A bath should be taken in hot water, but not scalding. Bubbles should only be used in the evening and if bubbles are used, your hair should not touch the water until the very end of the bath.

Baths without bubbles should be taken in the morning or late at night, especially after being out in the rain. If you have short hair, you should wear a cowboy hat in the bath. If your hair is long, you should separate it into two braids but not tie them off at the ends.

If your bathroom is clean, you should use a perfumey and luxurious soap. If your bathroom is old and cracked, you should use plain white or brown soap, the kind you can buy in an economy sized pack. Candles should generally be reserved for bathing with another person, and bubbles and candles should never be used together. Likewise, wine should never accompany a bubble bath and when part of a straight bath should be drunk directly from the bottle. Hard liquor in the bath must be reserved for baths immediately following major personal cataclysm.

For at least twenty minutes, you must either soak or read in the bath, but cannot begin the washing process until that period of time has elapsed. In summer, you should bathe with a window open. If your bathroom has no windows, you should always take bubble baths.

Do not move quickly in the bath. You should hear the water lap, but never splash, unless you're having sex in the bath.

Do not underestimate the thrill of smoking while bathing.

A good bath is sexy but solitary, and never excessively frou-frou. Your soul gets cleaner than your body. You're swimming in your own juices. Remember to take slow baths. Hurried baths will leave you sore and bitter. Don't stay in the bath past the point at which you become noticeably pruney; this diminishes the experience. Don't let anything interrupt your bathing.
Don't use bubbles unless you're prepared to use loads. There should be a thick and generous layer which won't dissolve into pathetic wannabe teenage bubbles in 15 minutes.

Eating in the bath is allowed but should be limited to bite size goodies - bonbons, truffles, cherries, but never ever crisps.

Don't listen to music while in the bath, unless you're using bubbles and then it has to be bossa nova. A bath is a silent experience, like being under water or in the womb. Everything but the lapping of the water should be muted.

By all means read in the bath, but only light reading or bad romance novels. It's a relaxing experience, not a time to do battle with Nietsche.

Only bathe with the windows open during daylight unless you're in a very hot climate in which case take baths out of doors.

Plastic is the natural enemy of bath goodness. Plastic ducks, plastic immitation loofas and, Lord forgive them, plastic shower caps are the spawn of the dry parched devil.

prole: Cowboy hat??

When preparing a bath, it is important to swirl the water during the whole of the preparation of the bath, to get an even heat around the bath, but not to enter the bath until it is full. The temperature of the bath should remain constant throughout the bath, so every 5 minutes or so add some hot water. Don't wait too long, and then add a lot of hot water at one go. Your body should be immersed in water of even temperature throughout.

Feel free to add bath oils to the bath. However, be sure to mix them correctly. Don't mix oils for soothing muscles(such as Marjoram), with erotic oils (such as Ylang ylang), for example. Only use oils which are compatible with one another. Don't use oils in the bath if you intend to take a bubble bath, except for Eucalyptus, and, possibly, Orange, on a sunny day. If your bath receives direct sunrays, avoid Mint in any case.

Don't bring any animals into your bath with you, especially not if you wish to wash them. Except of course a fish, and then it should only be a fish that has lived with another fish inside a fishtank for at least 24 days. The fish should not be larger than the palm of your hand.

Once in a while, you can put your entire head underwater, tilt it back, and make a "whooshing" sound with your nose. When your ears are underwater, you can hardly hear anything outside. When taking a bath with another person, make sure they are not a member of your family, or you could get arrested. Also, try to pick someone you will enjoy taking a bath with. Don't just take a bath with anybody.

Bubbles in a bubble bath should be between 0.5" and 1.2" wide. Make sure all your bubbles are that size.

Most importantly, and surprising that prole and TheLady forgot: you should be naked while taking a bath.

the right way to take a bath depends upon whether you are in a celebrative mood, i.e. before a party, or whether your bath is an occasion unto itself.

if you are having a twilight pre-party in your bathtub, you must consider what is appropriate music. the music should be upbeat or irreverant, partyish & energising. think cool jazz and j-pop. some songs to consider might be "cute" by count basie; "twiggy twiggy" by pizzicato five; or perhaps old favourites from the pulp fiction soundtrack.

i disagree with thelady about the rule of no music during baths. (and so does radlab0 i know, because she has created mix-tapes for her & a friend to bathe together by). also, anybody who has watched sesame street knows that rubber duckies and loud singing is the only way to go.. "rubber duckie, you're the one.. you make bathtime so much fun.. rubber duckie i'm awfully fond of you.." while i agree with the foetal nature of the bath, i also know there are some very appropriate songs for this type of occasion. if your bath is in the name of meditative relaxation, you must listen to teardrop by massive attack. there is no other choice. you might also like amphibian by bjork or ce matin la by air.

