The Blow Dryer Did It!

It sounds nuts, but I’m telling you, the blow dryer killed the bath tub! Okay, there was no blood, just a slow gradual march to obsolescence. Let me take you down memory lane to make my case.

Over the holidays, I was binge watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (An Amazon series that takes place in the 1950s) and couldn’t help but reflect on the women and their hair. Yes, their hair was lovely, but what they had to endure to have a great hair day ties into the evolution of our master bathrooms. Bear with me guys, I’ll make this quick!

The beauty parlor scene from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It wasn’t that long ago when women went to the beauty parlor once a week to get their hair done. My mother-in-law was one of those women. She would get her hair shampooed, rolled up in curlers, and sit under a hair dryer until her curls were dry. After that, a quick brush out, lots of hair spray and she was set for the week. Many senior living facilities in this country still have this weekly ritual.

Okay… What about the Bath?

If you just spent over an hour in the beauty parlor, that hair-do had better last through the week. Women went out of their way to preserve their dos, skipping the shower in favor of the tub – so as not to mess up their hair. The guys took showers, the gals took baths. Hence the 5-piece master bath.

It wasn’t until the hand-held blow dryer (curling iron and straightening iron) went mainstream that women were finally free to shower without worrying about ruining their hair because they create a new do in minutes instead of hours. Over time, the tub saw only occasional use at best. The fact that women joined the work force only accelerated the decline of the bath tub as they simply had less time to take a leisurely bath.

Hotels Figured it Out - Eventually

Most hotels didn’t have the luxury of equipping their rooms with both a tub and a shower, so they installed the tub/shower combination – the best of both worlds – right? So wrong! Don’t get me started on that sticky shower curtain again.

The Westin hotel in Tampa Bay was the first hotel I personally encountered that had a tub and separate shower in their bathroom. Talk about glorious - this was the way of the future, right? But was the additional square footage needed for both fixtures a good investment? I know in all the times I stayed there, I never used the tub. The hotel was designed in 2006 and built in 2008. Fast forward to today, and the last three hotels I visited skipped the tub altogether in favor of a grand shower. And yes, they had blow dryers too!

Our lives are constantly changing and adjusting as new technology devices are impacting how we go about our day. But a blow dryer? Who would’ve thought that the advent of an affordable hand-held device would contribute to showers overthrowing the tub? We gals quickly learned that showers are quicker, easier, and can be downright luxurious for people on the go. Feature a spacious shower with a frameless glass enclosure and an on-demand water heater and rub-a-dub-dub, who needs a tub?