I was on the debate team in college, and one of my most memorable debates was on that enduring topic:
“Is a bath better than a shower?”
I was on Team Shower. We won the debate after presenting a slew of convincing arguments.
Showers are faster, and time is money.
Showers use less water, and water is precious.
Showers get you cleaner, because the dirty water disappears down the drain rather than sticking around.
But what really sealed the deal was when my Hawaiian debate partner brought up our definition of shower, which was water falling from above.
She described the experience of standing beneath a warm tropical waterfall, feeling the water beat down on her head, at one with nature, with such eloquence that even the judges had misty-eyed expressions of longing on their faces.
Stagnant, blah bath water? Not a chance.
Showers are part of everyday life for most of us. We rely on them to wake us up in the morning. One hot shower and one hot coffee, then out the door.
But baths are the kind of rare treat we see in celebrity Instagrams. A beautiful model, hair swept up on top of her head, a glance of bubbly in hand, blanketed by bubbles.
Imagine … an entire half hour to lie back and soak in hot water!
No one beating at the door, no one asking you where their favorite jeans went, no one telling you they really have to pee and they can’t do it while you’re in there.
Of course, you’d have to clean the bathtub first. Those brown rims around the edges and the tracks of your kids’ dirty feet make it a potential cesspool.
You’ll also have to make sure there’s enough hot water to fill the entire thing. Never schedule a bath when the dishwasher is going and you’ve been running the washing machine all evening. Nothing is worse than sitting in rapidly-cooling water that was already tepid at best.
Baths just aren’t practical. Unless you’re willing to share them (there’s a reason families until the 1920s would bathe every single family member in the same tub of water), they’re an extravagant use of water.
But baths are good for the soul.
Showers are all about efficiency. Get in, get each body part lathered up, rinse off, and you’re good to go.
Sure, that water beating down on your back feels great, but only rarely do you give yourself any more than a minute to stand there and enjoy the sensation.
Baths are the opposite. Fill a bath, and it just begs for you to lie in it until the water cools. Slide in, lie back, and enjoy the experience. You wouldn’t want to waste all that lovely hot water by getting out before you’ve wrung the last drop of pleasure from it.
Showers are about cleanliness.
Baths are about pleasure.
When you shut that bathroom door and slide into that warm pool of water, you’re taking a stand. You’re letting the world know that you’re going to be unavailable for more than 8.2 minutes (the average length of a shower). Since you don’t want the steam to damage your iPhone, you’ll be leaving it outside, which makes you completely incommunicado. It’s just you and your thoughts.
When’s the last time you had that kind of privacy?
Yet more and more hotels are switching to rooms with showers only, partially due to customer preference and partially due to the environmental impact.
According to Marketwatch, more and more homeowners are ripping out their bathtubs to install larger showers. The appeal of a whirlpool tub has gone down the drain. Now new buyers are enticed by showers that are easier to get in and out, easier to clean, and much more modern-looking.
If you’ve got aches and pains, dodgy knees or an achy back, a bath—not a shower—is what you need.
Nothing beats an Epsom salt bath for soaking away aches and pains. Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium, which gets absorbed topically for quick pain relief.
If you’re congested, it’s the work of a moment to shake a few drops of essential oil into your bath—try tea tree, eucalyptus, or peppermint—and spend a half hour inhaling the vapor.
If you suffer from insomnia, a hot bath before bed, with a few drops of lavender essential oil, will put you right to sleep.
If you’re of a spiritual bent, mystics even claim that sea salt baths can cleanse your aura.
You can put on a face mask and enjoy a bath. You can put cucumbers on your eyes and enjoy a bath. You can imagine you’re in a luxurious spa and enjoy a bath.
So what’s stopping YOU?