Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Had Its Day: The Bathtub

For many years, I have had a very strong preference for proper shower units rather than a shower-over-bath (SOB) setup. This morning, when I almost slipped whilst drying myself post-shower, that strength of feeling was redoubled, and I found myself thinking that bath tubs have had their day.

Estate agents (which I think are called realtors in some countries) are quick to dissuade us from removing the bath from a property. To do so will lower the resale value significantly, we are informed. I think, or perhaps I merely like to hope, that this will change as people come to see the wisdom of only having a shower. Let me count the ways in which proper showers are better than SOBs:
  • They are easier and safer to use.
  • The proportions of the space are generally better.
  • They better lend themselves to sexual shenanigans.

And how showers are better than baths in general:
  • They take up less room.
  • They are most cost-efficient.
  • They are better for the environment, using less water and less electricity.
  • It's quicker to have a shower than a bath.
  • You're not swirling around in your own filth.

In fairness, I should now consider the advantages that a SOB has over a proper shower:
  • You get the choice of shower or bath without needing space for both.
  • Only one area to clean, and (in some cases) one of set plumbing to go wrong.

My counter-argument to the first of these is that I have to compromise the quality of one of the facilities (the shower) in order to gain the option of the other (the bath). But I use a shower every day, and almost never use a bath, so the compromise isn't worth it. As for the other point, if I only had a shower, I wouldn't need to worry about cleaning the bath anyway, and showers are often plumbed separately from the bath, even with a SOB.

To complete the picture, here are the advantages of baths over showers in general, as I see it:
  • You can more readily relax and unwind in a bath.
  • They're better, and may be essential, if you have kids.
  • They tend to be better for people with impaired mobility.
Personally, as an able-bodied person who doesn't have kids, I don't find these reasons especially compelling. We have a bath in our house in Auckland, and I've used once. I would rather get rid of it and get a really good shower. Babies are usually bathed in little tubs until they're a certain age, and when they hit that certain age, they can have a shower rather than a bath. I suspect - and I'll look for any lesbian readers to confirm or deny - that a romantic, candle-lit bath may feature more prominently in the lives of ladies who lick. I don't think I've ever done one of those - not least because we probably wouldn't both fit comfortably in the tub.

I'm hoping that over the next few years, the environmental argument will change public opinion, and the perception that estate agents have - that to remove the bath is to reduce the value of the property - will change accordingly. Then I can rip out the bath when we get back to Auckland, and turn the entire bathroom into a much more luxurious affair with a really good shower, and decent storage space - rather than squandering a load of space on a facility - the bath - that we simply don't use, and that deprives us of a lot of room.


Nick said...

Just rip it out anyway. After all, it's you who's living there and having to put up with the bath taking up all the room.

How much value can a tub add anyway?!

Tickersoid said...

Come to think of it, I rarely ever use my bath. I've got an S.O.B.

I've got enough space for a shower as well so may consider that in the future.

David said...

I'm a bath boy and can efficiently counter each argument presented, but would rather relax in a bath than do so.

Al said...

Apostrophe abuse alert!

Qenny said...

Al: thanks for the alert. Situation now remedied.

David: I would love to hear the counter-arguments. You must favour me with an airing of them sometime.

Tickersoid: obviously, I'd say go for it. I think in years to come it will add rather than remove value from a property.

Nick: I intend to, once we're back in NZ. I think we're planning some quite significant renovations.