The return of the bath | Jack Marshall's column
There’s an episode of the US TV show New Girl in which one of the main characters describes bathtubs as ‘medieval filth cauldrons’. As someone who probably went about 15 years between the ages of six and 21 without setting so much as a soon-to-be-scalded foot in one of the things, the line chimed with me.
Unless you needed to be physically thawed out after some kind of Bear Grylls-esque Scadinavian hijinx gone terribly wrong, baths were literally unfathomable. At least hot tubs had the good grace to be outside. Do these bathing folk not know how their showers - which are brilliant, but that’s another story - work? Do they just desperately want a use for all their Ikea candles?
Suffice to say, lockdown has converted me. I am now a bather.
Prior to that spell of sunny weather which will inevitably turn out to be the entirety of the British summer, there was a chilly Spring nip in the air which, combined with boredom, led me to running a bath (which counts as exercise these days). With the lights off and a laptop serving as the closest thing to an Odeon any of us is likely to encounter for a while, the whole thing was not bad.
But ‘not bad’ isn’t good enough when you’re effectively wasting an amount of water you could literally bathe in. To justify the whole experience, more needed to be done. Bathing time soon became ‘bathing and watching Anthony Bourdain shows on Amazon Prime’ time. Beer was incorporated into the process. Even candles made an appearance as, let’s face it, the glare from my Odeon screen was far too harsh in my darkened personal cinema/place where I brush my teeth.
It’s hard to admit, but it was good. It didn’t matter that the candles left sooty stains on the tiled walls which ran when hosed down with the shower head. It wasn’t an issue that a steaming leg had to be ungraciously draped over the side of the tub to regulate my temperature and a small towel employed to dab my brow as if I was a surgeon performing some impossibly difficult procedure.
It was good.
And my evolution from non-bathing heathen to lockdown hedonist is soon to be complete. In the post is a special bath table so my Odeon laptop can sit directly in front of me, thus removing the need for me to turn my head ever so slightly to the left. If that isn’t 21st century living, I don’t know what is.