese is frantically scrambling around Shropshire, desperate to get to a conference where he’s the speaker, and ends up stuck in the mud at a monastery. Covered in mud and despair, he asks for guidance, and the prior suggests “A bath, perhaps?”

  2. ksbeth says:

    i’m a huge bath fan myself ,and of course, the giant chocolate chips pushed this post over the top for me. coincidentally, i am working on a post for this week that includes a bath and hot tea based on something that just happened tonight. simpatico?

  3. I love baths, always have. And you nailed it–it’s all about hiding. Keeps me (somewhat) sane to have a few minutes of (mostly) uninterrupted time. My kids think as soon as I get in there, it’s time to knock on the door like Sheldon Cooper. I’ve never got why people think it’s “dirty” or “stewing in your own filth”. It’s MY filth! Sure, if say, a few other people got into the tub with me, I might be disgusted.

  4. This doesn’t win me over. I’ve never liked baths. Would prefer to take a shower any day. They’re not comfortable. I hate turning into a prune. I hate anything that resembles a bathtub ring. I hate how quickly the water cools. I can’t read in them….I could go on and on like the person who does not like green eggs and ham…but with a different ending. I will not be convinced that they are good things. Period. Not that I feel strongly about this, mind you….but I’m glad that you enjoy them. Carry on.

  5. Who says baths are soft?

    Many famous Clint Eastwood scenes took place in bath tubs. I think the secret is to smoke a cigar and hide a large firearm beneath the suds.

  6. Trent Lewin says:

    I share your tub-love, but I can’t fathom the temperature at which you keep your house… that’s just scandalous. Baths aren’t non-masculine. They are meant for those who are madly masculine. I would say they are essential. I would however advocate for at least an hour in a tub, just start the water temperature really not. It ain’t working if you ain’t baking.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I feel we’re toughening up the children.
      I try the boiling frog method; start with sittable water and then just keep adding hot until the skin starts to flake away.

  7. List of X says:

    I can’t fault you for preferring a bath to a shower. Personally, I can’t stand having to wait for the water to fill it up – though I’m totally fine with with spending a long time in the shower, since that’s pretty much my only 100% gadget-free time (a computer at my job, a radio in the car, and a phone at all other times, including some of the time at my job or in the car).
    P.S., since you’ve mentioned drawing lines on bubbles and oils, there are special crayons for drawing lines in a bath we got for our kids.

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