The following is a guest post by Mike Vardy. This article originally appeared on Life As A Human in March of 2011.
I don’t know if you know this, but there seems to be a preconceived notion that baths are made for women. I blame television for this. Not once have I ever seen a scene where a father of two has a Calgon moment or springs out of a sudsy tub to grab a ringing phone. Yet I see it with ladies all the time. It’s really unfair, and borderline stereotypical.
There is no reason why baths cannot be seen as a manly thing to do. I’m not saying that the networks are going to start airing commercials where a guy emerges from a clawfoot and wraps a towel around himself to dry off just before putting on his Fruit-of-the Loom briefs. But I think that if men were to approach taking a bath as they do other masculine activities, some bathroom barriers would break down in the process.
I’d like to smash the first shower tile, if I may.
I take baths. Have for years. I know how to take a bath like a man and how to enjoy it like one, too. Allow me to share with you the five crucial elements you’ll need to take a manly bath, or as I call them…The Five Pillars of a Manly Bath. (I call them pillars because of the whole Greek imagery. Well, that and “pillars” has good keyword value. Clever, no?)
The First Pillar: Hot Water
A manly bath isn’t lukewarm. It isn’t even somewhat hot. It is piping hot, as in “it just came out of the hot water pipe without being mixed with the cold water pipe” hot. Your limbs should be steaming as you raise them in and out of the water. Not only does this illustrate how you’re able to take the heat, but if you hold your hand out in the right light it looks like you’ve just shot a fireball out of your hand. And what man doesn’t want to imagine themselves with that kind of superpower?
The Second Pillar: Sound
I’ve left this one somewhat vague for a reason. Some men like to be alone with their thoughts while bathing. That’s a sound, according to Simon & Garfunkel. Some men, like me, like to listen to podcasts. Whether they are tech podcasts, inspirational podcasts or just plain manly ones, that’s up to you. I’d recommend that you don’t try any of the tech tips you may hear on one of the tech podcasts while bathing, though. You want to focus on the bath at hand. That, and you could get electrocuted or something.
The Third Pillar: Lighting
The lower the light, the better. This is your time to relax as a man. If you have a television in the bathroom (yes, some do), remove it. You can watch it later in the comfort of your recliner somewhere else in your home whenever you want, anyway, since as a man you have first right of refusal to the remote control. With that in mind, you can rest easy to some moderate candlelight as you soak away.
It’s important to only use candles that give off a manly scent when you bathe. A good rule of thumb is to stay away for candles that are pink, red or any colour that contains the word “baby” or a type of flower in its name. Also avoid white candles: they are stealthy in appearance as they often have the “girliest” scents.
The Fourth Pillar: Booze
As we all know, a relaxing time isn’t complete without a decent amount of alcohol. But if you want to have a manly bath, you need to pay attention to the type of drink you bring along with you. Below are some acceptable “bath-time beverages”:
• Scotch (single-malt is best)
• Whisky (again with the single-maltness)
You’d think that gin would be acceptable since so much of it has been made in bathtubs, but neither it nor vodka make for a manly bath. Beer should be a last resort, and wine is never an option. Unless you’re not a man, that is.
The Fifth Pillar: Bath Salts
Notice I said salts, not suds. The only suds that should ever appear near or in a manly bath is if you have to use beer as your last resort bath-time beverage (it will only wind up in the bath if spillage occurs — a cardinal sin on its own). Again, steer clear of “lady-colours” and you’ll be fine. Any salts labelled with a name of a tree or with the word “musk” or “wood” in it are perfect for a manly bath. If you are concerned that adding any scented salts to your bath could compromise the manliness of the bath (or if you’re not ready to take that step yet), simply go with Epsom salts.
Keep in mind that the reason there are five pillars is so that if you don’t have all of them available to you, the bath will still be manly because it does have four pillars to stand on. However, if you have only three pillars then your bath will be lopsided, and unmanly as a result.
Of course, if you only have two pillars…well, that’s a shower. And that’s also a whole other story.