Bathing-all creatures greatest indulgence

Posted: November 3, 2010 in don't fight it
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Bathing – all creatures greatest indulgence

I was watching the National Geographic and was struck by the intensity and concern that sea otters, the furry little clowns, have about one of our God given rights – bathing.  We are no different.  Though I tend to sink not float!

One could easily classify human personality traits by bathing styles.  I mean there is the five minute quickie – shower.  Dash in, hit one temperature and before getting completely wet the bar of soap attacks the body like a mosquito on Red Bull.  Lather is everything and all places are given a vicious school marm scrub.  Shampoo… sometimes soap will do, is lashed on the hair, worked in a frenzy and then rinse once, flash, bash and you’re out.


Then there is the forty-minute meltdown.  I mean how can anyone shower for forty minutes?  I’ve met them and had the misfortune of showering after them.  Firstly nothing is done until the skin has reached the appropriate temperature for lathering (we don’t scrub daarling). This can take ten minutes – come on we’re not cooking a crepe here!  Then there is the lather process.  Research shows most ‘forty-minuters’ are bottom up types.  The toes individually are assessed and lathered.  The soles are also given a firm welcome to the wonders of seaweed soap, (Oh yes – soaps that is a totally different zone).  Shifting upward the legs and knees in particular, are shown sympathy.  The poor discolored skin on the most abused joints in our body receive a requiem that would shame Mozart’s Don Giovani.  Cellulite zone – hips – out come the scrubbers, it’s pumice stone playtime!  Even though it is unlikely, the idea of sanding the cellulite from the hips is considered.  The privates well. I don’t know… it’s a family blog and a 40 minute shower.  The upper body is an area of reverence.  These curves are made for watching.  Finally the hair now here comes the time allotment.  Do we have to wash them individually? (With my balding pate there is no choice – I wash it not them.) For those with a bounty of hair; do we shampoo twice condition once, or just go by the seat of our pants and use a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner?  The dilemmas.

This blog could be huge and is worthy of a book but in truth the only culture that really has it down in my experience are the Japanese.  God how I miss my Japanese bath.  Sitting before a mirror on a low stool there is no chance of slipping, losing the soap or bashing against the wall.  Wash your feet sitting down – how civilized!  Scrub, lather, rinse – all the time sitting facing a mirror with a counter right there.  Stand and rinse off with the hand held shower and step into the deep bath to soak.  Neck deep loaded with an array of minerals to cleanse the skin and appease the spirits.  YES this is drifting!  Crank it up a few more degrees to get the glow on the skin.  Step out and wash again lather and rinse then back in.  Ohhh yes, another level.  Usually this is done as a couple at home and bathing is like the melding of souls.  Ahhh drifting.  The mineral enriched water is retained for another night so it is actually not in the least wasteful and is clean as you washed outside.  Why wallow in your own sweat?  A Japanese rotemburo or outside bath, in my mind could be the eighth wonder of the world and I could rival any sea otter in a two hour cleanse.

In my recent house design I unfortunately went with the Scandinavian wet room concept with enormous walk in shower rooms. (the plumber below) (One of her last creations for someone else). They are extremely functional, but these new designs lack the immediacy and simplicity of nature. My next bath design will be bamboo screens, large brooding rocks, a boat with a sake vase (two cups!) and a shakuhachi Japanese flute playing in the background (hopefully with that plumber).  Drifting.



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