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In the apartment in which I grew up (age zero to twenty) we had an enormous porcelain tub. It was at least fifty years old; entirely porcelain, it could hold heat for up to ten minutes after being drained. It was six feet long and the end was canted at just the right angle. The taps reached over the end, mounted on separate plumbing, and had handles for hot and cold, allowing for aquadexterity. I spent a great deal of time in that tub. Although it had a shower head, we never used it.

Since moving out, I have never lived anywhere with a functional tub. Even though my present apartment has a tub, it's really only useful as the base to the shower. While I am no cleaner or dirtier, on average, I can't help feeling that my higher stress level can be traced at least in part to my inability to simply take a soothing bath once in a while.

On a piece of family property in Vermont where we used to camp summers, we have a stream. The stream does not go upstream all that far. Even in the summer, the water is cold (especially comparatively) and unless it's high mosquito season, it's quite comfy. Right on our property is a series of pools, formed as the stream goes downhill. All are perfect for simply sitting in. The water is cold, but refreshing; the noise of the stream as it rushes over and around the rocks is one thing that a bathtub cannot compete with. Leaning one's head back so that only your face is above the surface, you can hear the almost-metallic clinking of stones beneath the water, and hear the endless trickling rill of the small falls that feed the pool, eternal and unchanging. The white noise that it generates is enough to cause sleep almost instantly, even with the water freezing in the spring from icemelt. In the summer, however, one actually can sleep in the stream (I've done it) and it's incredibly relaxing.

The bath versus shower argument can be avoided by combining the best elements of both, the seated shower. A superior way to wash, the seated shower has the penetrating cleansing power of the shower, yet allows the washee to remain relaxed and in fetal form if desired. The seated shower allows for contemplation without the side effect of having to sit in your own dirty bath water. You can always stand up and stretch your legs or do a close up when washing your hair and then return to lying or siting in the bath. The seated shower can be like a suana if you the water really hot and point the stream away, making sure your toes do not get burned.

I like baths. Always will. When I was younger, I would take 2-3 hour baths. I was crazy. But when I lived in Japan, I found 'hot baths'. Wonderous things. At this one spa I went to, there was the atmosphere of the stream as described by The Custodian combined with hot mineral springs. Of course, you had to wash first at these lil dinky shower things. But the experience was well worth it. Soaking in both the surroundings and the minerals brought me to a mental calm. No wonder my neurotic behavior didnt kick in until I moved back here.

I never appreciated my bathtub until I moved into dorms at college and could never take one even if I wanted to. Every time I went home for a weekend I would take a long hot bubble bath. Baths are many times inconvienient, take more time, less efficient, etc., but they're a nice thing to have the option for. When that option is taken away, it's so sad.

This summer I found out about masturbating in the bathtup (see: How I nearly killed myself masturbating) through e2 (see, this site definately improves lives) and so moving back to college I miss my nice big bathtub at home even more...

Baths.

Baths require almost no energy. You even get to lie down while taking them. Your legs don't get tired, they're not in use. You can even get a few hours of kip in the tub if you need it.

Fizz bombs and bubble bath. That stuff doesn't work in the shower, trust me, I've tried. Santa beards and bubble-castles, that kind of thing is for the big boys.

Rubber duckies and other floating toys. I think we all know the importance of company while bathing, and I have complete faith that learning to bathe with others at a young age will increase one's sociability levels later in life. As there's nothing to float on during a shower, one becomes accustomed to being alone and therefore hates mankind when older. You could, in a shower, I suppose, line the soap shelves with on-looking barbie dolls,as my little sister once did, but my father promptly removed them before I experienced their true worth.

Tidal waves, on small, non-life-threatening levels, are wicked, wicked fun. Back and forth, back and forth, get that surf up to a nice height and watch the carnage. Make sure you're on the bottom floor though, leaks only matter if people can see them.

The free hand. It's hard, I know, to resist that temptation of sinking your whole body into the lovely womb of warmth and lovin', but if one does manage to leave out a limb, they have themselves a free hand. Such an asset can combine true passions, for example, the book and the bath, the remote control and the bath, the gameboy and the bath, the yo-yo and the bath, and so on. This is difficult to achieve in showers.

Showers.

Parties are alright, clubs and discos are ok, but there will never be a better place to boogie than the whirlin' twirlin' shower floor. Get out your extension chord, plug up your means of music, and show the world of soap-suds and shampoo what you really got. Dance like no one is watching. You can do all the slippery moves you only dreamed about, you can work up the biggest sweat of your life, it's an instant-cleansing environment. Take heed, though, I had to have stitches on my chin when I was a wee one; I was doing the hokey-pokey with a little too much umphff and not that much care.

Private concerts. Ever see that comic strip, starring Disney's Goofy, where he's a great singer in the shower but when he gets on stage he sucks, so he has a brainstorm and brings his shower on stage and he's perfect? Well, I have. And I know that whoever wrote it was coming straight from the heart. Newton himself made a long-lost law that singing skills are increased when said singer is in the shower. I don't know why. I don't want to know why. All I want to do is sing my heart out, and the shower is the only place I feel comfortable doing so (and my family allow me to).

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