In Praise of the Bath

You know the old saying "You never know how much you missed something until you don't have it anymore?" (or something like that.) That's what happened to me this past month with something most people take for granted: the bathtub.

I grew up in an older 1940s home that had two full baths, but the second floor bathroom that I shared with my sisters had only a bathtub. No shower. I didn't take a shower until I was in high school! I always took baths, as did my parents. Bathing was a ritual I adored, an elegant way to unwind at the end of a school or work day.

We had an old, deep, cast iron tub that I loved. It was a set-in tub, not a claw foot tub, but deep enough so that even someone as tall as I am could lay back and be submerged in hot, fragrant water.

I lived for eight years after I married in an apartment that only had a shower, and I have to say, I missed my bath tub so much! When my husband and I had our house built, his gift to me was a large whirlpool tub in the master bath.

My tub is my retreat, my spa. I love soaking in that tub. So you can imagine my horror when I asked my husband to clear the blocked drain...and he broke the stopper on the bathtub.

You'd think that a bathtub stopper would be easy to find, but not this one. It's a special "tip toe" stopper that only comes with this type of tub. The local hardware stores didn't have it. Nobody had it! I finally ordered it from Amazon and am thoroughly grateful to be back in the soak of things, as it were.

A Return to Elegance: The Bath as Elegant Ritual

Now as part of a return to elegance, I started thinking about bathing. When did we Americans become so obsessed with showering that we lost sight of the pleasures of the bath?

When I watch old movies, many heroes and heroines take a bath in the morning or evening. It seemed that sometime in the 1960s, perhaps, bathing went out of fashion, and showers became popular. I know that showers are quick and easy. But why does everything have to be quick and easy?

Elegance takes time. Tonight, may I suggest an elegant bath? If you have not enjoyed the pleasures of a good long soak in ages, then consider this:

  • Find and purchase a nice bath oil, bath bomb, or bubble bath. I love good old-fashioned VitaBath, but even a scoop of Epsom Salts will do. 
  • Put out fresh, fluffy towels. 
  • Make sure the room is warm so that when you step out of the bath, you won't shiver.
  • Have a good book to read or a magazine while soaking. (Don't take your Kindle in with you, please).
  • Scented candles? Yes, light one if you have it! 
  • Lock the door against children, pets and family members who want to interrupt your private time.
  • Let the bath run until it is as hot as you'd like it...then lay back and soak. Enjoy.

Tonight, return to the elegance of a bygone era by soaking in a long, hot bath.

Lock the door against pets who want to interrupt your private time....