Welcome to Frivolous Friday!
Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care a lot about that may not necessarily have serious implications for politics or social justice. Although any day is a good day to write about our passions outside of social issues, we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun.
I have a confession to make. A totally PG, totally legal, totally “nothing to be ashamed of” confession, that’ll likely make the majority of you scoff and say “so?” and some other fraction of you decide this isn’t the post for you.
That confession is: I take baths.
Lots of baths. Ridiculously long baths, with the bathroom’s dimmer lights set no more than halfway. No candles — that’s too much. Too trite. Too much extra effort with little to no real return. The dimmer lights are enough.
If the temperature is in the 10 C range, I’ll crack the window, and the combination of crisp air and hot water does something to set my head straight. If it’s summer, the water temperature goes down to something I can stay in without sweating, window wide open. In winter, the temperature goes up.
The fact that I take baths is already known among people close to me, and I am unashamed, given that it makes probably the largest part of my self-care routine. I thoroughly enjoy soaking in hot water as long as I can, leaving some room in the tub so I can add hot water when necessary. What’s not widely known is that I am generally not without a laptop for these sessions. Usually it is playing some video. Catching up on the superhero TV series lineup, for instance. If I’m in a particularly bad state, I might re-watch favorite episodes of Steven Universe. I do not often use these sessions to do concerted writing, mostly because of the position I have to prop myself in order to type on a laptop that’s on a bench next to my tub. If I’m playing a video game that uses a controller, I can extend my game time to tub time fairly easily, with this wireframe basket that rests across the breadth of the tub that I can use as a place to prop my hands above the waterline.
I recognize that this is all extraordinarily decadent of me.
But we have a giant clawfoot tub, which I helped bodily wrestle up the stairs, and I love it so much, and I feel like I’m entitled to use it. I didn’t participate in its being obtained in the first place, but I still feel a sense of perhaps undeserved ownership. It’s a thing that is mostly mine, even if others use it. At six foot one, it takes a largeish tub to be comfortable for my frame, and this tub is perhaps the closest to perfect I’ve had access to. The shoulder space can be a little on the cramped side when I soak to my chin, but not uncomfortably so, as long as I don’t stay in that position for like half an hour. Even still, I suspect finding a better one is at this point like finding a more perfect unicorn.
Noise cancelling earphones keep the drone of the vent from irritating me. I wear them even when I’m not listening to anything. It is my time for peace and tranquility, and my time for me to strictly control what media I consume, where I strictly control how much human contact I have, so as to achieve maximum relaxation, minimum aggravation. If I believed in such things I’d say it was my moment of zen. If I could trust myself to meditate, I’d do that. Since I don’t, I mean… superhero shows it is.
I could talk about the potential environmental impacts of this, and what we’ve done to mitigate it. I could talk about all the potential dangers of long baths, warn of risks with certain medications, warn of accidental scaldings. I could admonish (hypocritically) against ever having a drink while bathing for fear of blood pressure dips or inebriated slippage. I could tell you about why I feel I need these escapes so often, how they help center me and ground me. Or my thoughts on the rigid gender roles that cause society to often take a dim view of men who take baths. I could do all these things and make a post perfectly in keeping with a social-justice-oriented website like ours. But, I’m not going to do that right now. Today is a day for frivolity, and this is about as frivolous a thing as I do on a regular basis.
So, today, all I’m going to do is confess that I bathe, usually nightly, and I can’t tear myself away from my computing devices even for that stretch of time.
And, I suppose, my corollary confession: I wrote this post in the bath.