Friday, July 23, 2010

Question of the day: Heroes, heroines, tubs, the washing of the hair

I've seen this type of scene a few times, most memorably in Lara Adrian's Kiss of Midnight, where the heroine is taking a bath, and the hero comes in and he washes her hair while she is in the bathtub. I know I've come across it in other books, too, and I've always sort of liked it.

So recently, I thought of a fun and cool twist on such a scene in a book I'm working on (fun and cool to me, anyway! LOL) and as I was writing it out, I started thinking, gosh, after he lovingly shampoos her hair, she is going to have to rinse it, and the tub will be full of shampoo water. And what about conditioner? It will be like a tub of shampoo and conditioner, not to mention hair product and whatever grime was in her hair that made the hero think it was a good idea to wash it.

I think that a heroine's skin would feel really slimy when she got out of a bath like that. (Not to mention that her hair would not be all that clean, because let's face it, do you really think a typical hero is all that thorough in the hair washing department? Especially a vampire.)

Though, probably a vampire's technique would be superior to a werewolf's. A werewolf would probably just smush the shampoo around a little bit and think he was done.

Or maybe these heroines have sprayers and they rinse off. Maybe that is the technique and I've never lived in a house with a sprayer.

But, it seems yucky even just to sit in a tub of lukewarm water that is full of shampoo and conditioner for any amount of time. If I had a bath tub and no shower, I would simply wash my hair under the spigot; I would not submerge myself in the rinse water. I have heard that it is a Japanese custom to take showers before they bathe; it's not the worst idea in the world.

Is that fastidious of me? Am I hygiene clueless? Am I going to feel slightly naive after asking this question? Is this something people really do? Or it is a cleaning technique reserved for characters in books? And then writers like me say, I want to have my own damn bathtub-hero-heroine hair washing scene! And then it spreads from there?

Is tub hair washing a common thing? a thing that I have managed to get to adulthood not knowing about? Please Advise!

From Wikimedia Commons: Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), Bild 102-09247


Hilcia said...

LOL, vampires vs. werewolves? I don't know.... I DO find those scenes really sexy. A sexy man washing my hair is a grrrreat fantasy. Did you see Out of Africa? I loved that scene! (No bathtub, though)

Okay, are we assuming there's no shower and only a bathtub? Because my answer would be to rinse out (take a quick shower) after washing/conditioning your hair on the tub.

If not, hmm... let the scummy water out, run some fresh water, stand up and quickly scrub and rinse from the running water. Does that make sense to you?

Carolyn Crane said...

Hilcia, Thanks for your answer! Yes, I think I would do that, what you are suggesting.

But, is it a common thing? Do people wash their hair in tubs like that? Have you ever?

Anonymous said...

It isn't just you. I wonder about dirt and grime and hair products and shampoo & conditioner every time I read a scene like the one you describe. I don't like baths because I never feel clean after taking one, so I'm always surprised when chracters (or real people) think baths are the way to go.

...This makes me glad I live in a house too new to have an old clawfoot tub, frankly. Even having a sprayer like the one pictured wouldn't make it better for me. I'd always feel compelled to drain the scummy water and rinse either in a shower or in the tub. What a waste of water!

Moonsanity said...

I have thought of these things many times-- actually of the bathroom element in general. LOL Good to know I'm not the only one that thinks about things like this.

First, I love baths, but I don't take them when I'm grime covered. It's more of a relaxation thing--bubbles, book, etc. You are So right though as I've learned from giving baths to my kids when they were young. If they are dirty then the water ends up dirty. I don't wash my hair in the tub, but I used to wash the kid's hair in the tub. Oh wait, I rinsed it with a large cup and fresh water...yep, I remember now.

I think the THOUGHT of a sexy hair washing is cool, but the reality would not be as smooth or sexy.

The shower would work better I think, and is sexier. We don't even want to go there with my thoughts on sex in the shower though. It sounds good--but I'm thinking it might in reality be like a slapstick comedy. *snort*

Julie (Rumour) said...

