when form attacks! a desperate plea for function

Dear Modern Hotel Bathroom Designers:

First, I’d like to congratulate you on your influence. Thanks to you, nearly every hotel that has ever dreamt of being regarded as “hip” and “chic” and “sleek” and “quotational” has remodeled its bathrooms in accordance with your trendsetting vision. And thanks to you, nearly every single one of those bathrooms now follows an open concept treatment of the shower: a wide expanse of floor-to-ceiling stone tiles fed by an overhead waterfall fixture and shielded with a little bitty strip of glass. Sort of like this:

Except, you know, not split in two and actually following the rules of perspective. Sorry, dudes, I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one shot.

I have to admit I’m drawn to this style of shower because of its attractive minimalist design, and because it provides me an unobstructed view of anyone who might be sneaking into the bathroom to murder me. Not that I could really DO much about it, you know, but at least I get a few extra moments to shriek bad words and toss mini bottles of shampoo in the direction of my killer, which is really all I could hope for as an epitaph: “She died as she lived; cursing and hurling parabens.” Take that, sucka!

On the other hand, I do have a number of concerns about this style of shower, which I will outline here using AS MANY ITALICS AND CAPITAL LETTERS as I damn well feel like using:

  • I’m not sure how to put this nicely, so I won’t, but it’s glaringly obvious that these showers are designed by men. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS NO PLACE TO PUT MY LEGS WHEN I SHAVE THEM. Oh, I know. I know. It sounds ridiculous. The widdle woman wants a widdle pwace to shave her wegs! Aw, look at her bowing to the demands of the patriarchy! IT IS SO CUTE WHEN THEY DO THAT. But I’m serious. I’m dead serious. Look me into my eyes. I WANT A PLACE TO PUT MY LEGS. In a tub, it makes sense. You turn around and hoist your leg on the back ledge and merrily shave away whilst the warm water flows gently down your back. But what can I do with a shower like this? The safety bar is too high for me to hike my leg up on without possibly straining a muscle, and its placement under the shower head also means I risk getting all the shaving cream washed off my leg the second I apply it. And the tiny rack for the soap is too flimsy to support me. This leaves me with two options: either I can brace my leg against the wet shower wall, down which my foot will continually slide; or I can simply stick one leg out in the air, grasp my ankle firmly with one hand, and frantically hack away with the razor in the other hand all while balancing on one foot, which sends me lurching and hopping around the shower like I’m half lit. Which, since I’m on vacation, YEAH. I AM. Which is all the more reason for you to make it easy for me, Mr. Shower Designer Man! You fucking prick.
  • Since I already brought up the tiny soap rack, I may as well just ask: WHY. IS IT. SO. TINY. One little triangular corner in the bottom third of the shower? Great. Now I get to crouch down while searching for the conditioner amongst all the little toiletry bottles crammed in next to each other. ALSO. I understand it’s fashioned out of gapped wire to allow water to flow through it. I get that. But did you ever stop to consider that things will fall through a rack with large holes in it? THIS IS CALLED GRAVITY, MR. SHOWER DESIGNER MAN. I’m not sure if they taught you about that in shower design school. In fact, I’m sure they didn’t, because I kept losing shit through that thing. It never failed: I’d find the bottle I needed, unscrew the cap, look around for a place to put the cap, give up and put the cap in the rack, the cap would drop through to the floor, I’d curse, pick up the bottle and squeeze some soap out, put it back in the rack at the wrong angle, it would drop through to the floor, the soap would go spilling everywhere, I’d curse profusely, and my husband would timidly peer into the room to see if I was fighting off a would-be killer or a sudden case of Tourette’s. Repeat on infinite loop. RELAXING AS FUCK, as you can imagine!!!!1!

