Bath is a lovely city in the county of Somerset, but that’s entirely beside the point. Baths in the home are deceptive little temptresses and mongers of filth. I couldn’t care two hoots about the vast quantity of water that a bath wastes in comparison to the frugal shower, my trouble with the tub lies in the way it promises to be a decadently relaxing treat of heavenly cleansing, when it is in fact the most disappointing and disgusting thing you can do with your day and here’s why.
Temperature: Your bath is guaranteed to be either too hot or too cold. You may use a measuring jug, you may use a NASA approved thermometer, hell, you may even have the demon mixing skills of an Ibiza DJ but, like an aquatic Goldilocks, you will still have a bath that is either too hot or too cold. This leaves you with scalded feet (or a sizzling undercarriage for the very hasty) or the distinctly unsettling feeling of being a tad chilly. Your only option here is to alternately fiddle with the taps, letting just enough water out the pug hole to refill it with even more of the wrong temperature until all the hot water has run out and you’re stuck in a sea of lukewarm despondency.
Products: Bubble bath is great for all of the 60 seconds that the foam holds, creating the illusion of billowing decadence second only to a bath created by the special effects team on a James Cameron production, only to fizzle into a few cold wispy suds not fit to cover a mermaid’s nipple. It’s a little known fact that bath salts are just perfumed road gravel and were designed as a buttock torturing device for the baths of Victorian mental patients.
All of the novelty bath product gift sets sit gathering dust and soap scum on shelves and crowding the edge of the bath as stark reminders that your relatives have the olfactory senses of an onion. These poncy perfumed products serve only to pollute the water so that once you’ve lathered up, you can’t rinse your hair properly. It will forever more wear the residue of a “Fanciful Frothy Ferret” bath bomb.
Even Submersion: The average bath is 5′ 6″ in length, take into account the taps and the end that doubles as a shelf and you’re left with an average of 4′ 5″ in occupiable length. The average PFPT is 5’3″ (and a smidge) so no matter how you try and configure it, no matter how yogatastic your limbs are, you are never going to be able to achieve a complete and even submersion. Your delightfully relaxing bath then throws up a sorrowful conundrum, a Sophie’s choice of anatomy; are your shoulders left to shiver above the bubble line and your breasts to become fleshy chilled iles flottantes, or are your knees and your feet subjected to the bitter position of lifeguard, looking down at you from the cold hard tap end?
Sharing: What can be more romantic that a candle lit tub for two? Just about anything, actually. Forget even submersion, this becomes a fight for survival and the right to not have ‘H’ and ‘C’ imprinted on your back. You have to accept that only your buttocks will know water while the rest of you jacknifes awkwardly into the cold bathroom air like a couple of broken marionettes jammed into a coffee cup. Don’t even think about getting fruity unless you’re both qualified circus freaks with the emergency services on standby.
Entertainment: Past the age of 10, toys in the bath are just plain ridiculous and are the sign of someone whose mother still scrubs their back when she visits, regardless of their marital status. That said, without the rubber ducks and battleships of our childhood, baths are pretty dull and so you’re tempted to take entertainment with you. Good idea, right? Well know this, iPhones sink, books are apparently highly absorbent and your beautifully chilled glass of Champagne will be warmer than a dog trapped in a car in mere seconds.
Human Soup: Your bath, like it or not, is a single-portion human soup (family-size human soup is a jacuzzi or public swimming pool but that’s a whole other 1,000 words). You think you’re getting clean? You’re really stewing in all the detritus that your body didn’t want. That water you just thoroughly washed your face with has been swilling around your pits and particulars for the past 10 minutes. Face it, wet does not necessarily mean clean; the dish cloth at a greasy spoon may be wet but after its been used to wipe every egg-smeared table and the chef’s moob sweat, it may still contain moisture but you probably wouldn’t want to use it as a face cloth.
Timing: Exactly how long does a bath have to last to be enjoyable? You’ve “washed” with all the potions and novelty back scrubbing paraphernalia, you’ve lost your book, now wedged under a broken ankle somewhere near the tap end, so you lie there getting bored, feeling guilty about getting out and wasting all that water when you’re supposed to be enjoying this, so you stay in for just about as long as you can bear, only to find your fingers now look like the cast of Cocoon. It’s been 11 minutes.
Cleaning: Now you’ve “cleaned” yourself, you have to do housework and scrub your personal effluence residue from the entire bath, getting sweaty in the process and thus needing another bash at the personal cleansing routine. You may as well have just hosed yourself down in the garden and saved yourself the bother.
All things considered, isn’t standing in a nice hot stimulating shower of fresh running water a far more civilised thing? Although, having said that, there is one advantage the bath has over the shower, and that is doing your best wind-powered Bill & Ben impression. Just don’t attempt an impression of Weed, that’s plain wrong.