Showers certainly have their perks. Quick and effective, they’re the utilitarian option, perfect for perking yourself up or washing off the day’s leftover residue, depending on when you decide to take one. And sure, on occasion they can be pretty damn indulgent. But when it comes to taking a load off, everybody knows that a bath is where it’s at.
The trouble is that somewhere along the way, taking a soak became the exclusive territory of only two groups: athletes and women. For the former, they’ve been approved for use in physically loosening muscles, keeping players limber between bouts. And for the latter…well, imagine scented candles, lime green facemasks and the soothing sounds of artists like Enya, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re getting at. That is to say, despite the fact that they just might be the best thing ever, baths have somehow been deemed untouchable to the average guy, unless he’s earned the right to take one by playing professional sports beforehand.
But frankly, that’s all bullshit. In this age of man buns and man braids, Jared Leto’s neon pink mane, and Ryan Reynolds playing a pansexual superhero, it’s going to take a lot more than the simple act of lounging in a vat of warm water to harm your hearty modern masculinity. So fear not, and fill up the tub; with the right formula—not too feminine, but not as sweat-and-blood tinged as a locker room hot tub—you’ll find yourself embracing bathtime in no time flat.
Like we said, baths are all about relaxation, so the most important thing you need to do here is get comfortable. Whether you’re setting up in a full-on jacuzzi or your apartment bathtub, make sure you’re able to at least sit with your legs stretched—otherwise, you’re basically just taking a shower.
As for light and sound, that’s all up to you. We personally prefer the overheads slightly dimmed, with the subtle metronome of water dripping from the faucet as a soundtrack. But who are we to judge if candles and Norah Jones are your thing? You do you.
Here are a few things that it wouldn’t hurt to have on hand before you hop on in:
Let’s start with temperature, shall we? What you’re looking for isn’t scalding, but steamy enough that it’ll open your pores and sinuses. Pro-tip: crank the heat as high as you can comfortably stand it, then go just a touch higher—the tub’s going to cool the moment you get in it, so the higher the temperature at the start, the longer you can go before needing to refresh the water.
As for additives, epsom salts are a classic choice, great for easing tension and alleviating pain from sore muscles and pulls. If you’re looking for something more decadent, brands like Molton Brown make muscles soaks with the same basic purpose and formulation, plus the addition of heady, masculine scents like birch and incense.
Oh and don’t even think about adding bubbles. This isn’t that type of bath.
What To Do
Just be, friend. Feel your legs float. Play with the tides inside your tub. Don’t pay bills or answer emails. Unplug. Destress. Relax.
That is the whole point, after all.