one thing to take into account is the questionable nature of your cleanliness after a bath. kramer from seinfeld summed up the conundrum quite eloquently: "it's disgusting. i'm sitting there in a tepid pool of my own filth. all kinds of microscopic parasites and organisms having sex all around me." to get around this you might decide to have a quick shower before and/or after your bath. i choose both, but if you only want to have one shower, the most pleasant option is probably to have one beforehand.

now one must consider atmosphere. i arrange lilies or tulips in a simple, clear glass on my window ledge. i have a large glass urn with a single goldfish on my bathroom tiles. a silly aquarium might also be appropriate. it's important to capture as much of the watery feeling as you can; to feel the full effect of splashes and beaches. little fishes are good company. speaking of company, i also like to have a telephone in the bathroom. but not just any telephone, one of those old school hollywood numbers you see in the 1950's films. now is the time to catch up on idle gossip with your girlfriends. it is also nice to have a pet plant, and to bring it also into your bathroom, to share the experience. you can chat, and you can sprinkle your own bath water in it's own soil. ah, bonding.

since the bath experience is also a sensory experience, it is imperative to have scented candles alight, or lots of little tealights, sleeping and swaying. and lots of goopy & pretty bath products. bath toys, ducks, pearls, confetti, limp balloons; these are all good options. you should make a special trip to the body shop or lush beforehand to collect such items as bath milk for the cleopatra touch, and bath salts for that sea feeling. bath bombs are also effervescent & tingly and exciting.

foods are very important. i generally agree with thelady that bite-sized foods are better, however there are so many gorgeous and appropriate bathtime foods which fall outside of this category! the key is, you are sampling and indulging in foods, not eating a meal or bingeing. a plate of grapes, cherries, berries, plums, and slices of melon are by far the best choice. mangoes are sublime because you can rub your body with the pulpy seed after eating it; it is so good for your skin. imported chocolates are a nice choice, as are ice cream cones, assorted sorbets, and sherbert. of course, you must have pretty crockery and curly dessert forks! these are handy for things like lemon meringue pie, and pink iced tea cakes.

i am a firm believer that vodka should only ever be indulged in during a bath, and only ever poured into a kitsch tea cup. this is the time to revel in effervescence! champers, bubbles*, lemonade; it all fits in with the bath theme. * a bubble blowing set is also a cute idea. bubbles everywhere! also, liquids are essential to imbibe during a bath, especially if it is a particularly hot bath. try and make sure to drink at least one full glass of water to avoid dehydration.

media is also something i like to play around with while in the bath. i have a little t.v. in my bathroom which i think is imperative. it is so relaxing to watch sex and the city whilst soaking. some good films to watch would include disney films (most especially, the little mermaid), the last unicorn, anything light-hearted and simple, like films from the fifties (but not hitchcock!!) as for reading material, the most fanciful things you can find are the most obvious best. "alice in wonderland" is a classic; i always feel like i am in some underwater tea party. "the little prince" is on the same par as alice, being dreamy and fantastical. fashion magazines are lovely, being very very visual and therefore sensuous without much thought.. you do want to clear your brain of at least everyday, linear, logical thought patterns.

one thing i like the idea of trying is self hypnosis. submerging your head in the water & floating, suspended almost (if your bathtub is large enough), is very much like the womb, timeless, heartbeats, weightless. i'd like to feel hypotised and perhaps regress back into my own memories of being in my mother's womb. whether this is possible or not one can only wait and see!

if you have long hair you must know how unbelievable it feels to have your hair gently sway all by itself underwater. you must let this occur. it feels very mermaid-ish and swimmy, your head is softly tickled. if you do not have long hair, you will never know.

painting is a perfect option. especially with watercolours. stick paintbrushes in your hair.

bathtime is my favourite time to write journal entries and love letters. your mind is very tangential and relaxed and freeform, so streamofconsciousness is definitely the mode you will be in. you will write fragrant wisps of dissipating dreamstuff, messages to be put in bottles, and odd lists, tiny poems. it is heaven to write on paper with wet edges. it feels like papyrus; you can imagine reed & song. ink pens are also desirable. now is the time to decide how to make supermarket shopping an extravagance, & in fact to make everyday things seem very dreamy indeed. i like to plan my next day's meals down to the plates and spoons i will use, i like to figure out my body problems on some sort of jewelled calculator, i like to decide what i shall wear when i get out of the bath*.

