Train in Vein

Breaking Bath: Why I Stick With the Shower

If I were an actor, my name would not be Channing Bathum or Anne Bathaway. If I were a former US President, my name would not be Bathraham Lincoln.

I am an adult woman, and I do not know how to take a bath.

Before I go on and mislead you into thinking I am grimy… Let me quickly state that I am a very clean devotee of the shower. In fact, it was in the shower just moments ago where I thought up those dreadful name puns. I guess that alone supports the fact that I need an alternative means of cleaning my bod.

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do constantly make resolutions that I would like to stick to. A recurring goal is to learn to relax. In the spirit of relaxation, I wanted to try to take a bath before writing this and I stopped dead in my tracks: I don’t think I have taken a bath in over 15 years. Is this crazy? It could very well be longer than that. I was a varsity swimmer in high school, so I clearly wasn’t looking to soak in water any more than I already had to. After leaving home I shied away from bathing in the dorms (I’m not sure it was even possible) and in apartments (fearing how many people had been in those tubs). In medical school and residency I also felt like I didn’t have the time and I was always just too tired. The shower has always been a quick way to wake up, scrub down, listen to some Beastie Boys and move on.

So here I am now. I have a home, I have some time and I want to relax. Seems like my path to the bath, no? Sure. So how the heck do I go about doing this? Taking a bath is not only a means of relaxation, but also a necessary life skill. I learned this the hard way during a 5-week rotation in the south of France. There were only tubs with hand held spray nozzles, and I sobbed every time I tried to get clean. I shouldn’t have shared that, but this can be about cleansing on other levels too. Yes, I lost it without good showers. It feels good to get that off my chest.

I have so many questions about taking baths. I have tried to look to the movies to learn how cool chic women do it, but I do NOT recommend Googling “Beautiful women taking bath movies”- None are instructional. I do however highly recommend looking at  stock images of “woman in bath”. Wow, do they look happy and relaxed… I mean look at that goofball above! Her everyday is my best day, I am quite certain! Anyway, here are my questions… I am hoping someone can help:

1. Do baths really get you clean, or do you have to shower before or after you bathe?

This troubles me to no end. Talk about me-so soup (oh my gosh I am so sorry). But seriously, how does this work? And when do you wash your hair and face?

2. How hot should you make the water, and how long does it stay hot enough?

I take scalding hot showers. Is this just not going to work out for me?

3. Can you shave your legs in the tub?

The answer has to be no, right? Sitting in your own leg hair seems creepy.

4. Can you sing in the tub?

A bath is so quiet! Without the noise of the shower I feel like every move or sound I make will be transmitted throughout the world!

5. Can you cry in the tub?

Again, I am concerned about the quiet. I have written before about the benefits of a good shower cry. I need this occasional outlet. Is a bath cry as satisfying?

6. Can you really drink wine?

I had a roommate in medical school that would sit in the bathtub with a glass of port (that is a drink I have yet to get my head around). Do people do this? I am terrified of broken glass, falling asleep and drowning, or falling. Let me share that I recently fell getting out of the bathtub bathing my dog and cracked a rib. Stone sober.

7. Can you really read there?

This would have been great for medical school! I tend to need to highlight and write though. And do you have to keep the page turning hand dry? I am terrified of a soggy page.

8. What music do you listen to?

My go to shower music is the Beastie Boys, Fiona Apple (for singing or crying), Bowie, or Led Zeppelin. Would this work for the tub? Or do I need trance music or sensual music or something? Oh man, I am really getting worked up now.

9. Does it take way longer than showering?

How much time do I need to carve out for this? Can I go out afterward, or is it more of a wind down and stay in kind of thing? It seems like a nighttime activity, right? Sorry that was just a bunch of questions. No organization there.

10. Are some people just not suited to baths?

So there you have it. That’s what just went through my mind when I thought “Hey maybe I’ll chill out and take a bath”. While I think I would enjoy wine, keeping my hair dry (and less frizzy), lying down and being able to hear or see murderers entering the bathroom… Maybe I am just a shower person. But please tell me how it’s done! Help! Is there a “gateway bath”?

