This is Erin from I'm Gonna Kill Him. She is one of the funniest women I read online (Or, in general. Books? What?) In fact, I'm mostly convinced many of my readers will leave me for her promptly after reading this blog. Please at least leave me a Dear Van letter in the comments before you go.
I'm not convinced I was ever given a bath as a baby. Most baby books are filled with photos of infants with their legs splayed open, happily urinating in a pool of tepid sink water. I don't have those photos. While I like to think I was too dignified to excrete waste products and my bodily filtration system was as ornamental as a set of augmented lips on a Beverly Hills housewife, surely I must have required a wipe down from time to time. I never contracted lice or a staph infection although my mother would know - based on the neurotic adult I've become - to have that information stricken from my medical files and placed in lock-down at Area 51, wedged between the cryogenically frozen aliens and a still rapping Tupac. I grew into a pre-teen consumed by personal hygiene. I had bathroom cabinets filled with cherished potions that I inventoried like a pervert collecting women in an underground lair from a Morgan Freeman movie. One product you would notice missing from my collection, however, was bubble bath.
Because I never took a bath.
From as far back as I can remember I took showers. I imagine it as those posters depicting evolution as the knuckle-dragging monkey morphs into the scoliotic Cro-Magnon man who changes again into the most evolved species as we know it, Eric Bana. If bathing modes followed a similar trajectory, I skipped the early millennia of sitting, ass on porcelain, in favor of a bipedal and upright shower. And, man, do I love a good shower even if Eric Bana is absent from the stall. If the average human spends a third of their life sleeping, I have already ticked off another third in a scalding hot shower. I used to spend every summer with relatives in a small beach town in California. My uncle tired quickly of his escalating utility bills and the Governor's pleas that the state's drought could be ended if I were extradited. Being a handyman he installed a quarter machine to manage the flow of my water.
When I moved in with my now husband shortly after our engagement, learning to share rights to the shower was a major obstacle in our cohabitation. G had an idea that cohabitation meant co-showering. The first time he entered the shower while I was in there, I reacted as though the Zodiac killer had handed me a washcloth and a bar of Dove soap. What the hell are you doing here? This is my zone. My space. My pumice stone. That is your combination shampoo-conditioner-shower gel, which you may use during your turn. Separately showering wasn't a vast improvement since our cramped NYC apartment allowed for all the male acoustics to reverberate through the common space. Throat clearing, spitting, snot blowing, all orifice-emptying noises that I believe females, with exception to those living in really remote areas of Alaska or the Smoky Mountains, biologically incapable of.
Once we had children, baths had to become a part of my everyday routine. For nearly three years now, I can be found on my knees at 8pm, hunched over a tub, scrubbing grime off little body parts. I emerge looking like those assholes at Niagara Falls who decided against wearing the slicker.
Because our bathtub resembles a Beijing toy warehouse and I've seen far too many anal explosions from toddlers occur there, I could never imagine finding a moment of respite within it. So you can imagine my surprise, when I stumbled into the bathroom early one morning for the only private urination I would have all day, to see my husband in the tub.
It was like I'd walked in on that freakishly awkward boy who exists in every grade school, head and shoulders above all the other kids. The one that parents first believed was a teacher until they glimpsed him on the monkey bars with Spiderman underwear peeking out above his 32 inch waist jeans. There were knees in the air, feet hanging off the side, and a head and neck that seemed giraffe-like above the water surface. There were bubbles. He was using a washcloth. He had frothy shampoo in his hair. Recall the old Saturday Night Live clips in which Mike Meyers played the British boy, Simon, who loved to do 'drawerings' and interview celebrities whilst in tub? The only thing missing was Joe Pesci washing his back with a scrub brush and calling him a 'fuckin' cheeky monkey.'
We've been married long enough that we don't need to articulate the horror the other induces on occasion. I merely projected a telekinetic bridge of confusion and disgust, across which he returned a disinterested look that said loudly and clearly, "Yeah, I take baths. Fuck off." I stood above him, straining to defy the habit to drop to my knees to scrub genitals and marker stains. "Why?" I stammered. "I find it relaxing," he countered defiantly. But it was the morning. Aren't adult baths, for those who indulge in them, supposed to be taken at night, with dim lighting and Hare Krishna mood music while Ricky Martin pours hot wax on his hairless chest in the corner?
I staggered out of the steamy bathroom as an epiphany took occupancy in my brain. I married that boy with the Spiderman underwear. He may have normalized in high school and gone on to wear plain Fruit of the Looms, play college baseball, and earn a bunch of advanced degrees, but look a little closer, and the man splashing contentedly in bubbles is still that boy.
Or Eloise with a very convincing gender reassignment.
Find Erin at I'm Gonna Kill Him
and on The Twitter: @gonnakillhim
PS: She *just* had a baby like three five days ago. FIVE. Go over and say something nice about her cervix.
*We're using the number twelve loosely, remember.