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I think back on that day often, replaying the events in my head over and over, wondering how I could have made such a mistake.
The apartment was great: affordable, great location, all the amenities I needed. I even thought the spa shower (read: no tub) was kinda cool.
“You don’t even need a curtain,” said the landlady proudly. I glanced into the bathroom and continued on the tour.
I went on to sign the lease that day and have now lived for three years without a bathtub. THREE! YEARS!
Some of you may think I’m being melodramatic about this, but my fellow bath-time lovers out there are nodding their heads in sympathy. For me, taking a bath is very nearly a sacred ritual.
Freud would probably say that the experience is comforting because it recalls the womb. Meh. I think it’s something much more simple: During our hectic day-to-day, it’s rare to pause, unplug and just chill. It’s something special and--I didn’t realize until it was too late--necessary.
When I got my first job out of college at a magazine, my days quickly went from senior-year slacking to mounting stress. I started taking a bath each evening when I got home, and it was the perfect release. I’d put on some jazz or Tori Amos, light a few candles, and pick my bath product du jour. (Yes, some people really do this, and yes, rom-com characters and me count as some people.)
I enjoyed experimenting with different oils, salts, “bombs,” etc. I’d climb in, lie back and breathe, trying to clear my thoughts. After 30 minutes or so, I could leave work behind and enjoy my evening as a much calmer, more centered version of myself.
It was a healthy way to take the edge off, and I find myself looking for substitutes these days.
Sometimes exercise can have a similar effect--surprisingly, since it’s kind of the exact opposite of a bath. I’m usually too tired for that, though.
Other times, my thoughts stray to the bottle of wine in the kitchen, and sometimes I’ll have a glass or two. But I don’t want to make that a daily ritual, and it’s just not the same.
So, lately, I’ve been trying to recreate that bathing experience I so miss.
I usually associate showers with getting ready. They’re more purpose-driven than a bath; the main practical difference being, I suppose, that you can’t wash your hair too well in a tub. But just standing under the showerhead, letting the warm water envelop you without worrying about shampooing, rinsing and repeating can have quite a restorative effect. (Seriously. Try it for five whole minutes.)
On the flip side, I’ve tried recreating all of the elements of my bathing ritual, sans water. I’ll lie on the couch or my bed, dim the lights, put on my music and meditate for a while. And if my fiancé and I both happen to be in the mood after that, it’s a pretty decent setup.
Also, when I’m visiting family and friends, I have no shame about squeezing in a quick bath at their places. They think I’m weird, but, they’ve always thought that.
Still, there’s one thing I just can’t do as well in the shower as I can in the bath: shave. (Expecting a three-syllable verb, were you?)
I used to shave my legs in the tub 99% of the time. When I’m in the shower, I don’t have my contacts in, the water washes the soap off too soon, and I just can’t do a good job. I always miss a patch or two. I hate that!
I realize that many women, however, are shower shavers. What is your secret, shower shavers?! If I could at least learn how to efficiently shave my legs, it would make the sting of my tub-less existence a little less harsh. And if you have any tips for making a shower super-relaxing, please bestow them upon me.