full circle in the hundred acre wood

Have you been bathtub shopping lately? Buck and I have to decide what type of bathtubs we want in the new house. One is easy: it’s a tile shower, no tub. The second will be a plain shower/tub fiberglass unit. But the third. Ah, there’s the rub. . . a dub dub.

The third will be in the master bath  — or is it the mistress bath? Well, anyway, the big one, designed for such sybaritic pleasures undreamt of by mere mortals such as I. We planned to splurge on a nice big tub, long enough to stretch out full length with knee caps submerged.

But when I started looking at brochures and on-line sites for Lasco, Kohler, American Standard, and Jacuzzi, among others, I discovered something astonishing. People no longer take baths! What? That’s right. Mere baths may cleanse our physical bodies of the day’s dust and grime, but what about the wear and tear on our psyches? What about our emotional well-being?

How will the nicks and cuts inflicted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune be healed?  For that, my friends, one must purchase a bathing experience.

In this rough and tumble world of ours, a basic tub is insufficient and a traditional whirlpool may be too rough on our existential bruises. Not to worry! There is a bathing experience for every need, and if the photo layouts can be believed, a bottle of champagne and at least two glasses come with every tub, er, bathing experience.

Speaking of champagne, Lasco offers the Champagne Bubbler. It’s a bathtub, sort of, where you can experience “what luxury feels like: it’s the sensation of weightless suspension as thousands of warm bubbles from heated air rise from the bottom of our Champagne Bubbler. They refresh your skin, massage your body, and rejuvenate your spirit. They caress, tickle and delight. With the touch of a button, you control the massage options, including constant bubble action, wave mode and pulse mode, each with variable speeds.”  My goodness gracious. That bathing experience sounds like it might be illegal in at least three states, although I must admit it sounds pretty dee-lite-full.

MTI Whirlpools, a manufacturer of luxury bathing experiences, says it best in one of their brochures: “It’s all about you. What you like; what you need. Select the number and position of jets, and the hydrotherapy you want: whirlpool, thermo-air massage, neither or both. Even enhance your experience with soothing chromatherapy provided by underwater LED lighting effects.” Chromotherapy. Far out.

Acryline USA has a clever approach. They tailor their “masseur” systems to the bather’s personality and fitness level. For example, the “Aquamasseur System” is the equivalent of Lasco’s Champagne Bubbler, immersing bathers in a “flood of massaging bubbles.” Sort of like glamorous Scrubbing Bubbles, I guess. This is for bathers who are “stressed and hurried people who need to release the emotional burden of their day and free their spirit.”  For hardier souls, Acryline provides the “Healthmassuer System” with a “free-flowing warm air channel” which “creates a tremendous air velocity that results in an intermediate to highly vigorous massage. Bathers who choose this experience are typically very athletic or involved in an occupation that daily fatigues their body and they need to release the tension within their muscles as they free their spirit.” This one sounds like being Rolfed.

And finally, for the peak bathing experience, there is a unit offered by Jacuzzi that I have nicknamed The Primal Scream Bathing Experience. Instead of champagne on the side, it boasts an elegant sterling silver tray holding a bottle of tranquilizers on a handmade linen napkin. Jacuzzi calls this wonder the “Vizion” — and with good reason. It’s a sight to behold. According to their brochure’s copy, “while being massaged by 10 strategically placed hydrotherapy jets, bathers will be treated to a state-of-the-art entertainment center, complete with a high-definition, 10.4 inch flat screen television, DVD/CD player, AM/FM stereo and four surround-sound speakers. Furthermore, a unique floating remote control offers fingertip control of the jet system, television and underwater lighting.”  Really, you’ve got to check this one out. Click here.

Damnation, that’s great stuff. But the sad truth is, after twenty minutes in hot water, I turn into a wrinkled prune. That tends to affect my mood negatively and I’m afraid I might get all stressed out again. A prune in colored lights is still a prune.


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