Friday, October 19, 2007

Rub a Dub Dub

Blank stares. That is what my simple statement was met with. Unrelenting disbelief that I had strayed so far from my newly greening roots. Within moments I was pelted with reactions ranging from outright condemnation to quiet cajoling to return to my senses.

Who knew confessing to a love of hot baths would be the start of such trouble?

Yes, I'll say it again. I'm a natural nerd and you can't make me take a cold shower. Isn't gonna happen, keep walking.

I know, I know. In a day and age where monastic simplicity is the new wave of fashion (oddly being sold from magazines offering Zen in ten easy payments), admitting to a perceived luxury is taboo. How wasteful. How thoughtless. Blog after blog are joining the cold shower movement, one Canadian writer (who I admire very much) has even gone so far as to research and decide to implement a Navy-style shower. Cold water, turned off, soap up, sluice off quickly, and leave the stall. How.... clinical.

When did enjoying life become verboten? For me, a bath is far more than the act of simply getting rid of the days dirt and dust. It almost always involves a book, something to drink kept near at hand, sometimes candles.... and often a towel shoved under the door to keep desperate kitty paws and toy mice from reaching out for my attention (hey, we all have our crosses to bear!). Its my chance to relax, unwind, let my overly active brain just chill for a few minutes. Frankly, most of my best writing comes out of a hot tub (For did the Great Pratchett not explain the phrase “Eureka” is merely Klatchian for “Where's my towel?”) and a bit of a soapy soak.

Where did being environmentally conscious mean we had to embrace a medieval hermit's lifestyle? Why is pleasure in the small things in life a bad thing?

Allow me a moment to present an argument skipping the shower train and sinking back into your tub.

A five minute shower uses roughly 12-15 gallons of water. Which means... the normal shower uses about 30. Let's face it, a minute or two is poured down the drain dickering around with the temp, if you have long hair it takes at least 5 minutes just to get IT rinsed, and that's after you soap up. You could... as the Prime Geek is wont to do, suggest buddying up for potential water conservation. But, frankly... it takes twice as long, somebody gets shafted in the warm water department... and if we're all honest adults here ultimately you end up preforming certain acts that require the use of a second shower for both parties (a long spiral of cause and effect will occur if the attempt to “share” is implemented at this point. That way lays madness.... fun madness. Madness I don't mind wallowing in once in a while... but madness all the same.). Hardly a savings to be found. And you run the risk of scaring the cats. Or breaking the soap dish.

A full tub of water? To capacity the big boys will hold 40 gallons MINUS the space taken up by your average adult. So... we're back to the 20-30 gallon range here. In other words, about the same as your “saving” shower. Toss in the capacity for relaxation – mental AND physical, the only quiet moment a lot of people get to themselves, and I think it seems to be a pretty good use of 25 gallons of water (we have a shallow tub.) But wait... there's more.

Hot water? In cold weather, don't send it back down the drain right away... that's a standing humidifier (electric free.... thank you very much) just begging to be used. Hot warm water also equals hot warm air... which means you can ratchet the temperature down a few degrees when you head to the bathroom. A hot bath before bed is not only relaxing, but if done right, means you are warm and toasty as you slip into bed... which means you can spin the thermostat down again. Another savings to be had. Warm body, cool house? Means if anyone else is sharing your abode, they are going to be searching out the one warm and toasty item in the house to cuddle up to. Wow, look at that. With the simple implementation of hot bath you've - humidified your house, warmed the floor which holds the bathroom, lowered your energy costs in heating, AND caused energy sucking lights to be turned off as you head for a serious cuddle.

Sounds like a brilliant environmental plan to me.


Pagan Blacksmith said...


Ya gotta love the decadence of a hot bath.

There is nothing to cut through the grime of coal smoke and steel dust than hot water and a strong body detergent.


kethry said...

I'm with you.. love my baths. OH sometimes has to drag me out of there after 4 hours, esp if i go in with a good book. I refuse to feel guilty about it. for one thing.. heh.. we don't have a shower. for another: apart from food, i don't smoke, i don't drink.. hey, a girl has to have *some* pleasures in life!!!

you stick to your baths, girlie!

ThePrimeGeek said...

Not to mention the fact that you can heat your water in alternative ways, too.

My boss has a wood-fired furnace, and has a heat transfer pipe to his water heater, capturing some of the run-off heat there to heat his water. Spiffy!

When our water heater finally bites the bullet, we're replacing it with a tankless, on-demand water heater, which uses 50 - 70% less gas for the same amount of usage. Brilliant!

Our house is not an ideal candidate for it (read: I gots some serious 'alternative engineering' to do to make it feasible) but it's even possible, even here in Ohio in winter, to heat your water with solar heat. Outstanding!

This is the sort of thing the NN spoke of when she first told me she was going to do a blog - living a modern, comfortable lifestyle while treading a little lighter.

Jenna said...

While we're dicussing my bathing habits, I DO have a slight confession to make. I have a bit of, well, a THING, about getting clean and warm. Don't mistake me. I have no problem getting dirty, I enjoy the chance to work hard and get really filthy. However, once the work is done... I gotta get clean.

I'm the gal, who, while camping, will be found sitting on a log with a tin cup of hot water in one hand and her razor in the other. Power go out in the house? I'll find a way to heat a bucket of hot water to get clean. Call it girlie, call it childish... but while I don't believe cleanliness is next to godliness.... I DO think its right next to happiness.

Oh dear. Do you think I'm about to get jumped on for admitting I shave my legs? How unfeminist of me! Horrors.

Hades, might as well admit this as well.... I'm not a feminist. I don't think I'm better than men... I just happen to know I'm as good as.

WendyB said...

Good post! Though I think the Death of Marat painting has always put me off baths!

WendyB said...

Whoa, whoa! I didn't see your other comment. Feminism is not about being better than men. It's not about biological equality either. It's about political, social and economic equality. Look it up in the dictionary...that's what it says. I don't think there's any need for women to be less than men in either of these three categories. I'm a proud lipstick-wearing, high-heel-wearing feminist! Come join me! :-)

Jenna said...

I suppose the word "feminist" just bugs me any more. When a friend of mine had her child, she decided she wanted to stay home and care for their son and their home. Perfectly capable of putting him in daycare. She just chose to stay at home. I remember her being pushed to tears by a bunch of women who insisted she was both wasting her life AND letting down the home team. Too many people use the feminist term to bully women as much as chauvanists. It seems you have to choose the out and loud lifestyle or you are no women.

For me, on of the best feminist arguments came from an episode of west wing. When a republican women (the blond girl on CSI) was confronted about how could she be both and educated woman AND be a republican, she said being a women isn't a minority thing. She found it insulting to be told she had to be accomedated and given a little more help, when all that matter was she had something different in her shorts. Don't "help" her due to her gender.... she didn't need help equaling men... she already WAS an equal.

For me its more of a semantics issues now. Some things men generally ARE better then women. Just as some things we excell with.

Too many negative connataions for me to ever call myself a feminist. But proud to be a women and happy to force others to treat me with respect.

I prefer the term "Valkyrie". Think I could sell it as an alternative term? lol