A colleague told me the other day she was considering sacrificing the tub for a state-of-the-art shower as part of a new bathroom revamp.
If so she’d be following a national trend. New research shows the average Brit takes just four baths a year - as opposed to 227 showers.
(What happens in the other three months of the year is anyone’s guess, but let’s hope they didn’t smell too pungent)
Hygiene aside, maybe folk should just slow down, get out the bubble bath, and reconsider their bathing rituals for the sake of mankind.
A documentary on the telly recently concluded the Romans built their great civilization on the strength of concrete but I disagree.
I think they thought up their best plans while they lounged around in steamy baths every day, inventing, designing elaborate aquaducts and plotting what part of the world to conquer next.
Then there’s the radical French journalist Jean-Paul Marat, who managed to wreak havoc in the eighteenth century despite being confined to his humble bath tub.
He would bathe all day, every day, in a bid to treat his chronic skin condition and, true to form, was assassinated in the tub (let’s face it, he couldn’t have made the job for an assassin more easy if he tried.)
But the salient point is Marat, while wallowing in the tub, managed to compose works so memorable, so politically charged, his enemies felt compelled to end his bathing days forever.
I don’t think the link between inspiration and the act of bathing is strictly a coincidence.
It’s fashionable currently to talk about ‘mindfulness’ as an anti-stress therapy for modern lives - we’re all so busy, dashing around, blah, blah, blah...
Even the supermarkets stock what are essentially kiddies’ colouring-in books for ‘mindful’ adults.
The gist of it is to engage in an untaxing activity which allows the brain to zone-out, chill-out and space-out.
Crucially, however, scientists say mindfulness enables some parts of the brain - mainly the frontal lobes which have to make decisions - to deactivate, allowing the creative, more subconscious parts of your bonce to meander down random paths, go into free-rap if you like.
But that’s exactly what having a bath has done since time immemorial.
I can’t count the amount of times I‘m half gone in the tub and think: “Crap, I forgot to do such and such.”
Or, on the good days, an idea magically forms which solves a problem which has been vexing me for weeks.
Richard Branson said he thinks up his best ideas in the tub and he’s not the only one.
The Greek mathematician Archimedes was famously sitting in a bathtub when it occured to him he could measure volume by displacing an object in water.
Realising he had hit upon a solution, he leapt out of the bath and rushed home naked crying “Eureka! Eureka!”
Or, translated: “I’ve found it! I’ve found it!”
So the thrust of this meandering monologue (which coincidentally I thought up while lying in the bath last night) is that everyone should simply have more baths.
Go froth and multiply.