The egg or the chicken? Which came first? Since all chickens hatch from eggs, it has to have been the egg, right? However, all chicken eggs are laid by chickens, thus it is indicative that it was the chicken. It is an age-old philosophical dilemma that has vexed some of the greatest thinkers in history. While I doubt my most recent philosophical impasse will incite the same level of debate, I feel it necessary to ask the question: What happened to the bathtub?
It really didn’t occur to me to question it until about a year ago while I was showing a client a newly built model home. Upon arrival into the master bathroom, I noticed that this room did not include a bathtub. My clients didn’t seem to notice. They were ecstatic about the oversized walk-in shower with dual shower heads, overhead rainfall and a frameless glass door with little or no threshold. I asked them, “Would you miss having a bathtub in the master?”
“No way,” they both replied, almost simultaneously, “Neither of us have time for that.”
I get it. While growing up, the only thing we had was a bathtub. With all 11 of us vying for tub time, it was my turn approximately three times a week, if I was lucky, with 2-4 inches of cold water to scrub up in for 3 ½ minutes with someone, almost inevitably, knocking on the door the entire time. As an adult, the tub became a luxury ... until child No. 1 came along. At that point, there would be no more private bath time for The Mom.
Honestly, it was just as well. When I think about swimming around in my own swill, oftentimes with a toddler’s hands playing in the same water simultaneously, it sounds like a bacterial Disneyland. Besides, between kids and work, I could no longer find time to bathe, nor to clean the bathtub after bathing. Even with soft water folks, the ring does not go away on its own. And the whole idea of a “ring” existing solely because of the dirt on my body, grosses me out. Why would I want to have contact with the nasty stuff twice in the same day? As it turns out, 91% of the current home building population feels the same way. If you are a bath lover, please, don’t take offense. My personal thoughts on the subject certainly do not make it a fact.
The missing bathtub is not the only change being made to the master bath either. Gone are the sliding glass (or faux glass) doors framed in brass tracking the outer edge of the tub. Post COVID, we will see a minimized need for toilet paper. Toilets will include bidets, seat warmers, auto lid openers, adjustable dryers and built-in deodorizers.
We have already begun inviting Alexa into our bathrooms with our Bluetooth-ready technology so we can start the shower before getting home, much like we start our cars before going out. Floating vanities, wallpaper and various shaped tiles are also making a big showing in newly built or remodeled homes as well.
In the past few months, I have seen a number of modest-sized chandeliers in the master bath too. However, you would be hard pressed to find a legitimate electrician who would hang said chandelier over the bathtub. In this case, the missing bathtub is a good thing. (On a side note, I have seen chandeliers hung over a free-standing master tub after the fact on more than one occasion.)
Yet, all of it comes back to the initial question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Do our behaviors change the home or does the home change our behavior? Consider the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets in the Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet.” Each family points the finger at the other for starting the feud; yet, frankly, there is no feud. No one remembers or cares how it started. However, both sides are so invested in their side being “right” that the argument perpetuates, much like the chicken and the egg, and, perhaps now, the bathtub and the shower.