  • Not to mention the fact that the very structure of the rack caused the bottles to sit unevenly, which drove the part of me that compulsively requires logic and order ABSOLUTELY UP A WALL. Crookedness is the number one killer of PEOPLE LIKE ME, and dear God, I feel like I’m going to die JUST REHASHING THIS TRAVESTY.
  • Speaking of travesties! The shiny waterfall shower head is one. Oh, I know that sounds crazy, because at first glance it looks nice and welcoming. Luxurious, even. A guest could even get excited that this isn’t the same lime-clogged, rusty, dribbly little whackadoodle $5 plastic shower head that her landlord installed at eye level in her home shower. A guest might even do a little dance of joy when she opens the tap to find good solid water pressure issuing forth from above. A guest might start to change her tune, though, when actually gets in and finds herself caught under the mighty and thunderous torrent of the Niagra Falls, choking and sputtering, frantically clawing at her head to check if her hair is still there or if it’s already been washed down the drain. And therein lies the downfall of the “waterfall” shower head: you’re either in or out, baby. It’s all or none. There was no way I could soap up while standing under this thing, which is unfortunate indeed because 87% of my shower routine consists of some form of soaping up. So for 87% of my shower time I stood outside the water, soaping away, feeling CHILLY and AWKWARD and DRY. Which is everything every lady dreams of in a bathing experience, ISN’T IT?
  • Aha, that’s what the other shower head is for! you say. Oh, that? That hand-held thing mounted on the wall there? Right. Yeah, I tried using that a few times instead of the overhead, and all it got me was a one-way ticket on the Sad Train. Because you have to hold it to use it, right? So I’d pick it up with one hand and then I’d just stand there uselessly, utterly incapable of scrubbing my scalp or soaping up my back with the just the other hand. So then I put the thing back in its little wall mount, and rotated it so it could spray me, and quickly discovered that it was mounted at just the right height to shoot a sharp jet of water directly into my boobs. SO. Just to recap for those in the back, allow me to reiterate the basic shower needs:
    • I don’t want water gushing ALL OVER ME at ALL TIMES.
    • I don’t want to be completely waterless, either.
    • I need to use both! Of my hands!
    • A stream of water in the boob doesn’t make me feel particularly special!!!1!
  • AND ABOUT THAT STREAM OF WATER. I couldn’t help but notice you went against your stylishly minimalist tendencies, Mr. Shower Design Man, and installed an actual shower curtain in this thing. A good thing, too, because GODDAMN. Even with the curtain, the bath mat was already a sopping, soaking mess at shower’s end. I had to use a towel to mop up half the floor after I was done. Even with the curtain, yes. And let me make it perfectly clear that the curtain almost wasn’t even there, because I was continually on the verge of ripping it from its hooks and flinging it out the sixth-story hotel window. Why? Well, it was SCIENCE, Mr. Shower Design Man, which is yet another thing they didn’t teach you in school. See, all the gushing and rushing and splashing and thrashing water created a great draft of air which lifted the curtain and sucked it straight in towards the poor unsuspecting shower occupant. Pretty soon it had me cornered against the far wall, flailing and cussing and kicking valiantly, yet it still advanced, chasing me relentlessly like the Great Ghostly Shroud Of Disgusting Nastiness That Has God Knows What From Who Knows Where On It. CAN YOU MAYBE BE BOTHERED TO PUT SOME WEIGHTS ON THE DAMN CURTAIN, MR. SHOWER DESIGN MAN? Many weights??? BECAUSE LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING! There is nothing quite like doing the drunken Hokey Pokey with a razor while a filthy shower curtain attempts to make sweet love to your entire body. Nothing.


Look, okay. I get the concept. This shower is fashioned after luxury. It’s supposed to be fancy and spa-like. But it sure as hell didn’t treat me like a fancy spa. Every single time I walked away from that thing exhausted and bedraggled, feeling like I’d just spent thirty-seven minutes wrestling a rabid raccoon in a water park. WHICH DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE. Which is why it’s an apt metaphor for this shower. Why should it be like this? Why? Why?

I see your style, and I raise you some goddamn functionality.

