New Plan! Bathtub Communities.

I hate to interrupt my recent slew of compelling non-writing followed by depressive brooding – particularly since you were all so beautifully transparent and wonderfully kind and wholly nonjudgmental in your supportive comments to me and to each other – but we really do need to discuss Bathtub Communities. 

Listen. 

Listen.

Seriously.

We’ve created a community here, ladies and gentlemen. A Village of misfits who wave in the dark and sit in the mud and practice radical kindness to each other by showing up and saying me, too. A lot. And I love you for that; I do.

But we are missing something important, folks. Something vital. And that something is bathtubs. 

Bathtubs!

It occurred to me while I was writing about the dimly lit den, in which I’d like to practice extended hibernation, that dens are impractical hidey-holes for humans. I mean, digging a deep hole in the dandelion garden that is my backyard “lawn” sounds hard, like work, and if I wanted to do hard work I’d do the laundry. Besides, it’s too easy for the smaller humans to smoke us out of the dens, you know? Like, I could easily disguise the entrance to my den with all the broken pieces of plastic toys and last year’s Otter Pop garbage scattered around our property – the perfect backyard camouflage – but I’m pretty sure my kids, who always, always find the hidden Christmas gifts and my secret stash(es) of chocolate, will suss it out eventually, if only by the woosh and ker-clunk sounds of the underground plexiglass tubing which will be kept busy delivering my trashy novels and cannister-shaped pies. 

Which is why bathtubs are a much better plan, friends. 

Now, yes, granted, my kids can find me in my bathtub, just like they’d be able to find me in a den. But I think we can agree it’s harder to smoke a mama out of a bathtub. Harder to get that mama to move. Easier for the mama to occupy the heck out of that thing. 

Cai, one of my 7 year olds, found me in the bathtub last night, in fact. 

He burst into the bathroom, full of itemized reasons I should get out (1. Your kids NEED you. 2. REAL BAD. 3. And Dad always says no to treats.) and dissatisfied with every reason I gave that I shouldn’t leave the bathtub quite yet (1. I don’t want to. 2. REAL BAD.), so I told Cai that it would be irresponsible for me to leave. Unconscionable, really.

“But, Mom,” said the 7 year old as he peered at me in the tub, “you have been in here for 20 MINUTES already.” Which is approximately 1/3 of my average bathtub stay and 1/9 of my pre-kids record and only one chapter of the average trashy preternatural novel. 

So I said, “I’ll be in here a little bit longer.”

And he said, “Like AN HOUR. I seen you do this before, Mom.”

And I said, “Exactly.”

And he said, “Why? WHY DO YOU DO THIS?”

And I said, “Because it gives me energy and makes me happy.”

And he said, “But you’re ALONE IN HERE, and that makes no sense.”

And that’s when I had the a ha! moment.

Somehow it never occured to me to let my kids specifically in on the “Mommy’s an introvert and gets energy from being alone” news. I guess I figured it’s the biggest non-secret in their universe. 

“YOU GUYS!” he yelled down the stairs after I told him the truth, “You are NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS.” And they all came running, because whatever his news was, it was obviously VERY EXCITING and NOT TO BE MISSED and, also, our house is very boring, so it doesn’t take much to get them to come running. Try walking into our house sometime and yell, “CHIPS FOR EVERYONE” or “THERE’S A SPIDER” or “I’M GOING POTTY; I’LL BE OUT IN A MINUTE”… I’m telling you, you’ll have an audience FOR SURE.

“What, Cai?” they hollered back up the stairs.

“You guys. You GUYS! MOM GETS HER ENERGY FROM BEING ALONE.”

And guess what?

They were amazed. Blown away. 

“WHAT?” they said in their incredulous voices, and “NO WAY!”

Which is when I realized I’ve neglected an important part of my kids’ upbringing, and it occurred to me I may not be alone. That we all may need to help rectify a gap in our parenting lest the next generation fail to understand the importance of hiding and energy-finding and the critical role bathtubs play in all that. Obviously, we owe it to our kids – and to the future – to train them to respect the bathtub. AND we need to support each other while we do that. 

Enter: Bathtub Communities. 

Bathtub Communities for communal support of bathtub activities. 

