I know all the arguments. Baths are time-consuming, water-wasting, glorified petri dishes of your own filth, and anyone old enough to read this is probably much too tall to fit in one anymore. Besides, especially in a real estate disaster of a city like New York, chances are you don’t even have a bathtub; if you do, it’s probably all cracked and sinister and covered in scum. You’re a grown-up! You have places to be! And when you get there, you better be squeaky clean.
This is exactly why we need baths. BECAUSE they’re inconvenient, selfish, and slow, not in spite of it. They’re a way to inject some much-needed luxury into your otherwise boring hygiene routine. They cost nothing. They are best enjoyed alone. What else in this world fits those criteria? Very little.
(First, a caveat: baths are not the best way to cleanse yourself. A bath is best enjoyed at night, I think, when you’ve already showered in the morning. Or whatever! I don’t know you, I don’t know your life. But I think it should be an addendum — even a spontaneous one — slotted into a period of time that could benefit from a treat.)
The real beauty of a bath is how it allows you to multitask. Sure, you can enjoy a shower beer, but any drinking receptacle with a mouth wider than a bottle or can is going to get diluted right quick. A bath doesn’t have that problem. Have a glass of wine! Have a margarita! Get crazy and have a milkshake (booze optional)! A box of chocolates is a nice touch if you want to complete that fancy-lady-in-a-Nancy-Meyers-movie #aesthetic, so long as you take care not to drop any bits in the water.
And the main reason I got into taking baths in the first place is because you can read in them. All of my favorite books have telltale wavy pages from when I have accidentally submerged them, and it feels like a badge of honor. (Do not try this if you are primarily a Kindle user, because either you will die or your device will.) It’s a good reason to keep my tub clean, which is really not so hard with some baking soda and a few spare minutes. It makes me feel like an adult, to have a tub I feel comfortable submerging myself in most, if not all, of the time, the same way I feel like an adult because I no longer have the impulse to buy new underwear when I run out of clean ones*.
Baths are semicolons in the all-caps run-on sentence that is modern life. They give us a chance to pause, to look down at our soapy boobs ‘n’ balls floating on the surface of the water, to catch up on our New Yorker cartoons and books we lied to our book clubs about finishing. To remember what it was to be suspended and blameless, and to remind us that we have the power, however briefly, to get back there.
*Sometimes I have the impulse to buy new underwear when I run out of clean ones.
vote votesNo, I'm not a baby anymore.
vote votesYes, I'm still capable of enjoying life's little luxuries.
vote votesI'll let you know my many feelings in the comments.