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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hotel Bathtubs Going the Way of the Fingerbowl - Bathroom Blogfest '09

Madeleine Aubry In Her BathThis post about Hotel Bathtubs Going the Way of the Fingerbowl comes from my friend and fellow Bathroom Blogfest 09 contributor, Bethany Richmond. I think you'll enjoy her Reflections on a Life Immersed.

I read something recently that I was sorry to hear. It seems that hotels are doing away with bathtubs. Evidently business travelers are too busy for baths, preferring “a gutsy shower” to a lazy soak. Bathtubs tend to be lawsuit magnets, and females report that there’s something “icky” about hotel tubs. Only 2% of hotel guests say they use the bathtub in a hotel, and even people who normally prefer a bath to a shower won’t sit down in a hotel tub.

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with bathtubs. I was born with a birth defect called club feet, which means I spent the first two years of my life with my legs encased in a series of plaster casts designed to mold my young little bones into more normal shape.

Because I couldn’t get my casts wet, I never got to take a bath. Babies love to play in water, but I could only have sponge baths. Sometime around my second birthday my mother talked the doctor into leaving my casts off for a few weeks. The first thing my parents did was put me in the tub and take home movies of me kicking and splashing.

By the time I turned three, my mother started making me bathe with my 7 year-old brother. One day she rushed into the bathroom to find me screaming and cowering in the back of the tub because my brother had hocked a loogie in the bathwater and was making it float my way. The images of that afternoon still haunt me, but at least I got to start bathing by myself.

I graduated to my parents’ bathroom that had a square bathtub with pink marble countertops and faucets that looked like golden swans. Mom tossed in handfuls of Mr. Bubble and stirred up towering mounds of froth.

In high school I had a bedroom with an attached bath that was small and inelegant, but wonderful because it was all mine. College was a rude awakening with the questionable hygiene of dorm showers. My decrepit but cozy upperclassman apartment had a large, cast-iron claw-footed tub had been painted Day-Glo green by the previous tenants.

Through the swirling vortex of my life, I have remained a devoted soaker. My current bathroom has a commodious tub with jets I don’t use because I don’t like the noise, and I take a bath almost every night. I bathe sometimes in the morning, too, rinsing my hair under the faucet. I read novels, work on crosswords, and sometimes take naps in the bath.

Bathroom Blogfest 09I travel fairly often to conferences and trade shows for my job with the Carpet and Rug Institute. I enjoy meeting new people, but standing for hours on concrete floors makes my back ache. On a recent trip to Chicago I stayed at the Palmer House, the historic hotel built in 1871. The elegant old bathtub was long and deep, (and sparkling clean) and I took to it every chance I could for relief.

I know sometimes I use my tub as a place to hide from the world and my responsibilities in it. But mostly I’m just trying to find a little transcendence that’s affordable and close to hand.

Because, at home or away, there will always be loogies floating in the bathtub of life. Just give me plenty of hot water. And maybe a little Mr. B.

My favorite movie bathtub scene – Joan Crawford in The Women.

Thank you, Bethany!

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 09!

Note: the image above of Madeleine Aubry In Her Bathtub comes from The Blue Lantern, and more specifically a post titled Maxim's of Paris.

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