The bubbly chronicles...
One of the most delightful moments whenever I visit a super-market, is spending at least half an hour browsing the bath products shelves. I hugely enjoy handling the bottles and reading their labels before popping or unscrewing their lids open and sniffing what's inside. Sometimes I wish there was a testing bathroom available somewhere in the vicinity, but I usually don't dare to announce such thoughts in other people's presence.
I won't delve into the mysteries that are supposed to make shower gels differ from bath foams and body washes differ from bath creams for a very simple reason. I don't believe there are any differences at all, no matter what their manufactures might claim. I have used all kinds of them through the years and the result was always the same. Lots of bubbles. And truth be told, I think this guy shares the same beliefs with me, albeit a slightly overkill version of them.
I'm living in my own house since 2010. This means that for almost a quarter of a century I was living on rent. Do you know which was the most important thing to look for in each of the five appartments I've lived in during this period? The availability of a bathtub. This may sound strange, but for me the most important rooms in any given house are the ones where unroutine things are likely to happen. And bathing was never a routine in my book. It seems that the reptilian remains of my brain are still haunting me with an innate fear that I won't be able to regulate my blood temperature by myself during times of extreme temperatures. Thus I always feel the urge to use water as a cooler/heater. And I savour doing it more than words can say.
Yeap, this could be me...
Although 95% of Greek houses are equipped with the typical rectangular bathtub, it doesnt bother me at all since it's what's inside that usually counts. However I admit that I'd love to use one of these sometime, just for the heck of it.
Of course the above statement of "class" doesn't go very well with any use of a bathtub that doesn't include being naked while inside it. I can't imagine how washing your clothes in it would look like if your washing machine has kicked the bucket. It would also look somewhat bizzare if you had to keep your garbage in it due to a long strike of waste collectors as it was often the case in my part of the world some years ago. But in any case, this Levi's commercial fell like a bomb during the '80s, blowing the connection between bathing and nudity to smithereens.
Due to the low resolution (apologies) I have to inform you that what the guy is holding is a bottle of beer which always seems to add some extra points to oh-my-gosh-I'm-so-coolness. Some years later, thousands of Greek mothers would be startled by finding the same pair of jeans in the fridge during hot summer days, as another commercial was prompting Greek sons to do, but that's another story.
The bathtub commercial's repercussions however are still reverberating as we speak, although some ladies are obviously doing it wrong.
For chrissakes ladies, although I assume that the '60s bathroom is optional, it still takes a pair of jeans and a beer for the damn thing to work!
Now, I've never been a fan of indoors showering. And while being drenched under heavy rain or a small cascade is a completely different story, most of the times I find regular showering tiresome and it bores me to death. Which is not always a metaphor as Janet Leigh could certainly assure you. Although the shower scene from Psycho is a classic of the horror genre, I can't help but speculate what should have possibly happened if little lady Marion had a bathtub available.
On the other hand I find preparing a bubble bath a very charming ritual, whether it's from me or for somebody else. Or for both me and somebody else. I always try to arrange even the slightest details, so that nothing can distract me after entering my splashy kingdom. None of my friends does it, not even once a year. They think of it as something invented for females and they consider it a time-consuming unneeded luxury. I have been begging to differ for my entire life, not being able to understand how they're missing such a rapture.
What could possibly be more relaxing than soaking slowly in a scented avalanche with a glass of wine and a fine cigarillo? No, not like this.
I prefer my bathroom lit by scented candles rather than by muzzle flashes of submachine guns. Even if the second case offsets the clatter by including Michelle Pfeiffer.
The intimacy of sharing a tub during a bubble bath is one of my staple feel-good experiences, for it's as "slippery" as they come. It can turn erotic, it can initiate confessions, but it can also produce huge bubble waves generated by thunderous laughter. Or it can just be a halcyon period of absolute quietude and contemplation. In any case, only good things can come from having a long and delicious bubble bath. Jean-Paul Marat and his rather serious misfortune don't count...
No matter what I've gone through during a day, as long as I make it home my bathtub is always the place to wash every strait away. Hot scented water is one of the most effective crisis erasers humankind has ever invented, even though it's of no permanent effect. But still, one hour without thinking that you're 200€ short of the 300€ you need to have your wheels keep rolling is one hour without thinking that you're 200€ short of the 300€ you need to have your wheels keep rolling. Just look at her!
She might or she might not just have discovered that her boyfriend was in another woman's bathtub yesterday, but doesn't she look like she's ready to face the final frontier of either space or cuckoldry?
Sometimes even miracles or superheroic antics can occur, and I don't mean flying with the shower curtain wrapped around your neck because you stepped on the soap.
Contributing some more fun to the fun factor, there are also some bizarre, to say the least, bath products out there, and some of them could give a heart attack to anyone entering the bathroom without knocking, while someone is having said fun in the bathtub.
