And Other Reasons I Love the Bathroom in Romance
Recently, I discovered Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man, the first in her This Man Trilogy. Talk about your sexy, tortured, control-freak, alpha hero. Love it! (In fiction, not reality.) The book consumed most of my day. So much so, that I was greatly perturbed when I had to set it aside for the bothersome task of making dinner. (I’ve yet to sway the family to the wonder of Grape Nuts.)
As I was driving to pick up the pizza, my mind could only focus on the story. That’s when a thought occurred to me. Even though the hero, Jesse Ward, lives in a multi-million dollar penthouse, many of the story’s significant scenes take place in his luxurious, master bathroom.
Perhaps this sounds unappealing. But oh, no. You see, the bathroom is one of the most romantic settings in this genre. Authors take this necessary room and create a fairy tale castle that makes a Poconos, heart-shaped Jacuzzi feel like a prison shower.
How can this be? Let’s take a look:
EXHIBIT A – The Toilet. Men don’t poop. Neither do women for that matter. There’s never a pile of Time magazines and Cabela’s catalogues stacked nearby. You never have a character shout out, “Courtesy flush!” Even numero uno is only referred to occasionally, and that’s in the terms of “freshening up.” The grossest thing that happens here is when the woman vomits. But this serves as a perfect opportunity for the hero to show he’s a caring soul. He holds her hair, gets her a cold rag, and no matter how bad it is, he never gags.
EXHIBIT B – The Tub. This tranquil feature is often the spot for gentle love. The hero pours the heroine a warm, bubble bath after she’s had a stressful day or even a night of strenuous “dancing.” He may be a cold-hearted gazillionaire, but he’ll get in and wash her hair as a way to show his feelings. Note, during this loving exchange, the couple never looks over to find mold on the grout. They never fight over who’s going to be stuck on the faucet side.
EXHIBIT C – The Shower. Ah, the hot, steamy shower. The place of many hot, steamy love scenes. Yes, you may see the gentle bathing of one another, but usually, it’s just good, old “dancing.” There’s plenty of room to try all sorts of moves. Probably because there aren’t fifteen, almost-empty, shampoo bottles covered in soap scum littered across the floor. Words and moans of passion are thrown out, but you never hear, “Quit hogging the water! I’ve got soap in my eyes.”
EXHIBIT D – The Sink. This simple fixture can be used for all sorts of romance – sweet or sexy. A talented author can take something as simple as a couple brushing their teeth and make your heart melt. Then again, they’re never looking into a mirror covered with toothpaste splatters.
This makes me reconsider our bathroom. Tonight, I’ll scrub out our big tub, surround it with all kinds of candles, and create a playlist of romantic classics. As the tub fills with a scented bubble bath, I’ll put on my sexiest robe and go down to find my husband. I’ll wrap my arms around his neck and whisper in his ear, “Honey, will you take the kids to a movie so I can relax and read my new book?”