Do men take baths?
Or, why is it that in American culture, anyway, you rarely see images of men taking baths? There are plenty of advertisements (& not just for bath products) which feature women relaxing in a bath. There are images of kids taking baths, I suppose because they're easier to supervise than showers. And certainly, in regions/cultures/time periods where there aren't showers, everyone takes baths.
But I realized last night as I was scrubbing the bathtub that I've never heard one of my male friends mention taking a bath. My father never took baths, as far as I know. Yet I happen to know that plenty of my female friends do choose baths at least some of the time.
I can't think of a single film scene of a man in a bathtub. I mean your regular bathtub -- not a jacuzzi, hot tub, sauna, or steam bath (all of which are sometimes very male spaces).
What's up with this? Is it just about menstrual cramps? Or are baths too soft and cozy and thereby feminine? Showers are fast and efficient and therefore manly? There's a Friends episode about masculinity anxiety where Ross goes too far in a conversation with Joey & Chandler (when they were worn out from going out with a visiting pal) -- they're talking about being "old" (at almost-30-something) and preferring quiet evenings -- and Ross says something like "and if we want to just stay home and take a bath and listen to Kenny G, that's OK" and Joey says "We're not women." I always thought it was a joke on Kenny G. But maybe it's also about men's secret desire to take relaxing baths? are men feeling shut out from bathtime rituals?
I have never seen bath gel, foam, oil, milk, or other products marketed specifically to men. (Though I haven't been looking for them, either.) A quick web search reveals D&G makes a "masculine bath gel" and Caswell-Massey makes something called "bath gin" packaged in a liquor-like bottle. But both of these are gels -- which can be used to lather up in a shower, too. No bubbly, foamy, milky liquids for the guys, oh no. It does appear that luxury hotels, which offer "bath menus" include a "masculine bath" option, but I don't know what that includes. But what about the guys at home, who shop at Target or Walgreens? Do they not take baths just because they don't have Surf & Sport Musky Bath Oil to lounge around in?