I’ve Been Acting Since My First Bubble Bath

The bathroom can be a rather sacred place in a human’s life. We come out of them with relieved stomachs (maybe even with a completed crossword puzzle), scrubbed, clean faces or red, bothered ones (don’t tell me you don’t still pick at your pimples at age 26). Girls find a friend, a companion with the bathroom mirrors, giving them advice, as they get ready for dates, a party, or mere acceptance into the “cool” crowd at school. No matter what, I always seem to come out of a bathroom with a big grin of satisfaction on my face—yes, even after throwing up—relief and grotesquely, a flatter stomach that wouldn’t flatten after 100 sit ups.

Everyone can find a haven in a bathroom, but for me, there has been nothing more sacred than a bathtub, or just simply, a nice, long shower.

Let’s start with the act of being naked. I don’t care how skinny and hot you think you are, some of us actually like to eat. We are not out every night getting laid because we don’t have that banging body of yours. In the shower, we take a moment to find our imperfections: that pubic hair that spirals out of control from your bikini line, that flab you acquired after he (or she) broke up with you as a result of a binge eating escapade, the stretch marks that rapidly become more noticeable on your thigh against your new tan, and let’s not forget that cursed ass pimple on your left buttock. First thought: fuck! Second thought: note to self, apply larger amounts of toilet paper to cover public toilet seats so as not to attract bacteria.

I am sorry if you have been a victim to any of these evils. You are not alone, friend. The point is, you are naked in this room, splashing water in all nooks and crannies of your body (I hope…). You are liberated, naked, stress free, and naked.

I have tried my very best to make my showers that stress-free place. I’ve constructed a Hollywood studio of some sorts. Yes, you read correctly. My bathtub is not a space dedicated to pinpointing every minute flaw of my aging and decaying body. No, instead it’s an Angelina Jolie movie set where I’m the badass, fighting her sexy, evil husband, Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And apparently I’ve been acting—without realizing—since a very ripe age of childhood.

Take #1, age five. Scene: filled bathtub, bubbles galore, and a young me playing submarines, never short of splashing water beyond the tub’s perimeter. Move aside John Lennon! Your cute bathtub scene in A Hard Day’s Night has got nothing on the adorable five year old Fernanda. My bubble mustache was better than yours. In this movie, I was Captain Hook, or a less menacing version of a ruthless U-Boat leader. No soap-marines were injured in the making of this bath.

By age nine, I was cast to swim across the Pacific Ocean in the search for my long, lost hero, Amelia Earhart. I suppose I did not pass my piloting exam—license denied. So I had to do it the hard way and swim the shark infested waters (at the time I had not though about going by boat). The sharks were the pots and pans my mother allowed me to play with. We were pretty poor and I didn’t have too many bath toys to play with except for perhaps the typical rubber duck. But how can the darling, smiling duck be a man-eating shark? Even as a nine year old, I had common sense. The running water was the treacherous waves I had to encounter as I swam. I was always one wave short of reaching shore of the mysterious and uncharted island, the island I was sure Ms. Earhart was hiding. Yes, hiding. She was probably upset and embarrassed about her expensive plane crashing in the middle of nowhere and didn’t want to go back to America because she was ashamed of her failure—or so thought the nine year old me.

I never did find Amelia because the water grew cold quicker each time and I started growing up too fast…and that bitch just didn’t want to be found! I concluded she was too afraid to go home and the U.S. government would never allow her to fly again. So I grew up and left Amelia to live with the indigenous folk, with feathers in her hair, doing rain dances around a fire.

The next film still finds us at the verge of my pubescence. Roll in the “Holy-shit-there’s-a-jungle-growing-down-there-I-think-Tarzan-can-swing-from-my-vines” and the “I-am-an-angsty-teenager-so-I’m-going-to-rebel-everything-and-find-the-snarkiest-comebacks-against-my-parents-because-I-have-a-lot-of-feelings-and-they-don’t-understand-anything” script. The acting suddenly went through a metamorphosis in the shower. I wasn’t taking any more baths because in my mind, baths were for little children killing the environment with their innocent yet excessive water usage. Baths were also for middle-aged soccer moms who were so sexually neglected by their husbands that they had to substitute their pleasure with candle-lit baths, packed with scattered rose petals, Enya background music, and the Fabio romance novel picked up at the local supermarket on hand for pleasure. Today, these mothers are reading Fifty Shades of Grey on their Kindles and if they’re not growing hornier by the page inside that bath then they will feel that electric feeling once I’ve gone in there and smacked that silly e-reader into the water (sorry, I’m old school).

Needless to say, I wasn’t taking baths anymore. I was standing on an empty street, pouring rain (the showerhead), as I engaged in a passionate kiss (back of hand pressed to my lips) with the boy I was madly in love with in middle school. The director never said cut, guess he spotted a lot of chemistry between my co-star and I. It was that scene where Dream Boy runs back and grabs my hand from behind, I turn around (away from the spritzing water) and move my soaking hair to the side and look deep into his eyes—AKA the wall—and we kiss. I have no words to describe the tragic disappointment when my father knocks on the bathroom door, “You’ve been in there 15 minutes—let’s go! You’re wasting the hot water!”

Dream Boy immediately goes down the drain.

This whole movie has—sadly—been on a re-run ‘til present day of my pathetic and non-existent love life. I am sure these love scenes will cease to occur once I find a decent boyfriend. Once I get all those passionate kisses out of my system, I will start to age again and the movie scenes will creep back in with the mold growing on the wall tiles of my shower.

Instead of being pinned against the wall and making out with the love of my life in between shampoo rinses, I will find myself numb with horror at the bills that arrived in the mail that day. Or that I could lose my job tomorrow for bad mouthing my boss in today’s meeting. Or worse yet, the fact that my boyfriends parents, whom I absolutely detest, are coming into town and staying with us. There are plenty of hotels in New York City, my agent would’ve had no problem finding you one, Mr. & Mrs. (insert general boyfriend’s parents’ names here), all while the water pours down my head. That is where the movie starts sinking down to the “melodramatic” category in the genres list.

Let’s hope that will not always be the case and that the shower will see brighter days of jubilant scenarios and lavish sets of soapy happiness and cinematic feats. Hopefully, I will not turn around one day and be a 45 year old discontent mother of four stuck in suburbia who forgets to pick up her children on time because I took a longer bath than normal with my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. If I am indeed that woman twenty-four years from now, I hope to dear God I will have an imagination left in this brain of mine to resort back into my Silver Screen years.

I am, thankfully, a rather happy, young woman in her twenties, motherless for that matter. For the time being, I will continue as that happy young woman in her twenties, making out with Ryan Gosling in my shower. With each shower, I’ll be closer to my Oscar…whose acceptance speech I have acted numerous times while washing behind my ears. Serious, Academy, where’s my Oscar at?