Terms like Autism, Asperger’s [or is it Assburger’s?] OCD, ADHD, Bipolar, ‘on the spectrum’ and a whole host of others are all the rage now. You’re no-one unless you suffer from asthma, dyslexia, or at least migraines.
The point being my weird bathroom fetish is fashionably freaky. Right? Or so I tell myself. However, this will be my last ablutional outpouring for the foreseeable future. Mainly because no-one will ever allow me to use their facilities again so I will have nothing new to write about. Except my own. But that’s a post for another day.
Recently I stayed in a house that had been put together by an artist in conjunction with an interior decorator. I am accustomed to organic homes – i.e. cluttered – and my hostesses stated desire for empty surfaces and clean lines did not exactly resonate.
This was my first experience of the ‘walk-in shower’: the large smooth floor tiles slopes gently down to a gutter containing the drain, the mixer was minimalist, and there was no hanging rack in which to load shampoos, conditioners, face washes, razors, shaving foam, solid and liquid soaps, face cloths, body brushes, loofahs, and pumice stones – well, you seem where I’m going with this.
Clean, clear, uncluttered, minimalist.
The washbasin was on a cabinet instead of being free-standing, which provided a lot more space on which to put STUFF. And indeed, there was stuff. All packed away in neat baskets. There was a baskets of brushes and combs, one of depilatory devices, whether razor, wax or chemical, and one of various gorgeous soaps.
Toothbrushes and paste were neatly arrayed in holders, and the minimalist cabinet contained [lots and lots of] face washes, face products, shaving accessories, and various upmarket hair and body products. Let me hasten to add, this state of the art cabinet featured nothing as vulgar as ‘doors’, just a sliding mirror, so I was not exactly prying.
So far, so droolingly positive. The negative? Well, the shower and the basin and the walls and the cabinet were all fashionably new, but the loo looked circa 1990. However, it worked brilliantly and, if it isn’t broken, only a complete idiot would fix it, so full marks to my hosts for staying with their period lavatory.
The walk-in shower? Unless your shower cubicle is really big – like 10 foot deep – there is bound to be some exterior spillage. A carpet of drizzle fell outside the shower stall so a heavy duty mat was needed; quite frankly, I have yet to meet a walk-in shower in which the spray was completely contained.
My other problem – and in the interests of full disclosure this did not affect my 23-year-old daughter at all – was the smoothness of the floor tiles. For ‘smooth’ read slippery: if you are very elderly and fat, the prospect of slipping looms a lot larger than if you are young and slender.
But from the estate agent’s dream of an interior designer’s artistic vision on the sunny side of town to an unloved 60’s classic in the boondocks. The designer house bedroom featured ceiling fans for the hellish summer heat, exquisite colour co-ordination, and a double bed with with a jumble of pillows and throw cushions, plus a bedside light.
From the heat we drove a mere three hours to a mountain sanctuary of cool drizzle and Scotch mist. From ceiling fan and sweat to open fires and wraps. In the one place is was too hot to walk anywhere, in the other it was too wet.
We also went from working lavatories and a sexy, minimalist walk-in shower done up in Tuscan marble, to a retro example of rusty old taps and stained tiles. It was like going back to my childhood home – except this lavatory was dodgy, the sort of device that makes a lot of noise but needs a bucket to flush away anything more solid than ash.
This was no designer house: it was a rural home with an excellent kitchen and cosy sitting room, but a primitive bathroom and lavatory. Okay, so the loo was suspect: key in constipation – no biggie.
But keeping clean is essential so the bathroom was a deal-breaker. Shower, washbasin, bathroom cabinet and bath – the lavatory was in a separate room – were things we checked put even before the bedroom.
The bath looked fine, albeit a tad grimy and a lot old-fashioned: the shower though was obviously the way to go. It may not have been ‘walk in’ but it was big. However, what intrigued me, was the number of shampoo bottles and conditioners arrayed on its ledges.
There were 17 bottles of shampoo and conditioner around the bath and the shower, 8 bottles of sunscreen around the bath, several deodorants, one soap, one tooth brush, one toothpaste, and one mouth wash, when we arrived.
Who would need all this, I wondered? I was assured that while only one woman lived in the house, many more enjoyed the ablution facilities. Many more Foreigners, people who needed UV protection, and shampoo with sunscreen, and heavy duty deodorants.
And while we may grin and bear using shared facilities, most of us draw the line at sharing soap. For starters, we all know that a soap once opened is a ‘used soap’ – possibly hiding a lethal pube – forever after. Secondly, used soaps should – ideally – be recycled into neat, Eco-friendly and totally hygienic parcels.
I bought a container of Lux ultra luxury super-fantastic Black Orchid super-sexy/fruity bath/shower wash. Considering the ultra-fabulous imported soaps and so forth at the designer house, and the myriad of shampoos, conditioners and sunscreens at the country house, it was no wonder my brother complained about smelling of fruit after he used my gel of choice.
The holiday home shower was old, lacking all the mod cons de rigeur on a modern shower: it was safe and hot and easy to use – even for the Gauteng crowd who know little of appliances that actually work.Not to mention the lavatory which needs a bucket to perform even the most rudimentary function.
The tiles in the designer house could be slippery enough to pose serious risk to elderly obese [or old anorexic] guests: slip nude in a shower, breaking your hips, then see how much you enjoy shouting feebly for help. Especially if you have locked the bathroom door.
Call me ADHD, OCD, Asperger’s, or whatever you like: my name is Aubrey and I am obsessed with your bathroom and what it reveals about you.