LOL! I've thought the same thing about the yucky water every time I read one of those bath tub scenes! Not only do I consider the dirty water, but what about the hero getting water in the heroine's face! It's inevitable! And I'm sure she has yet to remove her makeup and that would just cause all kinds of runny mascara and eye liner mess! So you have a slimy heroine with dirty and soaking wet hair and mascara running down her face. But I bet she still has a smile on her face. Do we know why? 'Cause she's gonna get lucky tonight! ;)

Carolyn Crane said...

Star: I'm glad you wonder, too. And that is a good point! The waste of water! LOL.

Moon: Yes, exactly, they are sexy scenes! I'm using it anyways. Why not? On the shower thing, I understand shower handholds are not strong enough to support much weight. I remember a commenter here having first-hand experience with that.

Julie: Snort. Right! she will look like a bedraggled poodle! But, yes, you make a good point - She will get lucky! What's a little slimy bathwater?

Sullivan McPig said...

I must say I never thought about all this, but then again: I do not like taking baths unless they're mudbaths ;-)

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

I didn't know anyone over the age of about 5 or 6 even took baths any more.


Vampires are all about showers anyway. Otherwise the blood gets the water. Yuck.

And everyone knows a werewolf just runs through the sprinkler. I'm afraid he'd just get the hose and turn that on the heroine.

Jill Sorenson said...

Ha! I wash my kids' hair in the tub and often my own. So yes, people do this. And you're right, it isn't as clean as showering. My hair doesn't feel nice unless I rinse with fresh water.

You are so funny. Cat water, bath water.

On a related note, having my hair washed or brushed is so NOT one of my fantasies. I'd be like, step off, buddy! I love the nursemaid w/injured hero trope, but the reverse just doesn't do it for me. I'm too...type A.

meljean brook said...

Whenever I soak in the tub for any reason, I always take a shower afterward.

I used to wash my hair in the tub, though, when I was a kid. Not until I was older did I realize that all of the shampoo was in the water and wasn't being rinsed off. Now I can't take a bath without a shower following it.

Carolyn Crane said...

Sully: LOL. True to character!

Carolyn Jewel: Vampires and showers. Weres and sprinklers! I love it. Somebody has thought this one through!! Actually, I am really into baths in winter, but no hair washing happens during them.

Jill: Poor type A girl! LOL. I hear you on the hair brushing, too. That seems like a fast route to snarls and hair damage with a regular man, let alone a werewolf.

Meljean: Oh, that is sort of amusing that you take a shower after all baths. Though, if a person thinks about this hard enough, it can seem like a good idea.

Blodeuedd said...

I think it would be totally hot...but not so sexy of the water gets all icky

Tumperkin said...

Wow, you are all so fastidious! I feel like a peasant!

I wash my hair in the bath all the time and I DON'T SHOWER AFTERWARDS!

Could it be a water thing? I live in a soft water area where soap lathers and dissolves dirt very easily but I've noticed it can get a bit more - um - scummy in hard water areas.... Of course the down side of living in a soft water are is how long it takes to make a proper cup of builder's tea but that's another story.

Chris said...

Erm. I've never thought about this topic. Ever. I used to take baths when I lived someplace with a comfortable bath tub, but they were for relaxation.

Sarai said...

you could always have the hero wash her hair then while the tub is draining they could have a quickie in the shower?!? just saying if that was what I would do...

The water can drain while the shower is going

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Tez Miller said...

I used to wash my own hair while I was in the bath. I lose a lot of hair when I wash it, so not only would there be shampoo-scummy water, but there'd also be long strands of my high floating around the water, or sticking to my skin.

This would all be even more awkward if someone else was in the bath with me at the same time. So bathtub hairwashing scenes just don't work for me.

Hilcia said...

To answer your question CJ, yes I have! I do love to take baths... but I always shower right afterwards, lol! I also rinse my hair while I shower.