* i recommend flimsy sorts of petticoats, ribbons in hair, sensual fabrics like chiffon and silk. and contrary to what footprints claims, you need not be naked in the bath! it is such fun to wear pretty lingerie in there, or perhaps just some ballet slippers ribboned to the knee. letting things go soft with wetness is a delight. wearing jewels in the bath is also a deluxe thing, diamonds and also vending machine rings.

when you are done, give your dishes a bubble bath. they must be cleaned too, and you will be in the mood for such an exciting chore now :)

In Japan, the right way to take a bath is very important to know, as it differs from the western way. Baths are usually taken in public bath houses (sentou) or natural hot springs (onsen). There are of course apartments with their own tubs, but the usual process is the same everywhere.

Part I: The utensils!

First of all, a list of things to bring to the bathhouse.

Some provide these things for free or rent, but it's always better to bring your own.

Part II: The preparation!

When entering the bathhouse, you remove your shoes, and put on your indoor slippers. You put the shoes into a small cupboard, which usually can be locked. Then you go up to the counter, and pay the fee, usually 400 Y, and enter one of two curtains. Be careful, though, as this is not Monty Hall. You don't get to choose, one passage is for male only, one is for female only. Which is which may change from day to day, so watch out. Usually the color coding and kanji help.

Then you undress (fully), put your stuff in a basket, take the small towel and your cleaning utensils, and enter the main bath room. When moving about, always remember to hold the small towel in front of your you-know-what, so as not to shock the other patrons! You sit down an a small chair in front of a tap, and start cleaning yourself thouroughly:
  • Using a small wooden or plastic bucket, you wet your body.
  • Use soap and use it generously, everywhere on your body.
  • Don't forget your back (here the small towel comes in handy), your feet, toes, neck, ears, genitals, crack, etc.
  • Rinse once more using the bucket.
  • Rinse some more, until there is no soap left.
  • Repeat as needed (and then some!).

After thoroughly cleaning yourself a couple of times (this should take you upward of ten minutes at least) and making sure once more there is absolutely no dirt or soap anywhere near your body, you wash out your small towel and approach one of the pools. But be absolutely sure to be perfectly clean at this point. For safety, best go for two more rounds of cleaning yourself.

Part III: Finally, the bath!

Done? OK, now is the time to enter the tubs. Be careful, these are hot! Also remember to take care not to put the small towel into the water. It remains outside, near yourself, or rests folded up on your head. Never in the water!

Now you soak until you've had enough. You deserve it after scrubbing your skin raw. You should keep quiet, as loud talking is considered impolite/rude, but it might be all right if only you and your friends are there. Just enjoy the hot water. There usually are various pools one can switch between, and sometimes a sauna, which alwas costs extra (to be paid in advance on entry of the sentou). Usually these pools are: Hot, piping hot, are you mad?, cold, electroshock (yep, just like peeing against an electric fence, and moonview (even if there is no way to see the sky from that pool). Sometimes there also is an outside pool, called rotenburou, which is very refreshing with the fresh and colder air to freshen you up, whilst your body is still soaking. These are very nice.

Part IV: The End:

When you finally had enough, and feel well all around, you exit the pool, wash yourself once more (or take a quick shower), and exit the main bath room. After letting off steam for a while in one of the provided seats (don't forget where to put the small towel...), you get dressed. After that, go home, and try to avoid catching a cold, as I almost always do...

All right, you've done it, you've successfully taken a Japanese bath without offending the locals.

Oh, before I forget, there is a couple of other rules to keep in mind, which are displayed near the pool, but these are not worth mentioning, I think. Or would you think of doing your laundry in the pools? Thought so...! Although someone must have done it at some point... Makes one wonder, doesn't it?

A weeknight sound track.
Wednesday-Thursday, Midnight - 1am
← Wednesday 23:00-00:00 :: Thursday 01:00-02:00 →

  • Lemon Jelly - His Majesty King Raam - 7:20
  • A bath is a chance to escape to another world. To relax and soak away the worries of the day. A shower may be invigorating, but a bath should be calming. It should also be fun!

  • Serge Gainsbourg / Howie B - Ballade de Melody Nelson - 7:06
  • You must not have to worry about being disturbed. A proper bath takes time and you can never know how long each will be. Who can say what important games you will need to play, or how long your daydreams may last. For this reason, I like to bathe at night. This is why tonight's begins at midnight.

  • Aim - Good Disease - 4:23
  • "Make it blue!", she urged me. "I promise you won't become a smurf" I had to trust her.

    drip, drip, drop

    How wonderful to have a coloured bath! I do urge you to try it, if only to watch the drops of food colouring spread through the water.

