The big divide
Not so many decades ago, the modern Australian bathroom consisted of a bath, with shower overhead – or, for the very fortunate, a separate shower - a hand basin, with a small cupboard above, with mirror front. This cupboard held the family’s toiletry needs. In the cupboard (usually called ‘the bathroom cabinet’) could be found, (for the man of the house) a bottle of hair ‘tonic’, a mug with shaving brush, shaving soap and razor and a black comb. The needs of the lady of the house were met with a lipstick, a pink comb and possibly some Ponds face cream. There was a roll of cotton wool, a small bottle of mercurochrome and a small pack of Bandaids.
If the kids had returned it to its place in the little cupboard, there would also be a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush for each family member. There may have been a new cake of soap or perhaps a nail file and scissors, but little else.
But that family of days-gone-by was still ahead of the families in developing countries whose only method of bathing was via a bucket of water or a nearby river.
Not much has changed for those folks.
However, the NEW modern day Australian bathroom is a far cry from that of yesteryear. And it’s not only the look of the bathroom; all objects, equipment and toiletry potions have increased a thousandfold.
Even children now often have their own bathroom, separate from that of the parents - with their own toiletry item supply. There are body washes, shampoos, hair conditioners, body scrubs, pimple lotion (for the teenager), deodorant spray (and roll-on) and moisturisers of several types.
There are hairdryers, hair curlers, hair straighteners, brushes for different hair styles, hair gel, hair mousse, hair wax and all manner of ‘styling products’. In fact, so much stuff that the word ‘product’ (for kids, at least) seems to have morphed into a word that describes something that you put on your hair.
And to accommodate all of this, the bathroom cabinet has expanded to be a couple of large cupboards (behind the now HUGE bathroom mirror) as well as several drawers beneath the ‘vanity’ basin, along with yet another set of shelved cupboards.
All of this stuff seems to be totally necessary.
Meanwhile some people in other lands manage to keep clean with a bucket of water and a piece of soap.
It’s a strange world!
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I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.