I know it doesn't make sense... but hmm... I love baths, they relax me. :D

Kaetrin said...

I like the IDEA of baths - you know, soaking your cares away for an hour or so - but when I get in, I get bored and too hot or my knees get cold so I'm outta there in about 10 minutes...

As to hair washing, I think it works in the historical books where there is rinsing water or in the shower rather than the bath.

I'm not sure I'd want my hubby to wash my hair though - what if he was too harsh or didn't scrub the scalp enough or he munched it up too much and made it impossible to brush after. Not romantic!!

Kaetrin said...

sorry - forgot to tick the follow-up comments box before

Marg said...

I am so not a bath person, but not for the reasons you talk about. I do find it interesting that so many people have a bath and then a shower. We have lived with water restrictions for years so I guess the idea of double dipping quite alien these days.

Carolyn Crane said...

Bldd: Best in the imagaination, I guess!

Tumperkin: Oh, funny. You peasant! Now I feel fastidious.

Chris: LOL. Aren't you glad for this thought provoking post?

Sarai: LOL, oh, you are SO practical!

Hilcia: Well, Meljean thinks it makes sense!

Kaetrin: Right, it would spoil the mood to have to re-do the hero's hair washing, likely for both of you. Though now I'm suddenly thinking that would be funny in a book.

Marg: You have a good point. We are probably the last generation to get away with this sort of thing.

Tez: Ah, the hair sticking to the body. A dimension I hadn't considered. Guh.

Mandi said...

I find it very romantic in a book when the hero washes the heroine...and usually if it is UF or even PNR - the person has been out running for their lives and REALLY needs a bath/shower so a little ick water is not going to hurt anything ;)

Karra said...

Ugh. I'm a stickler for hygiene in books. I typically can't read historical romances because of the whole "not bathing regularly" thing, and then when an author throws in a HIGHLY intimate scene ::cough:: he's-a-goin'-down ::cough::, I just cringe and recoil like I've been bitten. Ick.

I know, as a reader, I'm supposed to overlook those things, but I just can't.

So in regards to hair washing in the tub, yes it can be sexy if it's written right. Maybe he does the hairwashing, and then the tub's too small to get it on in, so they decide to shower afterwards? That way I don't have to think about the fact that they're both sitting in some grimy water getting all hot and bothered.


I'm so anal sometimes.

JenB said...

I think the idea of a bath is kind of gross. Marinating in a mixture of sweat, skin cells, and soap? Then to wash my hair with that water? Ew! And to be sitting in a bath WITH another person, sharing THEIR sweat and skin cells and soap... *shudder*

I also can't imagine most men being very good at washing hair. I'd rather just wash my own. I prefer to get washed, get out, and then move on to other things. Not have those "other things" happen while I'm looking and feeling like a drowned rat.

I don't love washing scenes, but I do prefer them when they happen in the shower. Then the icky stuff just washes down the drain.

JenB said...

OH! Your real question...

No, I'd never rinse my hair with tub water. Even when I've bathed kids, I soap their hair and then fill a cup with water from the tap and rinse with that clean water. I'm sure I'd force a man to do the same if he washed my hair in the tub. (Which won't happen uless I'm somehow incapacitated...)

orannia said...

Sounds like you've got more that enough answers, but my two cents' worth is that you'd have a small container (with a pouring lip) sitting by the bath to rinse your hair :)

orannia said...

OOPS! Forgot to say, that's what my mother did when us kidlets were young and we only had a bath :)

Renee said...

Yeah, the hair care does it for me in books, too. I always remember that scene in Dead Until Dark when Bill combs out Sookie's hair. Very sweet and sexy. However, I'm not so sure about it irl. It would never occur to my guy, and I think if I ever asked him, he'd think I'd lost my mind! lol

When I had time in my life to take long, luxurious baths, I'd shower off/wash hair after. I also think about soap/bubble bath residue, and it makes me feel itchy.