When I look back on my childhood, few memories are as crystal clear as the time spent in the bathtub. When I was really young, the bathtub was Mermaid Land. The three of us would splash around and pretend to hunt for fish or sharks. My favorite thing to do was turn off the light and pretend it was nighttime in the kingdom. Then we would see who could sleep the longest under water – not a very safe activity, but we all survived.
When we got older, we graduated to my mom’s giant, red whirlpool. By this point we had moved on from mermaids to the jungle (we were highly influenced by Disney movies, I guess). My mom would put mud masks on us, and we’d splash around until the mud hardened and cracked. When my dad came home from work we would pop our heads up from the side of the bathtub and roar, pretending to be mud creatures from the Amazon. He would pretend to be scared and run away.
All this bath time adventure abruptly came to an end after I read Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. In this story the little boy is upset that he has to clean off with a hose rather than in a bath like his rich schoolmates. His father consoles him by telling James that baths are actually really gross. Why would anyone want to sit around in their own wet filth? The thought struck my young imagination so hard that I couldn’t look at a bathtub without thinking of it as a disgusting cesspool of germs.
My aversion to baths grew as I matured. During my teen years, I was bombarded with commercials for Tampax or Dove, and they always had images of women bathing with candles all around them. Now I had the added association of PMS and menstruation to bath time.
But all that changed today. I forgot that today was the St. Patricks day parade, and while I went out for a nice walk from Union Square to Central Park, I ran into the obnoxious, underage, belligerently drunk and horny green crowd. I now know what it feels like to be a pinball. I was pushed around and stepped on more times than I can count. When I finally made it home, I needed something strong to relax my frazzled nerves, and a glass of wine was just not cutting it.
My boyfriend is in Vegas for a Bachelor party, and I figured if he’s having the most cliche weekend ever, well then so will I. I lit some candles, turned on the stereo, drew a bubble bath and had myself of Tampax commercial. And it was delightful!