SMOKE: Bath Or Shower?
Originally published: 16 July 2004
Either you're an Elvis man or a Beatles girlie. Either you prefer rugged, noble dogs, or pathetically weak and irritating cats.
When it comes to seasonal stuff you either love your winter with a passion or are a problem-laden, issue-filled, repressed little twattie who thinks you need to like summer in order to impress children.
Either you're manly and stand proudly naked in a shower, buttocks clenching and unclenching, pecs flexing, angular jaw tilted back to catch the drops of water on your face, which run in streams down your flat stomach to meander their way through your forest of dark pubic curls and on past your magnificently erect member - or you're a sexually frustrated little geek who does unseemly things to your stompie while covered in mummy's protective layer of fragrant bath bubbles.
Well? Which is it? I'm unbiased either way.
Needless to say I am an Elvis man who takes a shower in winter after walking my dog, but I understand that not everyone makes all the wise choices I do.
Interestingly enough (or not, for what it's worth) - I was a bath man my whole life up until three years ago, when I moved into my current house. The place was paid for - signed, sealed, delivered - and after a hard day's work moving our stuff in I ran myself a nice hot bath and got in, only to discover it was so small my knees were up around my ears.
I would have been comfier filling a small tupperware bowl with ice water and sitting in that - it was appalling.
So I had to take a shower, and for weeks I grumped and moaned and insinuated that property prices in our area were going down and we needed to sell real quick.
But as time went on I got to enjoy my shower as all the dirty childhood connotations washed down the drainhole (have you ever been a schoolboy in a communal shower, where you're standing in the two-inch thick, feet-warmed water, gathering athlete's foot and gangrene and rickets and scurvy?).
To further fortify my position I told myself that a shower washes all the dirt off you, but in a bath the dirt is left in the water, which then clings to you when you get out. Once that concept had settled in that was it - I've never needed a bath again.
But I actually think a compromise is best - a shower to make you feel truly clean, followed by a long soak in a hot bath to ease the muscles and tension.
I never have time to myself to just ponder things idly, but in a bath you have an excuse - you keep topping up that hot water (letting out the colder water on the bottom first), and you lie there and wander from one thought to the next, in a haze of steam.
The only thing that kills me about showers is that they are inconsistent. Either the jet is too weak, or it fires sharp spicules of crisp water at you so fast your skin shreds off in seconds, leaving your face a ragged, bloody mess, barely hanging on by a few tendons to the white bone beneath.
Getting the temperature right is also a nightmare (until you know your shower, of course) - unlike with baths the most millimetric of adjustments to the hot tap can either scald you or turn you into an ice statue, and sometimes the balance is impossible to find.
And in my case I have to be a concert maestro, conducting the flow of water with precision and skill, because if I don't get it right the unthinkable happens - the geyser runs out of hot water before I'm finished...
In my house you can't shower while the bath water is running - there is no pressure in the shower head if you do. So I always run the bath first for Tashi, and once it's done I get into the shower.
I'll know I've made a mistake with the bath water around midway through my shower routine, usually in the middle of the Scrotal Scrub - the water will feel a little less hot, and will steadily get cooler.
I can counteract it by turning down the cold tap, but with each passing minute the cold water tap has to be turned further and further until it is off, and that's when you know the end is nigh.
Once the cold water is off there is no way of increasing the heat, and it's always a race to try and get finished before the water becomes unpleasantly lukewarm.
I like to finish a shower by standing under the hot tap and turning it up until the heat is hovering between bliss and agony, and letting it thoroughly soak me in very hot water before I turn the taps off. Then I know I will be warm for at least half an hour, and in winter - that's a good thing.
If I end a shower with lukewarm water I never feel satisfied, and usually have lots of pent up rage which I need to take out on small animals or furry children.
Technicalities aside - I like getting out of a refreshing shower - skin tingling - and using a short, rough towel (can't stand big fluffy ones, except when unwrapping one to discover a naked Claremont hottie inside) to scrub off any remaining dead skin cells.
Then I hang that towel over the proudly stiff rod provided and stride forth into the world to conquer my foes.
All Smoked Out,