Pretentious Bathing

You may recall that in my annual search for the most pretentious artistic offering in the Edinburgh Fringe programme I spotted a one-on-one piece which involved you being bathed, wrapped in a towel, fed chocolate and, quote, being held for a prolonged length of time.

It seemed to fit the bill more than adequately and although I chickened out, a friend bravely went in my stead. At first the receptionist at the venue, a boutique hotel, disclaimed all knowledge of the event, making my pal feel doubly anxious. However, he was eventually shown to a candlelit bedroom and entered with great trepidation. As instructed he undressed completely and donned the bath robe laid out for him.

At this point, Adrian, the artist, emerged from the bathroom and after reading a health and safety disclaimer (why, the water might be just a little too hot) did exactly what it said on the tin. As he lay in the rose petal strewn bath my friend tried to relax and take in the artistry of the moment, but all he could hear was his own heart beating nervously. Then, wrapped in said fluffy towel and held somewhat uncomfortably for what seemed like ages in the artist’s arms, he was offered a smidgeon of white chocolate.

Emerging into the bright sunshine of the seething Edinburgh streets, my friend felt quite elated. But he couldn’t say if this was the result of cultural enrichment or relief at escaping unscathed!

Meanwhile I was having a disturbingly similar experience. My hotel room for the week came complete with a butler. Exclusive to you, it said. Your butler (mine was named Paul) would unpack your suitcase, sew on buttons, polish shoes to military standard, serve a candle-lit dinner, pour champagne at your picnic in the park and even go shopping for you. Rather like Adrian up the road, he could, it said, run you a bath in the morning after gently waking you. Yuk!

I considered sending him out for fish and chips but I made do with ordering a pot of tea. This took him less than four minutes. Impressive timing, but I could have achieved this myself had they simply supplied a kettle in the room. Which they didn’t.

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