Featured image via ShutterStock

  • Sly Hg Tly TyghTy

    Lol well omgosh first of all you are right a bath is a complicated place for something so relaxing!
    First you have to find the right tub…
    This makes all the difference! some people love old time bassoons, and other people are down with jets and newfangled comfort options. 
    They are all different.
    I recommend a prewash, at least your hair and a little around the edges
    If you have a shower option i would exercise that reach now or if you don’t
    A washcloth and bucket / cup can help you clean at least your hair befor you plug the drain
    This will also keep away pesky bath-rings that make it look like saturn just used your bathroom… 
    Then its up to you
    Turn of the lights put a washcloth over your face, read…
    I fill about half if i take a bath,
     Get in, splash the back wall so its not cold. Then i leave the hot watter dribbling the whole time because your right
    It is too quiet and hot baths are way better!
    Another trick is put a pot on the stove and boil water befor you start
    Half way through jump out and grab the pot to dump it in the bath! or have someone else bring it to you…if thats comfortable.
    I would stick with news paper or magazines because its too easy to ruin good books with wet hands
    Night time is the right time 
    But befor school i would be so tired that my wash would slowly turn into a sit down shower and plug the drain. that was depressing sitting there but by the end i would have a mini bath and tired eyes, and comfortable legs.
    i found it to be too waistfull though, the hot water would be cold by the time it got all the way down to me and even colder on the porcelain.
    Zucchini eyes
    Rubber duckies
    Its all open to you so dive right in 
    Or do the hokey pokey

  • Lisa Elizabeth Wieczorek

    I laughed out loud as I read this because I am the same way! I never take baths and honestly, I have the same questions! I’ve always heard that taking showers is much cleaner because you aren’t sitting in your filth (maybe that was a bad way of putting it). I will definitely say no to the shaving legs in a bath!

  • Lunsford Judy

    Hi, and there is nothing wrong with just showering. I have–ONLY–been showering for over 15 years. If you desire to take baths then that is fine. I have no desire to soak in my own dirt–nor do I think that is is relaxing. I am a female who loves showering with my cute pink loofha and wonderful smelling shower gel. I have a huge rain shower head on my shower and enjoy the sensation of the water falling like rain. Love it–:)

  • Colleen Sweeney

    I used to take baths, but after a particularly bad case of the stomach flu where I took a bath to relax my back, and then got that icky feeling in my stomach after not having any for a few hours, I swore off baths. For some reason, the hot water concentrated on my stomach gives me bad feelings in my abdomen. So I avoid baths. I prefer a shower anyway. You can get away with so much more than you could in a bath.

  • Kelly Davidson

    That is me! I take a book, start reading in the bath, get bored so get out and go downstairs AND READ! I just cannot do the bath thing, give me a shower anyday!

  • Lori Longoria

    A bath always sound relaxing but then you get in and after only a few minutes you’re bored and cold because it’s likely you don’t have a tub deep enough to be fully submerged and then after 10 mins you’re just wrinkly. And you can’t do anything in the tub – books get wet. Electronics? Well need I explain the dangers in that?! Baths always sound better than they are.

  • Erin Kowalsky

    I’m def. not a bath person. If fact, my condo has two bathrooms.. one with a shower stall, the other with a bath/shower combo. The bath/shower combo is currently being used as a closet! Shower = priority!

  • Lori Longoria

    Hot tubs are equally non-relaxing and boring. For a truly relaxing experience I prefer saunas. As a south Texan, the semi-humid climate is perfect for me.

  • Andrea Maclam

    I’m a bathtub aficionado. I love my tub time. My answers to your questions:

    1. I soak the day away. And then I shower afterwards. I know many people who do the reverse, but I like to read in the tub, and wet hands and paper don’t mix. Plus my wet hair drips in my eyes and I wear glasses. So it’s a little awkward.

    2. I make it reasonably hot, and then halfway through I turn the faucet on again. This also rejuvenates the bubbles. You need bubbles. Lots of bubbles.