  • Cannibal Ox - The F Word (Rjd2 remix) - 2:13
  • Bubbles are also good and even better with colour too. You can part the bubbles to see the colours of the water below, like a seal's air holes in the arctic ice. The bubbles themselves take on the palest colour.

  • Statik Sound System - Hazey Funk - 5:10
  • The best bubble bath comes in crumbly cakes from Lush. I will admit, however, that I often forgo both bubbles and colour, in order to fully appreciate the most wonderful bath treat, also from Lush: the bath ballistic. Like a giant Alka Seltzer for your bath, the size of a tennis ball. It fizzes around the tub releasing luscious smells and goodies such as flower petals, slices of fruit, even glitter and streamers.

  • Röyksopp - Poor Leno - 3:57
  • You must also blow bubbles in the bath some time. Slip back and blow them up into the air. Watch them dancing in the thermals. Race them against each other. Will they reach the ceiling?
    Watch them
                       bounce twice

  • Nightmares on Wax - Thinking of Omara - 5:34
  • Some baths are best in silence, it is true, but the right music makes the best better. Like the bath itself, I prefer tunes that are relaxing, fun or just pretty. Music that takes me on imaginary journeys to far off lands are even better, for bathtime is a perfect time to let your mind wander.

  • Frou Frou - Hear Me Out - 4:19
  • Singing is good too! Just make sure you don't sing too loud in the middle of the night. A friend sent me two mix CDs recently. This track is off one of them and is a current favourite for me to sing along to.

  • Patsy Gallant - It'll All Come Around - 4:25
  • The danger of a wandering mind in the bath, especially one fuelled by interesting reading matter, is that a sudden burst of inspiration will cause you to want to jump out of the bath. Or is this just me? Anyhow, this urge should be resisted! Don't cut your bath short. Let your idea develop. Maybe a little pencil and pad would be helpful to write the escaping thoughts down and trap them for later.

  • Talvin Singh - Butterfly - 4:26
  • Sometimes, particularly at night, I may drift off to sleep while lying back in the bath. I wonder if one day I'll slip right under the water and drift away for good? Who can tell how long these little sleeps are. Hard to say, because time should not be on your mind when bathing.

  • Miles Davis - Concierto De Aranjuez (Pt. 2) - 3:33
  • My hair is usually kept fuzzy-short. While it is fun to run fingers across the wet stubble, making it spray a fine mist that falls back onto my face, long hair comes into its own in the bath. With my hair a little longer now, I can enjoy the feeling of submerging my head and letting my hair drift in the currents.

  • Gotan Project - Epoca - 4:28
  • The bath will be getting cold by now. Before getting out, I like to warm it up. Feel the hot water spreading around you and close your eyes. Imagine you are in a hot country with the bright sun shining down on you.

  • Caetano Veloso - O LeĆ£ozinho - 3:06
  • ← Wednesday 23:00-00:00 :: Index :: Thursday 01:00-02:00 →

    A bath is definitely one of the most important things a human can do in a day. I have these fantasies of the perfect bathroom to make that important soul cleansing event as magical as it can be. The tiles of the toilet are black-and-white retro and the walls which will constitute the main atmospherical feel of the place are dark orange and evil-pink for a warm, crazy feeling or dark purples and green and aquamarine for a cool undersea feeling. The walls must be lined with pictures of people whom you like, but you don't know. Do not put up pictures of your parents or siblings, grandparents or relatives. Only put up pictures of your lover or famous people whom you love. For me I would put up The Beatles. This is for the purpose of looking at their grinning (or not grinning) faces, for the psychedelic or minimalistic artful nature of the pictures to inspire you in bath, and to whisper to them while bathing. (or play some of their songs and sing along-She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah!) Be sure to have some acrylic paint so that you can paint on the walls you can reach while having a bath. And you will be inspired to paint or say the most crazy things or observations like 'wow my pubic hair floats'. A tv would be great, just like Margot of The Royal Tenenbaums does, one which she can turn off at a flick of a switch with her toe that is being painted. If you watch America's Next Top Model you can even use your bath bubbles to give yourself a mohawk and pose like Naima where no one can see how godawful your poses are.

    The only things that pain me about bathtime are (if you live with your family), you can't talk or sing without feeling self-conscious which kills the freedom a bath is supposed to give you. Also, living with your family means that the bathroom and bathtime experience will remain a fantasy. In other words, get away from your family and lead a solitary life, taking long baths and inviting people to take baths on the first date. Get to know each other in your tub. Will yourself not to allow this to lead to sex and you might have attained the zen aspect of bathtime.

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