While some other ones could steel the impression that the one bathing is damaged beyond all hope.
The choice of my bubble generator is one of the most important choice amongst all household items, for it's what charges my batteries the most. Despite the huge variety of bathing products, I've managed to choose seven of them to talk about. They are my staples and a couple of them at least always has a place in my bathroom at any given time. I'd daresay that each of them could be allegoricaly perceived as representing a sin. I guess that philosophical connotations between religious beliefs and bath products is something marketing departments had never thought about. You're welcome...
I won't bother with the bath versions of famous designer fragrances because despite being widely available after the mid '80s they burst my bubble by being overly expensive for something used 3-4 times a week.
So here they come.
Lust - Hammam by Tesori d'Oriente
Hammam is kinky. It has a sybaritic, almost narcotic quality, not unlike a steaming half-naked odalisque, inveigling a foreign diplomat into following her in the pool, while the scandal awaits. I can't figure out how they managed to close the smell of steam and wetness in a bottle. I also can't figure out how it's possible that this beautiful oriental metallic engraved 500ml bottle costs under 5 euros. I guess it redefines "cheap thrills" by adding a certain amount of lasciviousness to the "bang for your buck" category.
Greed - Muschio Bianco by Tesori d'Oriente
I can't decide whether this vialled seduction is intoxicating or intimidating. I can't stress enough how much I love white musk, but this one literally makes me shiver every time I bring its aluminium bottle under my nose. And I keep doing it every time I enter my bathroom and I can never have enough of it. It smells of yearning and I'd swear its sweetened condensed milk-like texture glows in the dark. It has the bittersweet (not in olfactory terms) aroma of nostalgia for something you've lost although you never had it. I guess this is how slummin' angels smell like.
Sloth - Felce Azzura by Paglieri
I remember this one from a time when there was no "classico" distinction on its bottle, for it was the only version available. Although it's been around for at least 20 years and despite always enjoying its unusual scent, I started using it regularly just a couple of years ago. It carries a very peculiar olfactory quality, like some hybridic old-fashioned barbershop which suddenly started to sell spices too. I wish there was a cologne version of it.
Envy - Sultan of Mandu by Kings & Queens
It has a sour quality, like drinking cardamom tea next to a courtyard pool of green stagnated water under the vastness of the Indian sky. It was love at first sniff, and yeah, you guessed it right. It was discontinued and now it sells for 30 bucks on Ebay. 30 bucks. For a 300ml shower gel. I have two full bottles and I ocassionally rub some on my wrists, just like the way I'd do with a body lotion. Since it's viscid and undiluted, it lasts for a couple of hours, way longer than many expensive and braying contemporary designer fragrances.
Gluttony - Lait de Vanille by Le Petit Marseillais
If I had to choose only one vanilla version to smell for the rest of my life this would be definitely the one. It's creamy, dreamy and streamy, lush, hush and rush all in one under the sun. I don't know if there's a single person on Earth who doesn't automatically smile upon smelling vanilla, but if there is I can assure you it's not me. Many vanilla-scented products have an artificial plasticky smell, which is not bad per se but it's way away from the real thing. I suppose the culprit must be the synthetic vanillin used in most cases. This heaven-in-a-bottle however is packing some real Vanilla Planifolia extract from Madagascar and what's more, it comes with a Fairtrade certification, if we're to believe everything that's written on a bottle.
Pride - Bois de Cade et Fougère by Le Petit Marseillais
Its bottle reminds me of the original packaging of Jacomo de Jacomo and the way it smells reminds me a lot of vintage Drakkar Noir. Thus it comes as no surprise that it's the sole piece of Le Petit Marseillais line directly targeted for men. Smelling like a vintage powerhouse is a rather rare quality for cleansing stuff in 2016. All the more that this powerhouse lives in a shanty amidst the lush frondescence thriving under the towering trees of an ancient forest.
Wrath - Pino Silvestre by Weruska & Joel
Well, it's Pino "The Greeno" Silvestre, what else can I say? Bitter, harsh, and quarrelsome, just like a pissed-off Viking warlord, angrily kicking pine cones in a Scandinavian forest in winter. It's actually way more aggressive than the eau de toilette version, to the point I'd surely prefer their smells transposed. Despite being dirt cheap just like its more elegant brother, selling for about 2€ for a litre bottle, it doesn't smell cheap at all. On the contrary it smells very august, hinting that any male using it could only be of the kind related with the first letter of the Greek alphabet.
So this is it. Debates are always good when they smell good, thus I'd be glad to see one being kickstarted. I'm going to prepare my bubbly version of a Saturday night special now, and I'm sure it's gonna blast me away for one more time.