    3. I shave my legs in the tub. I have to. My balance is so bad that last time I tried in the shower, I sliced a good 3″ of skin off my shin. So yeah, sitting in the tub it is. But right before I’m ready to stand up and shower.

    4. I sing in the tub, if I don’t bring my ipod in with me. I also tend to have imaginary conversations and work out plot lines for my newest projects.

    5. I cry in the tub. Of course I cry everywhere. But it saves the dramatic sinking to my knees or crouching in the shower because I’m already sitting down.

    6. My choice drink for bathtime is Baileys. Sometimes the whole damn bottle if it’s been a rough day. If you’re worried about breaking glass, just use plastic.

    7. Yes, I read. All the time. For years it was physical books, and then i got an iPad and my husband bought me a waterproof sleeve for it. Now the choice is mine. Just keep a towel handy in case you have to wet your hand for *ahem* any reason. BUT, if you’re going to use candles, I recommend not reading – strain on the eyes and will give you a headache.

    8. Music is whatever your fave is. For tub time, I tend to choose mellower sounds – I actually have a playlist on my iPod for bath time. But nature sounds for me don’t work.

    9. My baths’ have been known to take so long, hubby comes to check on me to make sure I haven’t drowned.

    10. Yes, some people just aren’t suited for baths. They aren’t made to appreciate them, or they just don’t fit that particular lifestyle. It’s not just you. 😀

    Hope this helps.

  • Mindi Wells Rench

    Personally, I love a relaxing bath. I have a deep soaker tub with jets (though I rarely use them). I DO read really books, listen to my iPod on shuffle, and sometimes I sing along. The sound bounces nicely off of the tiled walls of my bathroom. I ALWAYS use some sort of good-smelling bath bomb or bubble bar from Lush, so I get an aromatherapy experience, too.
    I bathe at night, after my kids are in bed, so it helps me to relax after a long day.
    BTW: I DO feel cleaner after a shower, which is why I shower every morning before heading off to work!

  • Angela Hayes

    I have been taking baths for as long as I can remember. It’s the way my mom taught me. I fill the tub 1/3 with warm water. I wet my body, and use fragrance-free bar soap on a wet washcloth to wipe my entire body. I stand to clean the lower half of my body. I use a washcloth because they remove the dead skin, dirt, sweat, oil, etc.

  • Heather Burleigh

    bathing is a stressful business, but I came up with an ingenious way to wash my hair/self after sitting in the water for 3.5 hours, when you’re draining your bath, stick the shower on and have a quick shower! Been doing that for years now, never fails. It also gives you the wee boost you need to actually be bothered getting out of the bath ha.

  • Amber Nicole Miller

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  • Jamie Beyer

    Try using some bath bombs from Lush, they are amazing and addicting.

    • Tiffany Suzanne Montgomery

      haha I said the same thing without seeing your post! They are so amazing.

  • Risa Isogawa

    I live in the US but travel to Japan often. And let me tell you — Japanese baths are the BEST! There is a shower/wash area and a bathtub that is typically a little short lengthwise, but deep enough to cover your shoulders if you want! The short length allows for semi-bent knees (no slipping into the water!) and the wash area allows one to get clean before taking a bath.

    Traditionally, this is utilized for economical reasons, as the large amount of water in a bath tub is wasteful if refilled every time a family member uses the tub. Therefore, the wash-before-you-warm-up-and-relax idea is ideal in order to keep the water as clean as possible. Also, due to the lesser surface area of water, the heat gets lower slowly, and you could even add more hot water as you bathe — the wash area is connected as one little room so overflow from the tub doesn’t damage anything! So. Awesome.

    You’re right… I do feel pretty unsanitary and get pretty cold quickly in the traditional US bathtub. But I LOVE me some Japanese baths. I’ll know I’ve “made it” finally when I renovate a bath area to have a traditional Japanese bath area!

