Size Matters

“I want an oversize tub,” I say.

“But if you take the standard, you can still have a comfortable bath, and we can give you more closet. With your shoes, you really need more closet.”

I knew he was right, but I was adamant.

“No,” I say again. “I want an oversize tub. A soaking tub.”

The contractor sighs, reaches for his clipboard, and scribbles himself a note. I don’t make changes often, but he always seems exasperated when I do.

I stifle a sigh of my own when he says this pushes out the project by at least three weeks.



“A Jacuzzi. I assume you want a Jacuzzi. This change is so the house will be more marketable, right?”

Marketable. Yes, I thought of that.

And who but a divorced woman buys a 950 square foot fixer-upper for herself, two kids, and a giant dog? I managed to keep us in the school district and that was the goal, but I would have to think about marketability if I ever wanted or needed to sell. I’d succeeded in borrowing enough to add a little more space, and this second bath. But that wasn’t why I wanted an oversize tub.

“I like tall men,” I say. “No Jacuzzi. Just a large tub.”

He looks at me for a second, quizzically – all six foot two of him – and holds my gaze. He’s forty-something and quite attractive, but I set that thought aside, and I don’t move and I don’t blink. He turns back to the blueprints. He rattles on. He’s talking structural walls and closet configurations and fixture specifications.

“I can give you a nice slip resistant Kohler or a Duravit that’s good and deep. About 59 inches long and 30 inches wide.”

I shake my head.

“If you take something that size, we can squeak about 10 inches more, right here.”

He points to a spot on the plans. A closet wall. A woman can do a lot with 10 inches in her closet, but I shake my head again.

“A soaking tub,” I say. “Big.”

He unhooks his heavy-duty belt-clipped measure and I take that as my cue to disappear. He fiddles with whatever contractors fiddle with, and thirty minutes later we’re paging through a brochure, considering angles for the back and places to lay the elbows. And naturally, sufficient ledge for shampoos, soap, and candles.

We settle on a classic American Standard that’s roughly 35 x 70, and he convinces me that even he would be comfortable in something that size. And three months later I have my own toilet and my own closet and a tub big enough for a big man and a little woman to climb into, together. One day in my future – I’m certain – there will be a romantic soak. As it turns out, the timing is perfect because right after the decision to go with the big American Standard, I meet a big Frenchman and fall in love. With all six foot three of him.

Yet somehow, even when he’s here and my boys aren’t, we never get around to the tub. Instead, we’re puttering in the garden or in the kitchen, and yes we’re in bed, yet the other options never seem to come up. So I tell myself we have all the time in the world but of course, we didn’t.

There was another candidate briefly – a sexy, jovial bear of a man – but our trysts took place on his taupe shag rug when his kids were with their mom and mine were in school, and while he was wildly adventurous when it came to a rooftop Bonsai garden or an empty stairwell in an office building, he was definitely a shower man.

There was the bearded fellow who wanted to marry me and he was even French, but that’s another story altogether. He was also a fan of the tub but we never used it, and just as well, because he was only five foot four and somehow, it seemed a waste.

This morning I woke early and thought maybe I’ll take Clorox to that stain on the edge, light some candles, run the water and just do it. Soak. Just me.

Then I think of the long list of tasks for the day, and I wind up turning the faucet and then the knob that controls the shower. And I step beneath the stream of hot water as usual.

Though I’ve never used the tub as intended – and it’s been five years – I’m still happy to have it. And someday, with the right amount of time or motivation or possibly the right man, I’ll fill it up, and linger. And love it. Because it isn’t really about the size of the tub or the size of the man. It’s about the size of my dreams, and they’re big. And maybe, that’s what matters.


© D A Wolf



  1. says

    It is indeed the size of the dreams. That tub will be enjoyed, be it with a big (or small) man or by yourself. We did that when we decided on this house, got an oversized tub. I soaked in it, with wine and candles, once. My kids have soaked in it once. My grandkids, when they were smaller, splashed in it. Problem here? I’m not a soak-in-the-tub person. I’m a get in the shower and get it done person. But it looks good!

  2. says

    “Because it isn’t really about the size of the tub or the size of the man. It’s about the size of my dreams. And they’re big. And maybe, that’s what matters.”

    This resonated with me deeply. It’s totally the size of the dream.

  3. says

    I have had a lifelong dream of a Japanese soaking tub. I must have one. MUST. I have had the opportunity to soak in a couple and it was a life changing experience. I also NEED a fireplace and a view of a gorgeous garden that I can see from my Japanese tub. Yeah, my needs are simple.;-)

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Ah yes… the Japanese soaking tub. (Mine leans more French than Japanese (*sourire*)). Something for your “Je désire” list, which I loved, by the way?

  4. says

    I am a tub person. But our tub now, well, it’s full of kid toys and wet soapy washcloths and that ring that comes from the long soaks of dirty children. But one day, one day if I can dream about a big tub–if we ever get to the point of improving this house as we hope to do–I will fight hard for it.

  5. says

    Oh, I am a soak-in-the-tub person. I’ll stay long enough to let out some of the lukewarm water and replace it with some near scalding. Sometimes I’ll let myself get cold before I climb out again. I wanted an old enameled iron tub, and I got it – more than 100 years old, used only for a couple of years at the beginning of the last century. I’ve had it for a year, but it only came inside last weekend, and it isn’t plumbed yet. When it is, I’ll use it plenty – it’s deep, with a nice sloped back – but I don’t think there’s room for two. :)
    Sweet, sweet post.

  6. Glacel says

    That sounds fabulous! My family never had a huge tub to soak in but I’ve always wanted one just because in the movies, they always make it seem so inviting to soak yourself in a tub, read a nice book, sip on a red wine, and possibly a cute hunky man to join you. I’d be fine with soaking and red wine :)

    I agree with Kat, do dream big. You dreamed of a huge tub and you got one, I’m sure in time you’ll find a cute Frenchie to share your hot tub!

  7. says

    This post is a couple years old, and I’m just reading it now. Do you soak in your tub? I am most certainly a soak-in-the-tub person, and I nodded through Leslie’s response. I have tub envy! I have an old house, and I dream of replacing the boring tub with a deep clawfoot…..

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Ah PollyAnna, What’s not to love about a good soak? But, I admit, the only time I seem to soak is on vacation! (And it’s been years since I had a vacation.) Thinking about that tub, I ought to use it, no? But why is it so hard to allow oneself a few minutes to unwind when not on vacation? (I think I need to lecture myself on that score again, though at the moment, I’m reading the NYTimes, and that is such pleasure, it feels like a vacation!)

      A deep clawfoot… Classic!

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