Single people: is there anything more perfect than a steaming hot bath, scented with lavender? You are correct. There is not. Just recall, for a moment, the sensual satisfaction of stepping into steaming aromatic water, of submitting your weight to the ceramic base of the tub, of being the Cadbury’s flake lady and caressing the overflow drain with the tips of your rose-painted tootsies. For added pleasure you are even allowed to put bubbly scented foam in the water, and use your hands to make little snowmen.
A hot bath is the finest possible route to satisfying the bodily desires that are denied to you by an apathetic world. A world populated with people who don’t want to stroke your silken skin – or who do, but are too unattractive to be granted permission. Clearly, it is also perfectly possible to have a bath when you’re in a relationship. However, I have conducted a rigorous, peer-reviewed research project (by remembering things that have happened in the past and texting a few people to see if they’ve experienced the same) and discovered that if you’re in a relationship it is guaranteed that at some point, when you’re in the bath, your partner is going to come in and do a massive stinking poo. A bath becomes 100% less luxurious and 80% more like pot-holing in a sewer when the fragrance of lavender essential oil blends with the stench of waste matter that has just exited another person’s anus. My conclusion is that this is a reason to erase the idea of relationships from the collective human consciousness.
You must embrace the bath single person, as you would treasures bestowed upon you by an emperor, for consider the rarity of the riches you have been afforded:
Scary thought number 1
Not that long ago in history – like, during the lifetime of my old Nana – people didn’t have baths with running water in their houses. For real. If you wanted to be clean there were two options. For the lucky: a big tin tub in the kitchen, which you’d fill by hand with buckets of water drawn from a well and warmed upon the flames of an open hearth. You would have to stand or kneel in the tepid water, rubbing at your genitals with black soap and rag that you’d snatched from the coal scuttle. For the unlucky: there were public bathhouses where you could pay sixpence to wash in a tub that might, moments before, have held the urine of a tramp.
Consider more recent history: at my own childhood home in the 1990s, there were lots and lots of little children (my parents – 1 part fifth generation German lapsed catholic, 1 part Anglo Saxon alpha male – enjoyed procreation). I was, for reasons still unclear to me, forced to bathe with my siblings – all of us, together, in the same bath tub: me, them and their naked bodies – until I was nine or ten and refused to continue on the grounds that it was probably incest. I sigh, even now, as I recall the bliss of the first bath I took alone: of the locked door (a luxury whose potency only the multi-siblinged will understand), of surrendering myself to the water like a lithe, South-East London mermaid – without having anyone ruin the illusion by doing a wee, or whacking me in the face with a Power Ranger.
Scary thought number 2
In the not-too-distant future – like, during the lifetime of my (fictional) children – we won’t have clean, hot running water in our houses. Researchers reckon the only way they’ll preserve the water supply in the future so that we don’t all die of cholera or thirst (I pick the latter – hallucination bonus), is to have just two simple taps in every household. One will be a tap for drinking water and the other will be a ‘grey’ tap that spews out filth coloured sewage that we’ll use for washing. I’m sorry. I can’t make that sound less depressing.
Rather than see this as a cause to go all eco-warrior and preserve the finite resources of the planet for future generations, I am suggesting instead that we use this information to appreciate the jewel in the crown of the rare times we live in: the hot bath – and have more of them. Yes, yes, ‘they’ keep telling us how wasteful baths are. But then again, last year a pipe burst outside my flat and spewed rivers of water into the street. After four days, ‘they’ tried to mend it by placing a rock over the leak. When that didn’t work (duh) ‘they’ waited a fortnight before fixing it properly, with a blowtorch and tarmac. Just last month, ‘they’ declared a hosepipe ban – and then it rained, non-stop, for three weeks. I’m not really sure that ‘they’ are in a position to advise me on water use.
And anyway, I prefer to put a positive spin on the whole inevitable-depletion-of-the-planet’s-resources thing by cherishing the fleeting nature of what we have now. In 2012, in houses all across the land, there are bathrooms with bath tubs of purest white. Lustrous taps of stainless steel spurt streams of finest crystal water. One day, none of this will exist, anywhere. Basically, we’re living the 21st Century equivalent of the last throws of the Roman Empire. We’re fucked and there’s nothing we can do about it. We might as well bathe in fragrant foamy water, wear lace knickers and black eyeliner and fuck each-other senseless until the apocalypse. Do have fun.