On Overthinking Milk Baths

I sometimes overthink milk baths. It happens every time I see one on tv shows or in movies, which doesn’t happen very often, but the concept has been consistent enough in the media that it has dotted my psychological map for more than three decades.

Milk baths are usually inserted into storylines as some kind of decadent behaviour, and I’ve seen them referred to in magazine articles about how to have better skin, but they seem like a terrible idea. I say “seem” like a terrible idea, because I’ve never actually read the articles I’ve come across or googled them out of curiosity. For whatever reason, I see “milk” and “bath” together and envision a tub full of homo milk — that’s seriously what we call 3% in Canada — and I get lost in a series of questions I never bother finding answers to, such as:

  • Isn’t it cold?

  • If someone heats up the milk, do they put cold milk in the tub and then add boiling milk to make tolerably hot milk?

  • If you are able to fill a bathtub with comfortably hot milk, do you just satisfy yourself with the five minutes it stays comfortably hot enough, or do you have someone on hand to raise the temperature occasionally with more hot milk?

  • Would bathtub milk sullied by human yuck remain safe for long? Because I worry about vaginas.

  • Doesn’t anyone notice that immersing yourself in a vat of bovine boob juice is fully bizarre behaviour?

  • Why are milk baths shown as though they are mildly masturbatory sensual self care scenes? I can’t imagine any other liquid squeezed out of animals would have a similar effect, even if we threw rose petals in it.

  • It would take 80 gallons/303 litres to fill a bathtub, which I estimate would cost approximately $682CAD in milk, so are these milk baths supposed to show us how wealthy the bather is without having them roll in dollar bills?

  • Since it just occurred to me now that one could run a hot bath and then add powdered milk to create a much more economically viable and somehow less disgusting alternative, might I be very stupid? (This is an example of a rhetorical question. Shhh.)

 photo credit:  averie woodard  on  Unsplash

photo credit: averie woodard on Unsplash

See? This person is so horrified by a milk bath that they can only enter it fully clothed and then withdraw so far into the darkest of pocket of their mind that we can only gaze at their unresponsive eyes and wonder if they shall ever return. The milk sours around them. They wonder if cow nipples are, perhaps, sticky, or if they are maybe only very soft. Is it gauche to sip one’s milk bath? They find none of this comforting or luxurious, and catatonia has set in, but, damn, their skin does look good.

When people are also mixing honey, oil, and various plants into the milk baths, it doesn’t seem too far off from salad dressing or simple mayonnaise, really. I prefer a bath of plain, piping hot water with the lights off. That way you can watch your neighbour’s back door light reflect off the bath’s black surface like a cold winter moon while you invent yourself a different life in 2274 where the End Times are simply a boring pre-consciousness transference historical period that you hear about from the olds.

You’ll be happy to know that between the end of the last paragraph and this sentence, I finally did a little reading on milk baths for the first time in my life, and most recipes call for only a couple of cups of milk, proving that people are sometimes more sensible than I give them credit for. And I am not.


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