Bathing was once considered a luxury reserved for the upper classes. Ornate bathtubs, sometimes made of precious metals, became symbols of their owners’ wealth and power and were designed accordingly.
Cleopatra was reported to be one of history’s earliest super soakers in everything from mud to milk. It would appear that whenever a crisis loomed she took to her bath, a thoroughly sensible reaction in my opinion. After all, look at what the poor woman had to deal with – invading armies, an ignominious occupation, treachery and betrayal in her own household, two Roman warriors ready to hack either other to pieces for her affections, not to mention fratricide, genocide and, in the end, suicide.
I think I’d retire to my baths after a day like that, too.
Napoleon bathed every day believing there was nothing like a good soak before fine-tuning your plans for world domination. He even took a folding bathtub with him on campaigns. Legend has it that on the morning of the battle of Waterloo the Emperor’s bathtub went missing (an act of sabotage perhaps?) denying him his morning soak and getting his day off to a very bad start. Of course, we all know how it ended. I can’t help thinking how differently history might have written of that day, but for a missing bathtub.
Of course, there are those rare occasions when skipping a bath altogether might in fact be a very good idea, as Jean-Paul Marat discovered when he received a certain young Charlotte Corday on July 13, 1793, while in his bathtub.
Having hidden a large butcher knife in her fichu, she plunged it into his chest thereby ending the life of one of the monsters of the French Revolution.
Four days later, the 25-year-old Corday went to the guillotine for her crime.
And then comes that wonderful moment when at last you sink down into the warm, sweet-smelling water and close your eyes. You feel safe and loved. Nothing can harm you in here. This is the way it must have been for you in the womb, except without the bubbles and champagne (what a pity!).
Somewhere along the line we stopped taking baths and started taking showers. Not only are they quicker, they are also a more efficient use of our water and our time, both of which we are constantly being told are in short supply. So we are in and out of the bathroom before you can say “ablution.” We may be washing more frequently than our upper-crust forebears, but we are certainly enjoying it less. Thus, you might logically conclude that bathrooms would become smaller and more utilitarian, probably eliminating the tub altogether, and for a while things were heading in that direction.
This to-die-for bathtub, the Audrey, comes from the creative genius of Italian designer Massimiliano Della Monaca and speaks to two of my favorite fetishes: bubble baths and shoes. Fabulous! Wouldn’t you just love to have a lovely hot soak in that?
At the end of the day, however, whether you do it in a tub that is grandiose, fanciful or ever so humble, a lovely hot soak helps you smooth out the bumps in the road and escape into a world of your own design for a few glorious minutes every day.
And now, if you’ll excuse me while I hang my prière de ne pas déranger sign on the door, I have a hot bath waiting to take me to an enchanted place where I am younger, taller, and thinner.