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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bathing Beauty

By Marcia Mayo who blogs at Well Aged With Some Marbling

I’ve always been a bath person. I told friends, just recently, that I’ve had very few showers in my life, to which they said they could tell by the smell of me. Seriously, showers have been so few and far between for me that I remember most of them.

My greatest number of documented showers were in college as there were no bathtubs in the dorm where I lived for two years. The showers were in stalls, kind of like toilet stalls, but with two sections, one for your towel and other showering accouterments and one for the shower itself.

I also remember a couple of cruises my mother dragged me on where each minuscule bathroom had a tiny shower and no bathtub. My great memories of navigating the gorgeous blue Mediterranean were overshadowed, I'm afraid, by having to stand up to get clean.

And the pain never seems to end. When I visited my friend Linda last weekend, I was horrified to see that her garden tub was non-functioning and it looked like a shower would be necessary. Since I was already commandeering her bed while she slept on the couch, it seemed to be a bit pushy to ask her to get a handyman in to fix the tub before bath time.

The reason I don’t like showers is that I can’t get the temperature right and some part of me is always cold. Then there’s the standing up part. I don’t think I’m particularly lazy but I can't understand why anyone would bathe vertically when she could sit or lie down.

I do worry some about wasting water but so far, I haven’t done anything about it. I have considered throwing my bathwater out of my sun room window to hydrate the grass and bushes below but can’t figure out how to get it from the tub to the front of my condo, and I also wonder about the heart attack my friend, Susan, who lives beneath me, would have with gallons of dirty bathwater pouring down past her easy chair.

She still hasn’t gotten over the time I threw my daughter’s clean laundry out of the window so we wouldn’t have to carry it down two flights of steps.

People tell me they won’t take a bath in a hotel because of germs or waterborne infections. You’ve got to be kidding me! Hotel baths are the best with their usually unlimited hot water that’s already been paid for with my astronomical bill and their cute little bottles of shampoo and body wash.

Besides, according to those shows I watch on the Discovery Channel, after sitting on the hotel bedspread and handling the remote control, we’re already infected (and infested) with much ickier things.

In the past, I’ve decided against buying homes based on bathtubs. The back angle of the tub is of prime importance. There needs to be a slope so I can recline comfortably and submerge myself for hair-washing purposes. When I go to an open house, even for a place I have no interest in purchasing, I’ll do a surreptitious arm swoop on the back of the tub to ascertain if I could or could not live there. Whereas other people want granite counter-tops in their kitchen or a pool in their backyard, I want an obtuse angle in my bathtub.

My current bathtub is one of those old galvanized steel numbers they no longer even make and although the paint is peeling, the grout is bad and the angle is wrong in its uprightness, I have to say it’s the best bathtub in the whole world.

My assertion is based on two things. First, it’s five feet long, and its length allows me to wallow in the water from head to toe with just a minor bend of my neck. Second, we get our hot water from a big old boiler down in the basement, so it very rarely runs out. By the way, this is the same boiler, according to Atlanta lore, that Margaret Mitchell’s husband used to burn the original manuscript of Gone with the Wind in his grief after her untimely death.

People also say baths aren’t beneficial for cleanliness and, when you take a bath, you’re just sitting in your own dirt. I agree and would add that, in my case, I’m not only sitting in my own dirt but also in the dirt of all the people who took baths during the 93 years my bathtub has been in service. Just think of the historical aspect of all that dirt, especially my dirt, with little bits of Rhett Butler thrown in.

As I was endeavoring to find some kind of memorable ending for this story, I had the crazy thought that if Rhett Butler were to show up in my bathwater, the only person who'd be more undone than I would be poor Rhett himself, as he got a gander at my sixty-year-old bathwater-shriveled nakedness.

Now, that’s an image worth writing about. Maybe there’s even a movie in it. I wonder who will play me.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


As a child, we only took baths in our house, but ever since my first shower; baths no more!
For me, showers are quicker and cleaner.

I just hope you don't break your hip because getting into a bathtub becomes a dangerous situation. I can't get into a tub now and if I didn't have a shower available I'm sure your first joke of "they can tell by the smell of me" would fit.

Darlene, I've thought about that and realize the day will come when I can no longer take a bath. In fact, some bathtubs are already hard for me to get out of. I'm going to be really sad the day I decide that baths are no longer for me.

I'm enjoying visualizing the sight of Rhett showing up in your bathwater - the shock to both of you!!

Well, enjoy your soaks, but you haven't convinced me...I'll stick with showers.

I with you, Marcia! I remodeled my whole bathroom to make room for my new soaking tub.
My T'ai Chi practice with extend the amount of time I can still get in it, and should the day ever come when I can't (shudder), I shall install a lift!

Your wonderful story reminds me that I still have a claw foot tub stored in a barn at the farm. I'm trying to decided what to do with it. In the meantime, I'm enjoying memories of baths as a child with my sister - the fun and the arguments. Thank you for the memories.

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