I envision a whole patio full of bathtubs, friends! Of all kinds so you can pick the one you like best. Clawfoot. Deep soaking. Japanese. Roman. Everything except the kind that’s too shallow to cover the boobs and the knees, which is nearly every bathtub in the United States of Bad Bathtubs America. That kind is not allowed. Unless you want that kind, in which case we won’t judge, and you’re invited to bring your own. B.Y.O.B. 

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And there will be trellises over our bathtub patio covered in grapes and climbing roses. Or something easier than roses. Plumeria? What do I know? We need a horticulturist on staff. And a sommelier. And a beer steward. And a Diet Coke steward. And a barista for the cappuccinos and lattes and honey soy cinnamon concoctions. And a librarian to fetch us books. And a keg for the bath bubbles. And a baker. And a butcher for thinly sliced dry salami and perfect ribs and saucy meatballs. Because we can make a horrific mess; we’re in bathtubs! It all washes off! And a cheese guy. And a candlestick maker. I am telling you; it’s going to be the Best Bathtub Co-op EVER. 

And everyone’s invited! ‘Cause we’ll have dozens of bathtubs, folks. Dozens of bathtubs on our perfect patio. Room for everyone. And no worries at all. Not even about nakedness, because a) you can bring a robe and b) we have already given up All the Privacy, parents. It is gone and it’s never coming back. It ran away with All the Sleep and All the Dignity for spring break that one year and just never came back, and I’m still reeling from its loss, too, but it’s over. Over. Over, I tell you. Done. Besides which, being naked and soap-bubble slippery is, like, our secret weapon. They can’t smoke us out and, by golly, they won’t be able to pull us out, either. So, HA! I’d like to see them try. 

In our Bathtub Community, we will band together! Refuse to budge! Hold a Bathtub Sit-in! Stand Up (read: lay down) for Bathtub Rights EVERYWHERE! 

So what do you say? Are you in? And, most importantly for the Bathtub Communities Kickstarter campaign, what else do we need to add to our list of amenities and staffing plan? 

Towel and Flowers image credit to markuso via freedigitalimages.net

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
26 comments
  1. My Dad was a missionary in England in the 60s and they had would got to a community bath. You got your own private stall, and you just pulled a chain, and someone would pour a pitcher of hot water over the stall. I want a jacuzzi tub with rose petals, chocolates and water proof books(keep dropping mine in).

  2. Perpetual hot water. Because, dang it, my hot water goes cold WAY before I’m done hiding from my children, and LONG before I’m done with that trashy novel.

  3. We will need an herbalist who can add whatever magical leaves, sticks, bark, flowers, or oils will make it better.

    I can’t even remember the last time I took a proper bath because the only bathtub is in the children’s bathroom and is therefore a hellish nightmare world untold…so sign me up for a nice deep Roman tub and a glass of red wine ASAP.

  4. I don’t even really like baths, but your post makes me realize how much I’m missing. If only my kids were old enough to understand that mama needs anything, like quiet time. They’re still a toddler and a baby, which means they don’t even fully realize anyone exists with needs more important than their own. But, one day I’ll take an awesome bath, by golly, and it will be because you inspired me with your Bathtub Community. Thanks for the smiles!

  5. Sat: Had bath with hubby (cause he’s the only person I like to be alone with other than myself)lasted 30 mins – a new record in relaxed recharging….

    Sunday, so charged from Saturday, we added music, specifically the 68 songs from the ‘sleepy tunes’ playlist on the iPod. (Yes there is acoustic Bon Jovi and Springsteen, but there is also Art Garfunkle, Billy Joel, Dire Straits, Westlife, One D, Ed Sheeran … ) leading to …. TWO HOURS of soak.

    So as usual I’m voting for music – not the air guitar kind. The ‘just be’ kind.

    Rach 🙂

  6. Wait a minute! Doesn’t the bathtub community defeat the purpose of the “I get energy when I’m alone” bath time? I used to stand in the shower with the bathroom door locked periodically just to block out the noise in the house. It was very therapeutic and the kids never suffered from those showers. They could cry and complain just as well whether I heard them or not. (Luckily they’ve all grown up to be well adjusted adults.) Anyway, when I’m getting energy in my shower I don’t want any company!

  7. Pina Coladas, Margaritas, etc. Bathtubs deserve sticky fruity tropical drinks.

    Other than this small creative contribution, I have nothing further to add besides I’M IN!

  8. YES! why have we not done this yet. I want to hear more about the honey soy cinnamon concoctions. That sounds really yummy.

