This morning, I took my first bath in 50 years, and it wasn’t for the purpose of getting myself clean but rather to clean the air tub which hadn’t been used since I purchased my new condo three months ago. I’m one of those people who opted for showers instead of baths in my youth and for a very good reason.
I had arrived in New York with two fellow actors fresh from a stint in summer stock at a time in the early 1960s when, if you can believe it, there was a glut of new construction in the New York City market and landlords were offering concessions of up to three months to sign a lease. My two friends and I took advantage of this opportunity to rent a brand new studio on the 10th floor of a building in the heart of Greenwich Village. What a naïve cluck I was not to consider the consequences of not having enough money to afford an apartment with separate bedrooms when one of my roommates was gay and the other was quite the lothario and – how do I say this in a family newspaper?– they were both very socially active.
We devised a system where, if one of them had a “social engagement” for the evening, there would be a notice on the door to warn me to come back later. As I remember, it was a delivery notice from Macy’s department store that we had received for a dinette set for which we had all pitched in. Within no time at all, that note appeared enough times for us to have enough seating for a Horn & Hardart’s restaurant, and I was not getting enough sleep to get to work in the morning.
Then through an ad, I got another apartment share with my own bedroom, this one with an older gentleman who had a rent-controlled, five-floor walk-up, cold water flat, which meant that, while it was heated, it had no hot water. To cleanse ourselves there was only a tub in the middle of the kitchen with a large wooden board across the top which doubled as the kitchen table. When the board was lifted, we would fill the tub with water and add boiling water heated on the stove. Then we would both take our morning baths, alternating who would go first between us. Then, after the tub was drained, we would lower the board, and use it as a table for our breakfast and dinner meals. Somehow the idea of taking a meal where we had just bathed never set well with me. Can you understand now why, once I could afford my own apartment with a lovely shower, where I didn’t have to lie in my own dirt, much less someone else’s, I never lowered myself into a tub ever again?
Actually, the greater majority of people feel the same way I do. Online poll sites like Yahoo, Glamour and Houzz have shed some light on the matter, indicating that showers are preferred four to six times as often as baths with voters citing convenience and water consumption as the primary motivations for their choice.
On average, a shower lasts ten minutes and requires no filling, draining or general preparation. Their simplistic format makes them ideal for accommodating the time constraints of our daily schedule, while also making more efficient use of water.
Most people use about 30 gallons of water for a bath, according to industry estimates. When filled to capacity, a standard bathtub holds 42 gallons, but some of that water will be displaced when you get into the tub. A low-flow showerhead uses about two gallons a minute, or 20 gallons for a 10-minute shower. A standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons a minute, or 25 gallons for 10 minutes. Either way, the shower saves water – as long as you don’t go past 10 minutes. Unlike showers which utilize running water, baths are stagnant and often receive the classic ‘sitting in your own filth’ critique. Both slower and more wasteful, the bath is now seen as more of a luxury than a means of cleansing. In fact, most who voted in favor of baths mentioned that they still took a quick shower afterwards to make sure they were clean.
This morning when I took my bath with its massaging air flow, it lasted 45 minutes and I enjoyed it, but it was more a spa experience than one of hygiene and, just to make me feel really silly, my wife threw in some bubble bath. Did I enjoy it? You bet. Would I make the experience a habit? Nah. Who has the time?
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.