    • Tatiana Daugherty

      What Risa says is true. I lived in Japan for 4 years, in an American-style apartment with the most generous bathtub I’ve ever encountered, which kind of baffled me at first. The Japanese tend to be shorter than Americans (yes, there are exceptions – there always are), so I always wondered why they installed such massive tubs. I now know why: it’s because they’re amazing! By the way, Japan is the only place I have ever taken baths exclusively. Since living back stateside, I’ve had to switch to showers, which makes me a but sad.

      • Tatiana Daugherty

        A bit sad*

  • Amber Nicole Miller

    I love baths, but I also take showers, it just depends on my mood.

    1. Do baths really get you clean, or do you have to shower before or after you bathe?

    Baths are really relaxing but I don’t feel super clean, so I always take a short shower after.

    2. How hot should you make the water, and how long does it stay hot enough?

    I take a boiling hot shower and it stays warm at least 15-20 minutes.
    If it does cool down I just add more hot water.

    3. Can you shave your legs in the tub?
    I shave my legs in the tub because for me it is easier then wabbling abound in the shower. I usually sit on the edge of the tub, then I shower off afterwards.

    4. Can you sing in the tub?
    I don’t sing in the tub, but I also don’t sing in the shower. I don’t see why you couldn’t though.

    5. Can you cry in the tub?
    I have never cried in the tub…

    6. Can you really drink wine?
    Yes you can drink anything you want in the tub. I have had mixed drinks in the tub, and even a beer once haha! Just don’t take a bath when you are hung over. Its like being sea sick.

    7. Can you really read there?
    Yes you can read in the tub, but I prefer not to because I don’t want to get my books wet.

    8. What music do you listen to?
    I haven’t listened to music in the bathroom for a long time because I live with my boyfriend and his family. I used to listen to music though, at my old house, I had my own bathroom in my bedroom. I would leave the bathroom door open and listen to the radio. I just listened to whatever I was in the mood for..

    9. Does it take way longer than showering?
    Ideally when you are taking a nice relaxing bath, you are not worried about time. But it is possible to take a quick bath.

    10. Are some people just not suited to baths?
    Yes, most of my friends and family do not take baths. Actually I think I am the only one who does. My mom raised me taking baths. When I was little she would put me in the tub with a bunch of toys and late me play as long as I liked. Maybe I just got used to baths, I dont know.

  • Shani Raine Gilchrist

    I hate baths. They just ick me out to no end. I even get the heebie jeebies when I’m bathing my children, but I have to do that, because a 2-year-old is just not going to do well in a shower! I save the relaxing for afterward… in bed with a book!

  • Tiffany Suzanne Montgomery

    I adore taking a hot bath. I have tension headaches and a hot bath really helps before bed. My all time favorite company is LUSH Cosmetics. They have amazing bath and shower products. Their bath bars and bombs will send you to heaven! I ALWAYS read in the bath..I can’t not do it. I purchase books at Goodwill and other thrift stores and keep a dry towel next to the bath to dry my hands. I also keep a highlighter/pen near the tub and write in my books while soaking. When I shave my legs I take a shower afterward and usually take a shower to wash my hair. If I have a pixie cut I simply use a cup to wash my hair in the bathtub. My cats usually hang out on the side of the tub or in the room with me. I like to light candles but don’t always do it. Also I usually can get through an entire magazine in the bath so I don’t mind getting it a lil wet because I recycle/toss it afterward!

  • Hana Greta Matković

    1. Do baths really get you clean, or do you have to shower before or after you bathe?
    This depends on what you want to accomplish with your bath. For cleaning only, showers are better, because why would you fill your tub just to let the water out five minutes later? But if you want the, let’s call it, ‘full bath experience’ you should probably shower before, then chill in the tub- or if you are, in fact, clean (but want some relaxation) shower after so that you’re not covered in bubbles (because what is a bath without bubbles? Just a clogged shower, really…)

    2. How hot should you make the water, and how long does it stay hot enough?
    This is determined before each bath with the hand-test. You probably shower the same way, put your hand under the water and then fiddle with the pipe until it’s exactly right. Usually, if it’s a really warm bath, your feet will be uncomfortable the first few seconds, but that doesn’t mean it’s too hot. Also, worth mentioning, if you intend to stay in the bath for a really really long time, and you start getting cold, let out some of the water, put the shower under the water and start filling the tub with warmer water, pointing the shower at whatever’s the coldest (usually feet again).