  9. I want to have a bath sooooo much RIGHT NOW!! Currently my rental house has no hot water. Apparently I was the only one who knew how to contact the landlord so it was 8pm before he knew we were without heated water. I am full of hope that tomorrow morning we will get it back but until then I am going to boil some water on the stove and use it to bathe with. It will be a sponge bath… no long soak in the claw foot tub as I had hoped for. Wish me luck.

  10. Ok. I’m in. And I JUST realized why I don’t ever EVER take a bath in my own house. Because my own bath tub is NOT DEEP ENOUGH. I need one of those big deep square things where only your head shows. I need one. NEED. I also need in on that expedition to Japan. When are we leaving?

  11. I wish for a bath tub with a large window over it, so that I can look up at the stars while bathing in it at night, and so that wonderful sun can shine in during the day. Sun + bath=happiness! 🙂
    I also request a lock on the bathroom door, so that my children are forced to communicate with me by sliding sheets of paper underneath the bathroom door with messages like, “We haven’t eaten in 20 WHOLE MINUTES!” and “We spilled a bottle of oil on the floor…ooops.”

  12. CHOCOLATE – DARK chocolate!

  13. Oooh, this sounds good. Especially since my apartment has no tub, just a shower. I want a deep, deep tub. With hot water. LOTS of hot water. Please.

  14. I am in. I love the bathtub. I sometimes go in clothed.

  15. Okay – OBVIOUSLY, after reading your comments, we need to plan a Bathtub Communities Research Trip to Japan and South Korea. Let’s leave tomorrow.

    1. It’s the responsible thing to do

  16. The bathtub communities exist in S. Korea too. Tubs with various temperatures of water. Soak awhile in hot water then cool off in warm water. The back to the hot again. It’s all quite relaxing. And if you’re wanting to feel squeaky clean you can get a really really hard scrub where dead skin rolls off your body. But I must say I miss having a tub in my apartment and my long soaks alone in the bubble bath.

  17. The house I live in has not had a working tub in 9 years. Nine. This has to be why I am unhappy and have no energy. So yes. I am in. Up to my Glamour magazine. Can I request a helper monkey for unwrapping my caramel hershey kisses?

    1. Yes, Em, AND your caramel Hershey kisses will be delivered to you on an immaculate silver, rectangular tray, lined up perfectly for easy devouring. We aim to please!

  18. Please start this right now or I’ll have to move to Japan. I’m so excited I learned that here. Except, um, Japan is a little bit far away.

    True story – we renovated our bathroom years ago and my husband suggested ripping out the tub and putting in an accessible shower for my son. EVERYONE who knows me and loves me and appreciates sanity knew that was a HORRIBLE idea. Keep the wife happy and find another way to clean the kid.

    Happy ending – I still have a bathtub (and mostly my sanity sort of) and Aidan now has an accessible shower. Don’t mess with my tubby!

  19. There ARE these amazing bathtub communities in Japan! I have been there to witness these amazing spaces. It’s indeed time to bring the bathtub experience back to America. 🙂

  20. Dude. We need to get you to Japan, because this exists there. They’re called onsen if they are natural hot springs and sento if they are in the city using heated water and they exist and I miss them and I love them and why? Why can’t we have nice things here in the US, which is indeed the land of worthless uncomfortable bathtubs. Why? Of course, the problem is that onsen or sento are social experiences, so one would have to get comfortable with all the communal nakedness and chattiness. They’re not necessarily book appropriate.
    Someday I dream of having a good book reading bathtub at home that is actually big enough, but it just doesn’t seem in the cards anytime soon. Sigh.
    Know that I am with you on this. You are not alone. Unless everyone left you in the bath tub. Which, if that happened to me, WOULD BE AWESOME.
    Also, what book were you reading? I need a new one.

    1. I’m currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which isn’t at all trashy but is Young Adultish and easy to read and interesting. I have several friends who are crushing HARD on Ms. Rowell right now who also recommend Eleanor & Park.

      If you’re looking for fantasy / preternatural books to read, I wrote this post last summer: http://bethwoolsey.com/2013/06/5-summer-fantasy-series/. I still recommend these 5 series.

      P.S. Let’s plan a Japan trip. STAT.

      1. Oh, MAN THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

  21. I’m in!!!!

  22. OMIGOSH I JUST LOVE YOU AND IF I LIVED NEXT DOOR TO YOU WE WOULD BE BESTIES.

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