The Splendid Ritual of Bathing

When it comes to bathing, North Americans are woefully behind the rest of the rub a dub dub world.  But according to a 2012 article in Scientific America, the United States has one of the largest water footprints in the world – consuming an incredible 2500-3000 cubic meters/yr/cap!

Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2011) National water footprint accounts: the green, blue and grey water footprint of production and consumption, Value of Water Research Report Series No. 50, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands.
Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2011) National water footprint accounts: Total Water Footprint per m^3/yr/cap, Value of Water Research Report Series No. 50, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands.

While the United States’s water consumption should be no surprise, the absolutely devastating part of US water usage is that most of the water is used to flush toilets and water your future steak, pork chop, fish fillet or chicken nugget.

I supposed that is the American Way – to waste in the dullest fashion.  In the meantime though, other parts of the world have a long history of not only using water wisely but also, using water in the most wonderful and luxurious of ways – the bath.

While these peoples were having a grand ol’ rubber ducky of a time – the Europeans were being weird, dirty, and prudish, naturally.

Several cultures have a longstanding history of bath time rituals: The Turks, Japanese, Egyptians, Greeks/Romans, the Inca and the Scandinavians.  Thanks to these bath literate cultures we have contrast baths, hot baths, steam rooms, saunas, massages, mud baths, towels, body scrub and deep tubs.  While these peoples were having a grand ol’ rubber ducky of a time – the Europeans were being weird, dirty, and prudish, naturally.

My Bath

It can only be imagined that Europeans imparted their lack of bath time ritual to the Americas.  While Americans can build and design some of the most fabulous bathes, we are much like Tamburlaine – chasing after the grandeur of the great Roman Emperors in a time when the decay of the empire makes such a thing a pipe dream at best.

Clearly, we must take matters into our own hands and create our own rituals when it comes to partaking in the splendid pantheon of bath time activities.  It just seems irresponsible to not take a bit of that water foot print and truly appreciate it.

The Bath

Over the years, I have become a bath time aficionado and so, I can provide you with tips that will make your next bath an event worthy of clearing your calendar.

Hot Springs, NC

First, I understand that not every household is blessed with claw foot bathtub and while this can prohibit you from bathing, there are many things you can do to make your current bathtub a true escape.  For example, I recommend that your bathroom be spotless as it will encourage you to spend more time in there.  Just think about all those dirty restrooms or locker rooms you had to frequent where the last thing you wanted to do was breath in there, let alone get naked.  Your bathroom at home is no different.

With this in mind, don’t forget that your bath time is a major event.  I often find myself planning my baths two to three weeks in advance.  The planning and forethought required by bath time is no laughing matter.  I have found that a lack of planning often leads to either cold bathwater because washing dishes drained the hot water heater, or even worse, you are forced to leave the bath to grab some necessary comfort.

Next, if you happen to not have a bathroom that could be featured in Country Living – fine- that is nothing a little candle light cannot fix.  Take it from me, lowering the lights in any room, no matter its defects, will make it prettier.  Furthermore, making your bathroom and bathwater a comfortable temperature is an absolute necessity.  This can be incredibility important when your bathtub is a bit too short or shallow.

Drinks and Bathtub movies

Last, but not least, don’t forget the bath time entertainment and water (and perhaps some wine).  A cold glass of water is absolutely necessary as the hot bathwater can cause you to sweat and become dehydrated.  (Yes. You do sweat, even in water.)

Since water and electronics do not mix, I prefer to sit my laptop on the back of the toilet so I can catch up on my Netflix recommendations. Additionally, I always keep a towel nearby so I can quickly dry off my hands in the event I need to switch episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But let’s not fool ourselves, bath time is not quiet bath time without bath time products! My personal favorites are the bath melts and bath bombs made by the infamous LUSH.  LUSH is by far one to the best bath product companies as they strive to create vegan, organic, handmade and animal testing free products.  The price tag for one bath bomb may give you pause, but I extend the life of my LUSH bath bombs by sticking them in my dresser drawers.  This allows for their amazing scents to transfer to my clothing and then when I’m ready, I just drop one in the bath.

Check out my Pinterest board for more bath time things, including a link to make your own bath bombs (which I have not tried (yet!) and fancy pictures of lovely baths:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/how-often-people-in-various-countries-shower/385470/
http://www.liligo.co.uk/travel-magazine/tub-talk-bathing-rituals-from-around-the-world-6195.html
http://www.pureinsideout.com/history-of-the-bath.html

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