Wellness: The bathtub is the perfect place for the New Year


Sounds like science fiction, but there is this place, not far from here, where you can become invisible. An actually tiny room from the standard 1.70 meters by 0.75 meters, where the world is permanently in order. Which part of the world can say that about itself? Welcome to the bathtub, the little man’s wellness hotel.

Recommendation: During your stay, it is best to keep your eyes closed and dive down a bit, then it’s quiet. Life with all its exclamation marks is suddenly far away under water, the everyday noises fade, only from a distance can you guess what might be meant. If you pull your ears out of the water even a little, you will quickly find yourself somewhere between “Do we still have butter?” and “Elias broke my Lego”.

The bathtub has many advantages, but above all: Man. Must. Nothing. Don’t consume anything, don’t produce anything, you can just sink down and soften. As early as 1684, the Jesuit Father Filippo Buonanni found that the best way to understand the beauty of creation is to lie in the tub, which sounds like in the Jesuit Father’s language: “The body must be exposed to sensual experiences.” Yeah, dear Filippo, because there really wasn’t much of sensuality in the past two years of the pandemic. So good for those who can take this little escape from the world into warm water. Because taking a bath always means taking time for yourself. There is no other way: While you can quickly jump out of bed or from the sofa in case of doubt, to ring the doorbell, phone, or e-mail, this does not happen from the bathtub because it is much too time-consuming. Here you can just be off, quarter of an hour minimum.

Showering makes you fresh for the world, bathing is more of an after-work feeling

Now that many people will soon start voluntarily in an alcohol-free, vegetarian or otherwise fun-free January, the full bath is the perfect little sin in between. Because lying in warm water is wonderfully pointless (showering is faster!), Irresponsible in its regularity (high water consumption!) And also bad for the skin (dries out!). The dirt loosens from all pores with relish and before you let the broth run off, you wallow in it a bit. So much mess in such a small space, great!

Taking a standing shower makes you fresh for the world in the morning, while lying down bathing is an idle departure, an after-work feeling, no matter what time of day. And quite unlike in the rest of existence, you can hardly do anything wrong while bathing, provided you are prepared to do without connected electronic devices in the immediate vicinity. Whether the bath is most effective in the morning or in the evening, whether you take a cold shower at the end or step into your bathrobe with a bright red head, whether you add additives like the British actor Rupert Everett (“Badedas and Fenjal, in equal parts”) or a splash of shower gel is enough – everyone can decide for themselves.

The types of bathing are also diverse. Some can only stand it for a few minutes in the warm pool, with others you can still hear satisfied grunts behind the closed door even after an hour. And type number three stays in too long and regularly exceeds the perfect time to get out of the tub. The circulation is then in the bucket and fingers and toes look like the wrinkled body of a naked mole rat.

As far as the process of bathing is concerned in particular, a distinction is made between those who lie down and those who do. While one of them obeys the teachings of the Jesuit priest (enjoying and reflecting on the beauty of creation), the person doing the job has to do the right thing: washing his hair, watching the last episodes of his favorite show with a tablet on the edge of the bathtub, peeling his cheeks, shaving his legs, drinking wine, Apply masks. A lot achieved in a very short time, that makes the beauty sergeant in us happy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help if there are names on the bubble bath bottle like: Goodbye stress. Happy time-out. Gently relaxed. As an exception, women should take an example from men. According to a GfK study from 2013, 82 percent of the women surveyed use the time while bathing for beauty rituals and “other” activities, while 41 percent of men do absolutely nothing.

However, both camps have to face the same challenge: the search for the perfect water temperature. After all, with the predicate “pleasant” some people have already made a mistake boiling hot. Too warm, too cold – it is always a barter trade, at least until you use a thermometer. When the temperature is finally perfect, you can be sure that the game will start over ten minutes later. As a consolation: It is quite possible that the Romans were already complaining about the temperature in their thermal baths, and in the late Middle Ages the bathers had to rush to the fountain to fetch a bucket of cool water to calm the heated minds in the tub. But whoever baths needs a little patience. And that’s good, because it is precisely because there is a little effort and back and forth involved that bathing can be celebrated so wonderfully, every week.

The fact that you now sit in a tub made of non-porous sanitary acrylic that looks just as sober as it sounds would have amused many in the times of the Italian Renaissance. People like Pope Clement VII or Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi di Bibbiena had their extensive wellness areas painted by the hottest artists, with naked youths, sea monsters and centaurs, and invited plenty of guests. There was enough space. In 1536 Johann Fichard, a leading lawyer of the 16th century from Frankfurt, reported after his guest bath in Rome: “There the Holy Father sits in an oval tub and washes himself with warm water that flows from a naked bronze lady.”

Apropos Pope: The episcopal scandal bath model “Tebartz van Elst” for 4000 euros (including assembly) is still in the moderate range for designer bathtubs. At Boffi, the free-standing model costs twice or three times as much, the two-seater by Antonio Lupi in emerald green or the bathtub by Devon & Devon with a base made of Calacatta gold marble are also much more sophisticated. But modesty is also part of the little bathing happiness. The shop windows of the luxury sanitary fittings with ivory white bowls and elegantly curved tubs are always a dream that is equally distant. But it doesn’t matter, because they only bathe with hot water.

In times of pandemics, bathing has become more socially acceptable again

The reality in the average 9.1 square meter bathrooms in Germany looks different than in Limburg or Rome: a sparsely furnished room, tiled like a butcher’s shop, often without a window, but the nervously whirring fan switches on automatically when you enter the room, in his valiant efforts to fight against threatening mold. Good news, as the Association of the German Sanitary Industry (VDS) found in 2017: 76 percent of all Germans have a bathtub in their apartment. If you don’t have one, you never tire of emphasizing that you don’t miss the hustle and bustle at all. For the holidays, however, a room including a free-standing tub with a view of the Karwendel Mountains is often booked.

“That water flows for the purpose and pours itself into the bath with a rich, full gush”: Those who like to submerge can even be found in Goethe’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. The bathtub is an indispensable part of history, and many striking film scenes have also contributed to this. In Polanski’s “Tanz der Vampire”, for example, Graf von Krolock sucks the life out of the red-haired Sharon Tate in the water, in “American Beauty” rose petals swim in the pool of desire, and in “The Big Lebowski” the bath additive is a ferret. And unforgettable, because it is deeply anchored in the bathtub chapter of the German subconscious: “Gentlemen in the bathroom” by Loriot. The shower, on the other hand, can only be “psycho”.

The bathtub is the perfect retreat. Nobody turns up their nose if it takes longer in this genital area – unlike in the toilet. In times of pandemics, bathing has even become more socially acceptable again. For example, the British actress Hellen Mirren gave an interview to the US talk show host Jimmy Fallon from her “favorite place”, the bathtub, in June 2021, with a lot of foam at her stomach. This is where she prefers, she said while chatting with her husband (but she did not reveal how often she has her ears underwater). Fallon’s colleague Steven Colbert, on the other hand, hosted an entire program from the bathtub and, as one is used to from him, dutifully wore a well-fitting suit.

It’s just a shame that there are no more rocking bathtubs. In the multifunctional sheet metal tubs that came on the market in 1900, you could take a wonderful nap while bathing and dream of the sea, even if Joachim Ringelnatz once caustic: “The bathtub boasted a lot. It thought it was the Mediterranean.” One of the few good resolutions for the New Year, because they are feasible, can therefore be: Everyone should take off their clothes and get into the water. Softening it up a bit in tough times, that can’t hurt either inside or out.


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