Bathtime, Colbert-style

Oh internet, I have been unwell.

One month ago, Hot Latin Boy and I threw the tiniest of fetes to mark the beginning of Epiphany and among the guests was a delightful toddler whose two great passions seem to be harassing my dog and spreading pestilence.
My sweet Dozer entertaining the wonderful (but contagious) Julieta
While it's all very charming for a doe-eyed two year-old to shake her ringlets and cry "Dozairrrr mi vida!" the moment Dozer manages to escape Julieta watchful gaze, I am now on day 29 of a cold for which she is the cherubic yet drool-covered ur-source and it has not been pleasant.

It has, however, allowed me an excuse to ignore our normally conservation-minded attitudes towards utilities and partake in long, blissfully hot showers using one of the wonders of the Latin world: a steady and cheap supply donkey's milk bath products.

I've been intrigued by baths in asses' milk since the night I met Claudette Colbert.

I am sad to say it was only through a flickering screen, but like all first loves it was powerful and true. In later years I developed an affinity for her based on our mutual traits of being long on glamour and comedic timing but tragically short on space between collar and chin (Noel Coward, as I'm sure we all recall, once fumed he'd wring her neck if only she had one) but during that stolen moment cross-legged on my grandparents' oriental rug I saw a remarkable woman with remarkable hair doing the most remarkable thing I'd ever seen: bathing in a Roman pool filled entirely with milk.

great face, no neck: it's like looking in a mirror
It was asses' milk to be specific and I had happened across an extremely edited version of Cecil B. DeMille's pre-code epic The Sign of the Cross. In its most notorious scene the comely and buoyant Colbert portrays Poppaea who, as the historic empress was wont to do, frolics naked in her bath while issuing commands and sapphic quips to the various handmaidens and tale carriers who come and go. 

Studio reports have it that the actual liquid was made with powdered milk that started to curdle under the set lights, but for a young girl whose toilette took place in the slightly less decadent environ of my grandmother's pink bathtub, it was the bathing situation against which all others paled.

I've named the donkey "Poppy"
Sure, getting a disapproving rubdown with a bright blue slick of mineral oil by a dour Swedish woman certainly has its charms, it was not quite on par with being attended to by a cadre of daringly-clad handmaidens ready to powder and perfume at will

Nowadays, the pre-code handmaidens aren't as much of a sell, but when I had the opportunity to try some bath products actually made with donkey's milk from Grisi, the 150 year-old Italian/Hispanic toiletry company, I couldn't very well resist.

And you know? It really is quite lovely.

At least it's a far sight better than weird royal jelly thing HLB brought home several months ago or my unfortunate attempt at transforming a bar of Zest we'd never use into a body wash with oatmeal and various offerings from my garden (however bad you think that could be, you are nowhere near the reality. HLB didn't even want to put it down the drain since he was afraid it would find its way into the ocean)

I'm sure whatever real donkey milk in it is minimal and it's just as much about the idea as the application but a bit of glamour and wish-fulfillment in an otherwise mundane task is just what the doctor (and empress) ordered. Good thing too, since Julieta will be here again next week.


  1. I have the sinus infection that will not depart so I feel your pain. I think I will stick with bath oil, however.

  2. Is donkey milk superior to other species' milk? What makes it special?
    Zest, oatmeal, and random botanical samples? Uh, yeah. Could you compost it at least?
    The best I can say about my past month is that nobody died, or even suffered a minor amputation. Considering we had a combined roller-skating party for the 9 and the 5 year old, that's saying something.

  3. I don't know about superiority, but I do know donkey's milk is chemically the closest to breast milk of all major domesticated species and its use in medicinal and cosmetic applications have gone back thousands of years. It also supposedly smells and tastes sweet, which would make it more appealing to bathe in than say, goat milk. It's also quite high in lactose and lactic acid is a very gentle alpha hydroxy acid so with prolonged use it's possible to see the general improvements in skin usually associated with AHAs.

  4. By "superior" I just meant "better for bathing." Thanks for the explanation; I won't pour the leftover Lactaid into the tub.

  5. Cedar fever has had me in its evil clutches for the past month or so, so I also feel your pain. I've been self-medicating by spending obscene amounts of money on beauty products and handbags.

    Julieta and Dozer are the most adorable pair! At least your cold germs are cute.

  6. The Cool Cookie2/10/2014 7:28 AM

    I read the headline and wondered how Steven Colbert takes a bath.

  7. halvorsonjen2/10/2014 9:32 AM

    Do you have a shar-pei? That looks like a shar-pei butt to me. :) I raised and showed them for over a decade and miss my Katy still.

    Sorry you have been ill. I typically try to avoid sick children because if not I, then dear hubby, will become ill.

    Right now however we are battling bi-polar Texas weather and cedar pollen. My allergies have me sneezing like crazy and his are causing some weird contact dermatitis. We have so far escaped child incubated plague.

    I shall be keeping an eye out for those bath products in my local markets. I am always up for a new and enjoyable bathing experience.

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