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A Working-Class Man on Why He Can’t Live Without a Bubble Bath

What, you aren't man enough to bathe with Mr. Bubble?

As a foremost proponent of baths, I’ve always found exchanges like this on the Giant Bomb forum both hilarious and counterproductive. “So I just had a bath, I never have baths because my parents told me girls take baths [and] men take showers. But I really enjoyed that bath,” a commenter writes. “What do you think?”

Some of the surprisingly supportive (and manly) responses (sic throughout):

  • “Who cares? Do what you like if it makes you happy.”
  • “I prefer a bath myself, it really helps to relax after a long day of work.”
  • “The Romans used to have baths all the time, and they were manly as fuck.”
  • “Have you seen the Good the Bad and the Ugly? Tuco takes a bath and it was badass.”
  • “Dude, take a bath. It’s awesome. Just don’t pee in it.”

Another commenter helpfully points out that bubble baths weren’t too girly for Tony Montana in Scarface, in which he can both chill and still be his raging lunatic, homicidal self:

FWIW: I find baths to be supportive of both my mind and body’s overall well-being. Not to mention, studies show that regular soaks (that aren’t excessive in length) can soothe your muscles, improve your mood and lower your levels of cortisol. Also—and maybe most importantly given the topic at hand—my love of baths came in large part from my dad Jeff, a 57-year-old L.A.-born sheet metal worker and mechanic who wrenches on a dozen cars a week, carries all of my bags and scales ladders daily with enough cumbersome shit that there’s always a significant chance of falling.

In other words, if you don’t think of baths as something “real men” who smoke cigarettes, guzzle whatever liquid is put in front of them and ignore doctors do, he’s here to tell you you’re mistaken. Or as he tells me…


I take at least a couple of bubble baths per week. I don’t think a lot of guys in my field do, but there are probably more than who admit to it. As someone who uses my body so much for work but doesn’t really take care of it otherwise, baths are the main way that I tend to it. They make my body hurt less and just relax me in general.

Plus, I always took baths as a child. I had lots of toys in there, like wind-up rubber-band submarines and boats and little frogmen like Jonny Quest and Aquaman, who had batteries in them and could swim around. I was as filthy then as I am now—I started working at a garage when I was 13. I love automotives and usually have some sort of motor oil on me, but before that, I liked bicycles and dirt.

My dad never took baths. I don’t think he ever would have. He was ex-Navy and had that “too macho” attitude to take a bath. I stopped taking baths for most of my teens and adulthood—probably because of that. But I started up again when I turned 30. I was living in a new place with a tub where I felt really comfortable. And I like the solitude. I love having the ability to think about whatever I want to think about and not be interrupted.

There’s also the reality that sometimes I just get so dirty that I have to soak in a bath. The grease just won’t come off in the shower. I’ve always had to use special soaps to scrub that stuff off, too. Comet, Dawn and Tide all work. When I was a kid, I used Lava, which was like a pumice stone with a little soap in it. These days I like Simple Green. It’s biodegradable, which means it’s healthy.

I don’t have a favorite brand or smell of bubble bath. Whatever’s around will do. I do prefer having bubbles though. I don’t play with them or anything, like how I’d make myself a beard with them as a kid. I do, however, like having them as a modesty barrier in case someone walks in. I grew up sharing a bathroom with a lot of siblings, so that was always a concern.

I love reading in the bath, but the humidity doesn’t do paper any good. It curls it up, and books and magazines don’t survive. Not that it stops me. And so when I’m in there, I always read Scale Auto Enthusiast, which deals with model cars. Usually, I’m checking out the used cars and automotive products. I also look over a lot of technical manuals. That’s why my dream bathtub would have a fold-out bookshelf so you could have your book right in front of you. It’d be a nice, big tub, not necessarily marble, but definitely some kind of smooth, polished stone. It would have a couple of steps leading up to it as well. Basically, it would be like a big fountain, but actually a bathtub. I’m not talking about a jacuzzi though. This would be indoors and have little headrests in order to read comfortably.

On a much more technical note, I do all my own plumbing—and usually pull it off, although it isn’t my professional trade. So at the very least, running a bath in my own tub gives me a chance to stay on top of how all the pipes are working.