Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Water Closet

I'm reading a book right now called Possession by A.S. Byatt. It's good--I've been meaning to read it for ages because several of my loved ones have recommended it over the years. It's name is actually "Possession: A Romance," which I think is a little bit silly because it's a "Romance" kind of like Jim Lehrer is an "Entertainer." Technically yes, many, many people watch The NewsHour on PBS every Sunday, and they enjoy it. But it's not entertaining, per sey. "Enriching" might be a better word. What I'm trying to say is that Possession is a "Romance" if you call endless talk about literary criticism romantic.

But enough about that.

What lead me to write about this is that last night I started thinking, "what is this book about? Because it's sure as sugar not very romantic." And as far as I can tell, Possession is really about Bathrooms. Every character's bathroom is described in the minutest detail. And Boy Howdy are there some fabulous bathrooms! My favorite is the bathroom in the castle with the mahogany toilet seat, hand carved and painted with woodland flowers--swoon! Anyway, once I discovered that the book should be called Possession: Some Bathrooms, I got really into it, because I love bathrooms.

I believe that in a bathroom, you glimpse the interior of a soul. Strong language, I know, but in my mind, taking a look around someone's loo is as telling as going through their garbage. What is their toothpaste management system? Do they clean their bathtub regularly? Close their shower curtain? Do they leave their toiletries out or squirrel them away in a drawer? Products can tell you a lot about how beautiful someone thinks they are vs. how beautiful they believe they may potentially become. A closed toilet seat means they might have pets.

So, thank you A.S. Byatt for validating my long-held belief that you get to know a person--really get to know them--through their bathroom. And as far as Romance is concerned, on a grey day in January, I begin to have romantic feelings about my bathtub, too.


  1. i find your adventures in blogging to be enjoyable, and second Hank's desire to see more. And i also have to do something about my bathroom now... i'm not sure i like what it's saying about me.

  2. I think your bathroom picture in this post is quite romantic, and the space the tub is in reminds me of the tennis courts in "Sabrina" where Sabrina hopes one day to meet David and fall madly in love. I'm not sure why- must be the windows. Do you know the scene I'm talking about? It is, in her mind, the most romantic place in the world. And now there's a wooden bathtub - what could be better?

  3. One day I went on a tour of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC principally hoping to feast my eyes on some high class claw-foot tubs. Boy was I disappointed to find that I could only catch a glimpse of the finest bathrooms in the reflections of strategically placed mirrors. Denied! I love baths. I went to a secret hot spring in costa rica the other night and closed my eyes and tried to pretend that it was a bathtub. Seems like a backward kind of fantasy. That is all. Love the blog-keep it coming!

  4. my bff once told me that if your household is cash-poor - you need to keep the toilet lid closed... not sure what this has to do with scruffy drinking out of the loo... but thought i'd pass this piece of feng shui (i assume) wisdom on...