Clark Kent uses a phone box for his transformation. I use a bath.
And I’m not saying that I clamber out of the bath as Superwoman (never gone in for red pants, for a start), but I do find a hot bath restorative and, on occasion, inspiring. (Where do you think the idea for this week’s blog came from?)
Taking a bath is one of the more affordable luxuries of life. These days, I am never more happy than to receive a bottle of good bubble bath.
A bath effervescing with fragrant bubbles of non-sodium-lauryl-sulfate origin is an event to look forward to.
I have arrived at the point in Executive Youth when I am diarising my baths.
A tedious day at work can be made bearable by the thought that a steaming hot bath will wash away the anodyne conversations and poor decisions that will have gone on around me.
A week of busy days can be punctuated by ’empty space’ time in the tub.
Yes, the bath is completely renewing.
It hasn’t always been this way of course.
I have very early memories of bathtime shared with my younger brother in the fashion-forward avocado bath suite in our first home. The pair of us would be dropped into a few inches of water filled with Matey and left to entertain ourselves.
Vidal Sassoon had nothing on us. Our bubble-based hair structures should have won prizes.
In fact, my brother did win a prize for an invention inspired by the bath.
Aged 6 and with the help of my mother he created a floating soap dish from a polystyrene chop tray and two cut up corks.
I can’t remember what he won, but it was the high point of his relationship with physics and engineering.
Later we moved house. The new house had an old bath and no central heating.
Bathtime became a challenge.
It’s quite possible that the creators behind Disney’s ‘Frozen’ had our bathroom in mind when they came up with the chilly wastes of Arandelle.
The trick was to be naked for as little time as possible once you’d pulled the plug out for fear of turning to ice.
This was in the days before the heated towel rail became a feature of British bathrooms. Our towels would be cold and a bit scratchy because tumble dryers were also not a feature of the average British home.
And things weren’t much better when I got to university.
The shared bathroom. What a bloody nightmare.
These days the shared student bathroom is almost a thing of the past. Back then, however, it was quite the thing to unwittingly share your toothpaste and Athletes Foot with your seven flatmates.
The first year in particular was especially grim since you didn’t even get to choose the people whose genitals, armpits and body hair would be sliding around the bathtub you would have to ease yourself into.
Other students had an eighth of marijuana in their dressing gown. I had a tin of Ajax in mine.
There is nothing so grounding as having to clean a bath before you use it. It certainly got me into a habit which has never left me.
I spent five years at university sharing a bathroom.
Five years of never being able to spend more than eleven minutes relaxing (pah!) in the bath because somebody else was bound to want it urgently.
Five years of wondering just who had been cleaning their boots in it.
Or using it for a tie-dye fest.
Or… washing their border terrier (which shouldn’t have been living with us) in it.
I am so happy to have left the shared bathroom behind.
I mean, I do have to share a bathroom with my husband, it’s true, but he is a bigger fan of the shower and that suits me fine.
Also, I do not feel the need for tact when it comes to berating him for not getting bathroom etiquette right.
I am all too willing to confront him over scum.
These days my bath is my sanctuary.
Three capfuls of Malin+Goetz Rum Body Wash makes it holy divine.
I intend to worship later.