You know when you see something on a movie or a television show, and without even realizing it, you take that thing on as an arbitrary truth, no matter how ridiculous the thing in question is? If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, ask yourself this: have you ever been at the airport, about to catch a long haul flight, and visualized your lover catching up with you at the gate and begging you not to leave with a passionate embrace? Have you ever bumbled your way through a job interview but had the nagging hope that perhaps you endeared yourself to your potential employer by reminding them of themselves at your age? HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT MAYBE TIME TRAVEL IS PROBABLY (DEFINITELY) REAL?
Film and TV feed us extortionate lies that we’re not even aware we’re consuming most of the time. And none so glaring as the Myth of The Bubble Bath.
There will be lots of bubbles
Look at Chandler and Monica, all romantic in that pristine kingdom of ever rising bubbles. In reality, they’d be in a tepid cesspool of human skin bits and other filth, with some vague floating bits of froth that really just look like the dregs of dishwasher detergent at best, rabid dog spit at worst. Of course, there is that glorious moment when you first pour the bubble bath mixture into the water, so that when you submerge yourself it’s like you’re a Care Bear soaring through the fluffy white clouds. But for some reason it only takes mere seconds for the foam party to dissolve so you can not only see all your special parts magnified and distorted beneath the surface, but the actual, completely disturbing, sort-of-greyish color of the water.
Congratulations movies, you’ve made laying in a dank swamp of joyless filth all the more bleak by setting your unrealistic expectations.
It will be sexy
Have you ever tried to have a sexy bath with someone? Pretty Woman would have you believe that sexiness at bath time is as easy as laying back and wrapping your legs around your lover. WRONG. Having a sexy bath is the worst, most awkward, and inevitably embarrassing thing two humans can do together, unless your idea of a sensual romp is taking a ride on the weirdest water slide ever.
Instead of gracefully slipping onto your lover like the seductive nymph you are, you’ll flop about ontop of them like a fish that’s been thrown out on the deck of a boat. THERE IS NO FRICTION, YOU CANNOT CONNECT. You might as well rub yourselves down in olive oil and try to wrestle on a polished wood floor i.e. it’s not happening and you look stupid.
You will look attractive
The bath scene in American Beauty sums up the fantasy of how people look in a bath, because Mena Suvari looks perfect, which happens to be the fantasy of Kevin Spacey, which OMG, meta. Every single bath I’ve ever seen in a movie has its participants look like glistening water fairies, embodying that strange intersection between the innocence of rebirth and the tantalizing scandal of nudity.
Want to know what you really look like when you’re taking baths? Like a woman in labor; sweaty, flushed and vulnerable, but completely gross. Sweat mo, frizzy humidity hair and panda eyes a pretty picture do not make. Give it 5 minutes though and childbirth is replaced by child; yes, your skin is now prune-y and red and you look like you just emerged from the womb.
You can do other stuff in there
Reading? Talking on the phone? Writing your novel? Eating fried chicken? The movies would have you believe you can do it all while you’re in the bath. Why, just look at Scarface, all smoking cigars and changing the TV channel and arguing with Michelle Pfeiffer while he’s laying about in water. But you can’t always have it all. Babies AND a career? Sure, you can have that, but when it comes to multitasking while bathing, it’s time to let your dreams of doing the taxes while having a soak die with the bubbles.
As someone who once tried to smoke a cigarette in a spa (pretty much the same thing as a bath, it’s a large, ceramic hole filled with warm to hot water), I can tell you everything you touch gets soggy, whether you dry your hands before or not. Just about the only thing you can do while in a bath is drink a beer, but even that will go warm faster than you can say “scrub me down, Scotty!”
It will be comfortable and relaxing
It’s been a long hard day. You killed your babysitter, your younger siblings won’t quit annoying you, and you just want to take a load off and unplug from the matrix. So you run a bath, pour in some bubbles, rest your head back on the cold bathroom tiles and shut your eyes to dream, right? WRONG.
To start with, you won’t be able to get the temperature right; when you first get in it will be scalding and you won’t be able to breathe for the steam, then you’ll have about one minute of comfortable warmth before you’re shivering in a bowl of lukewarm water. You won’t be able to rest your head anywhere because it’s uncomfortable and it HURTS and what’s more you’ll be sliding about (see above) in an attempt to defy the physics of wet skin on smooth bath surface. You will not be comfortable, you will not be relaxed; in fact, you will be MORE stressed than you were before you decided to take a stupid bath in the first place.