Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 13, 2004

When a woman needs to unwind, there's only one way to go

 •  Previous About Men/Women
 •  Join our About Men/Women discussion

By Keiko Ohnuma
Advertiser Staff Writer

Ladies, it's your night off. The man is out of town, the kids are at your mother's, and you've got a whole delicious evening to do something just for you, to pamper yourself.

Quick — what are you going to do?

I know: The "pamper" gave it away. You are going to take a bath.

Light some candles, put on soft music, pour in the bubbles or oils or grapefruit peels. Exfoliate and slather on that avocado pack. Get out your orange stick.

No matter what ails you, Woman, the solution is the same. Calgon, take me away!

What is it with this bath thing, anyway?

You never read an advice columnist telling a man to go take a bath. Fired from your job, drowning in bills? Do something nice for yourself — go take a bath.

The man on television is never in the bathtub unless he has been waterlogged by domesticity. There are diapered toddlers splashing him, and he's yelling at his wife to get him a towel. He is a loser.

No, the man on television is properly standing in the shower. Upright, shaving, ready to tackle the day. It's always morning and there's plenty of steam. There could be some cheerful cartoon spirit guides to aid him in the choice of grooming product.

Alternatively, the man might escape it all by slapping up his buddies in the steam room, telling round, fleshy jokes.

Not the woman. She is not in the tub with friends. There are never kids around. The woman is luxuriously alone, stroking her arms with moisturizing suds.

Now, I like baths as much as the next woman — probably a whole lot more. The steaming ofuro has been a tradition in my family ever since we left the old country. Countless times I have traveled hours to that hot-spring resort, taken whole evenings — whole weekends — propped in the hot tub among strangers, cooking into a bloated, pink sponge.

Yet for me, the bath is basically a white flag of defeat. I get in because I am want to soak off this dirty world and send it down the drain. I want to boil my bones clean and pick off the cooties of social intercourse infesting my skin.

I want to lie steaming on a clean white sheet, panting like a trussed turkey on the buffet table. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

The beautiful white noise droning out all thought — beta waves or high blood pressure, your pick.

The comatose sleep that drags me under the crashing wave, promising I will never again awaken to this crummy life — or at least not till a long time from now.

Nothing draws me at such moments to create a sacred space for myself, write in my journal, get to know those neglected erogenous zones or push back my cuticles.

No, what I seek is comforting death — the rewind button to the watery beginnings of this whole terrestrial mess.

Alas, evil Morpheus whispers gleefully in my ear why we women are always being sent to take a bath. So we can awaken fluffy fresh, attitude wrung clean, better to soak up the next massive dose of stress.

Reach Keiko Ohnuma at kohnuma@honoluluadvertiser.com.