Kindly, and with many bad words,

The Shower Avenger

21 Responses to “when form attacks! a desperate plea for function”

  1. DYING with laughter at my desk. DYING.

  2. Bwaaaaaaaaahahahahaha.

    So fucking true!! It may look nice, but when I have to spend half an hour cleaning up after my shower because it’s supposed to LOOK nice? Nuh-uh. Not okay.

    AND! I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates those rain whatever showerheads. WHAT THE FUCK? Who decided that drowning in your shower is the epitome of luxury??

  3. lolsx100000000000000000!

  4. Best. Post. Ever.

    Ok you have many, but this one is in a category all it’s own.

  5. SING IT SISTER. I walked out of an apartment we were thinking of renting because the shower was just like that. And my boyfriend was all, “what’s the big deal, there’s no ledge for shaving?” And I was like “I AM NOT SITTING ON THE FLOOR OF MY OWN SHOWER TO SHAVE MY LEGS WHAT KIND OF TROLLOP DO YOU THINK I AM.” In all caps, for realz.

    I had the world’s most perfect shower experience at the Paris Westin when I was there for work and somebody else was paying: it was renovated and modern and lovely but also had a TUB like all civilized societies should, and it also had a shower head at the perfect height PLUS a handheld, but they were independently operated so you could have them both going at the same time and wash you hair with the fixed head while washing the undercarriage with the handheld and OH MY GOD I SPENT FUCKING HOURS IN THERE. Someday when I am rich I will build myself a replica of this bathroom and refuse to leave it, like Marat but without the blood.

  6. I am probably the only one who feels like this, but I HATE getting my face wet. HATE. My mom had to literally push me into my first foray into showering at age twelve. So I have never been into those from-directly-above showerheads, whether they be waterfall or rainfall or sunflower or what have you. I cringe every time I think of them.

    • I hear you, sister. I am that person who swims with her head above water, looking for all the world like some kind of concerned turtle.

  7. You just made my morning! Soooooo true.

  8. Yep yes, and yessiree. Did you read my post about our shower in Vienna, Austria with NO DOOR whatsoever? Sigh.

    Also, I hate those rainshower heads with a passion because every time I use one it matts down my hair while I wash it. I have a hair volume problem to begin with, plastering it to my head and giving my a gigantic bald spot in the back doesn help, fancy shower.

  9. Laughing so hard over here. And amen to every complaint.

    The other thing I can’t seem to figure out is why these nice, modern hotels have stopped putting vents in their bathrooms. Ummmm, I can’t get dressed and makeup’d if I haves to wait 30 minutes for the bathroom to decloud.

  10. Bahahahaha, this is the funnies thing I’ve read in a long time. We stayed in two hotel rooms in Greece where there was no shower curtain/door at all, which left us a bit befuddled, but I figured if they couldn’t be bothered to install a curtain, I couldn’t be bothered to make any effort to keep the bath mat dry. Well, that’s a lie–I tried really hard at first, but when the damn thing still got soaked, I gave up. Thank goodness for floor drains.

  11. hear, hear!

  12. I so, so needed to read this.

  13. I am so glad I am not the only one who finds those showers annoying when all I am trying to do is shave my damn legs.

  14. Lyn, these showers are like EVERYWHERE overseas and I cannot effing stand them. I have every same complaint as you do, but honestly the one that really chaps my ass is the “all in” or “all out” deal. The rain shower style blows. I was once in a hotel that didn’t just have a single, big ol round head, but a rain shower thing that took up the whole length and width of the shower ceiling. THERE WAS NO ESCAPE FROM THE RAIN SHOWER AT ALL!!!
    It was the worst shower of all time.

  15. My absolute favourite #1 bestest thing about our bathroom is the ledge in the shower DIRECTLY opposite the shower head. Perfect height, distance from water, and width of ledge for the single purpose of shaving one’s legs. It’s love.

    Thankyou for writing this. You would think the task of designing a shower would not be so difficult. But… yes.

  16. What’s that? You’re writing a book? I’ll take a dozen.

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