Finally, a makeover the aging room at the end of the hall longed for, deserved, and let’s be honest, needed. I’m talking about my recently renovated bathroom.
As I was observing with great satisfaction the new tiles, expanded shower, antique mirror, fancy towel rack and other freshly installed accessories, I couldn’t help but muse at the idea of the bathroom’s role as a pop culture concept. It has been mentioned in literature, starred in movies, depicted on works of art, and surely much more.
Being a music fanatic, the first question that popped to mind was…
Are there any cool bathroom-related songs out there?
Indeed there are. The only one I could think of off the top of my head was the Beatles’ classic She Came in Through the Bathroom Window. The internet then provided a tune by an 80s rock band called Faster Pussycat – Bathroom Wall. Its lyrics are difficult to understand, yet the riffs are rad. Another is a cheeky pop song about intoxication by the American country duo Maddie & Tae titled Bathroom Floor.
Add a person to that, and you’ve got Eels’ Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor. Quite a disturbing song with a lovely melody. And if you’re a parent or a toddler, CoComelon’s Bath Song needs no introduction, and now I’ll be singing it for the rest of the day. Thanks YouTube.
Sticking to music-related bathroom trivia…
What are some of the best music videos featuring a bathroom?
Do you remember George Michael’s Freedom! ’90 video? I sure do. There’s a naked model fidgeting about in the bathtub. My pubescent self tips his hat to the creators.
Turning up the heat are Rihanna with her Stay ft. Mikky Ekko and Prince’s steamy single with a serious undertone When Doves Cry. P!nk’s video for Perfect used a bathtub as a place of transformation, while Mya’s Mr. Incredible is just incredibly soulful and sexy.
The colors are amazing, and yes, light in bathrooms is vital. Memories created in the bathtub can be nice or bad, Pierre Bonnard’s depiction of his wife in his 1925 painting The Bath sets a rather chilling tone due the wife’s tragic story. Then we have the amazing contrast between Perkins Harnlys’ lavish Victorian style Bathroom (1935) and Roy Lichtenstein’s Bathroom (1961) from simpler times. The latter definitely reminds me of my childhood, for some reason.
I’m sure any poet at heart would like to know…
Has there ever been a poem written about bathrooms?
I had to dig deep to find this gem. There’s a book by the American novelist Erica Jong called Fear of Flying, in which the main character, Isadora Wing, writes notes for her poem “The History of the World through Toilets”. It examines the sociopolitical implications of toilets in various countries. Brilliant! There are undoubtedly plenty of superb bathroom poems out there relating to or inspired by this household sanctuary. I can safely say I’ve had my own share of poetic practice in there.
Before too long, I arrived at my next big trivia query…
What are some of the most iconic bathroom movie scenes?
Upon learning the fate of others murdered due to performing similar activities with mistresses close to the royal family, a terrified Bowie says “I think I’m clean now” and asks the prince for a towel. The scene and the gigolo’s facial expression are truly terrific.
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