One day, I’ll have a bright, sunny house and a big bathroom with a huge window. I’ll have a vanity in it with all my makeup perfectly organized, a big bathtub, a shower, an armchair, and I’ll be able to listen to music and read there for hours while I do my nails and no one will be able to say anything about it because there will be a sign on the door in capital letters: DO NOT DISTURB.
Because right now, it’s ridiculous.
Why why why are bathrooms treated like they’re optional “if we have room in that back corner over there” rooms? It makes me think about kitchens. I’ve always loved kitchens, and I think it’s great that little by little, they’ve become the central part of the home. Today everyone knows the kitchen is where we spend our time – but that hasn’t always been the case. In older apartments, kitchens were tiny, dark places you accessed from a hidden door.
And now that’s what’s happened to bathrooms. In New York, I’m lucky to be able to rent a really big apartment – a loft in the East Village where we can even skate* in the living room…
But even so, the bathroom is small and there’s no window. It looks nice, sure – it’s newly renovated and has a big shower, but even so it still bugs me.
First of all, there’s nothing comfortable about it and as soon as I walk in, the first thing I want to do is leave.
Shaving my legs is a Pilates exercise all by itself (I have to balance on one leg, with the other at a right angle against the wall, and I always miss the spot behind my knees and the sides of my ankles, CLASSY)(and I love being able to shave in the bathtub with a sexy leg in the air like Marilyn Monroe).
Drying my hair makes me want to take another shower because the temperature in the bathroom gets so hot, and when I do my makeup, the lighting is actually TOO flattering*** which makes it very difficult because I think I look so amazing that if I didn’t know it was fake, I’d go out every day without a drop of makeup on (I’ve done it more than once and every time it was a total fail).
Oh and that’s not all, I could keep going for hours. There’s no place where you can see yourself from every angle, which means any secret hair removal operations (there are some hairs we don’t even admit having to our dog) have to be done outside the bathroom, in plain sight of the people living in the apartment (so for ultra-secret operations, I have to wait for my dear fiancé to leave the house)(which also means that one out of three times, the critical moment when I’m armed with my tweezers has passed) and as for my feet, well, I have to leave that up to professionals because…
Because I like to do those kinds of things in private.
But since I can’t, I’ve adapted as best I can, and little by little, I’ve allocated certain places in the apartment for my beauty routines. And it annoys me.
The sofa in my bedroom (yes, I have a sofa in my bedroom. I’m telling you, my apartment is huge…except for the bathroom) is for manicures whenever I decide to do my own nails, and it’s also for pore-admiring sessions in my magnifying mirror, which I use to get rid of any undesirable hairs on my face (sorry if I just made you think of Donald Trump talking about my face like that, and vive Hillary Clinton!!!)
The kitchen table with the big mirror (one day I bought a mirror for the living room and the delivery guy put it in the kitchen, and it hasn’t moved since – what? maybe I like watching myself while I eat) is where I dry my hair.
I do my makeup in the living room or in the kitchen. I have a vanity case (gorgeous, of course, totally gorgeous. It’s from Smythson and I feel like Audrey Hepburn when I pick it up by its little handle)(except that the inside has more of a Courtney Love ambiance (yeah, her again). I don’t know how I do it, but there’s always a makeup pencil (black, of course) that opens somehow and ruins the inside of all my toiletry bags) that follows me from my living room to the kitchen depending on the light that day.
And that leaves my kitchen sink, which is where I take my ba…
No, just kidding, of course. They make enormous showers now (what is the point of an enormous shower? Are you supposed to go for a jog in the shower?). So of course I have an enormous shower where a reasonably sized bathtub could have been, but no, it’s 2016, so huge shower.
[Brief environmental aside: unlike Arielle Dombasle, I don’t take a bath every day. I take a quick shower every day and a big, long bath once a week (well, I used to, back when I had a bathtub…tears) where I do everything – masks, scrubs, deep conditioning hair treatments, etc., etc. I told you all about that here in case you’re interested. So I promise, I’m not going overboard with my water use. Promise!]
Anyway, you can’t imagine how much I miss taking a bath.
You can’t even know how much I miss having a nice bathroom. In my old apartment, I had a beautiful little all white bathroom, with a little bathtub and a big window so I could hear the birds singing, and just ask anyone who came to visit, I was overjoyed and constantly singing its praises at the top of my lungs.
And…I was perfectly shaven.
Because for me, getting clean and making myself look beautiful is a moment of pleasure.
It’s like the kitchen, sort of, but a kitchen for yourself. It’s where you have a moment with yourself, where you love yourself, look at yourself. You can close the door on the rest of the world. It’s a moment of intimacy with yourself, a moment of solitude when there are so few, especially when you live with a partner, or with your family, or with roommates—those moments are actually pretty rare.
So there you go, I’m fighting to restore the bathroom to its former glory, and against football field-sized showers. What do you think? What is your bathroom like?
* Which is the minimum required, with all the skating I do.
** Yes, that’s a thing – light that’s too flattering. It’s like a circus mirror, but one that makes you look better. I can get up in the morning, totally dehydrated from drinking the night before, no makeup on (obviously) and still look like Bella Hadid in the lens of Boo George for British Vogue. Then I go in my living room, feeling confident, and shriek in horror when I discover the brunette version of Courtney Love looking back at me like a cat in headlights (me, but without the flattering lighting, in case you didn’t follow).
Translated by Andrea Perdue