    3. Can you shave your legs in the tub?
    This depends what you mean by “in the tub”. While it’s filled with water or not? I say this because I’m not sure if by shower you only mean shower enclosure, or any cleaning that doesn’t involve a filled tub. I hope you understand what I just said xD I wouldn’t recomend shaving in a filled tub, because of the floating leg hair which is pretty gross. However, shaving in an empty tub is definitely easier than shaving in a shower enclosure.

    4. Can you sing in the tub?
    Um, doh? You can do anything you want in the tub! I usually take my ipod, put it on a shelf far enough so that I don’t accidentaly spray it with water, and sing along. If you want to just sing, without background music, but don’t want it to be quiet around you, keep the water running (but that’s not very eco friendly).

    5. Can you cry in the tub?
    Yes. No difference whatsoever.

    6. Can you really drink wine?
    No idea, never tried it before. But probably yes.

    7. Can you really read there?
    Yes, it’s excelent for reading! But you need to prepare for that. I usually take a little chair, and put it next to the tub, and then I put a little towel on it. Because, if you want to do anything that makes your hand wet, you will want to keep your book safe. I have never yet ruined a book bathing.

    8. What music do you listen to?
    Anything I’m in the mood for.

    9. Does it take way longer than showering?
    It takes however long you like. If you get bored, cold, hungry, thirsty, a need to pee or whatever, just get out. The tub won’t get sad or anything.

    10. Are some people just not suited to baths?
    Maybe. But that’s as weird as not being suited to dessert. So no.

    Hope this is helpful :)

  • Tanya Bach Clarke

    1. Take the curtain out of the tub and turn the hot water to 3/4 and get undressed, this is usually the part when I run around feverishly trying to find a “Pretty Little Liars” novel, an old Judy Blume novel or a crafting magazine.
    I find fluff is better to relax to than work books, but to each there own.

    2. Get in a soon as you can. Shut the shower curtain and keep the lights on. It will dim the tub area but it will be bright enough to read.
    The best part of the bath is the noisy part when the water is running. I usually turn the heat up with my feet so I don’t have to get up. :) I also stick a washcloth under my bum for extra cushion against the tub.
    *Please note, if you are planning in crying or singing, this is the time. The water running makes it too loud for anyone to hear and you feel supported, like the water is crying with you.
    I usually try to keep my “pity parties” to a minimum, so I find the limited time of the water running a good way to tell me when the party is over.

    3. I usually read the entire time the water is running, and a bit after. When you are done with your book it is best to throw it to the other side of the bathroom. This will save it from getting dripped on after you get out. I usually read until I start getting hot and then I run some shampoo and conditioner through my hair, wash my face and body. I will shave my underarms in the tub but I save the heavy duty shaving for the shower.

    4. I usually stay in until the water starts cooling down, about 25 minutes. When I get out I am hot instead of freezing cold like getting out of a shower.

    Things to remember about bath taking:

    -The toilet seat and bathtub edge make great tables. I have watched plenty of “Full House” on my laptop in the bath. I just set it up on the toilet seat and soak. Also works for wine, coffee or whatever preferred beverage.

    -This is relaxing bath time, use it to read and watch stuff you would normally see as a waste of time. You are doing something productive like washing so reward yourself!

    -No one is in there with you, it is your time to do what you want. Cry, sing, read, meditate it is all about you!

    – When I was a farm kid and came in from outside with dirt in my ears and up my nose, I was filthy, a bath would have been a disgusting way to wash me off. As an adult with my day to day work, I’m just not getting that dirty. After a long hot bath I feel cleansed and refreshed.

    I hope you use this information to start taking the best baths of your life, I promise you won’t look back! 😉

    • Hana Greta Matković

      Hear hear! Excellent Intro to Bathing 😀

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