Photo: Elizabeth McCafferty (left). Screenshot: @bathfoodsV
It’s 9PM on a Wednesday and a lonely chip grazes my toes within a sea of bubbles. I’m having a bath for the first time in years and I’ve bought my dinner for company. My tits have become a replacement TV dinner tray, as I try to balance my plate of Maccies chicken nuggets, fries and strawberry milkshake on them. I’ve even treated myself to an extortionately priced purple bath bomb laced – unknowingly to me – with popping candy. I feel like I’m lying in a bowl of Rice Krispies as I tune in to Netflix on an iPad placed precariously on an upturned bin, but not even that can kill my vibe: I’m in a food coma in glorious bathing bliss. How haven’t I done this before?
The world of banquet bathing might be new to me, but it’s the norm for more people than you might think. Research by StudyFinds, in 2022, suggests that one in five of us regularly eat in the bath. Even the celebs are at it: Kourtney Kardashian has shared photos of a bath feast involving burgers, fruit and champagne on Instagram in the past. Just last week, Jessica Biel caused a stir on TikTok by declaring her love of eating in the shower on TikTok, calling for a full-on “shower-eating movement”.
The bath-eating movement is already in full swing, thanks (in part) to meme lord Justin Deveaux, who recently launched @bathfoods on Instagram and Reddit to connect the community. The Boston-based 28-year-old also runs @shippedbeans, a 110,000-strong meme page documenting unhinged food behaviours like using a car cup holder as a bowl for ravioli, where this actually all started.
“People were sending so many bath photos to Shipped Beans that I decided to create an entirely separate account dedicated to it six months ago,” Deveaux tells VICE. “People who eat in the bath are a growing community.” Since then, Bath Foods has accumulated 18,000 followers on Instagram and he receives upwards of 140 submissions per week. People eating Taco Bell, sushi and even rotisserie chickens in soapy suds fill the feed, with many wearing socks, too, to keep it from turning into a foot fetish paradise.
Thirty-three-year-old Randal Landsdel eats every bathtime without fail, four to five times a week. “Since I can remember, I’ve always bought snacks and activities into the tub with me,” he tells VICE. “I do it because why the fuck not? Who doesn’t love a snack while enjoying a nice relaxing bath?” There’s also a “killing two birds with one stone” element, as combining the two is beneficial within his busy working week. For Landsdel, there’s nothing that isn’t good to eat in the bath – even if the odd taco meat chunk makes it into the water.
As for how he found the Bath Foods community, he got sent the Instagram page recently by mates asking why he wasn’t featured on there – it’s safe to say he is now. “Some pictures look staged, but you can tell who the true bath eaters are,” he adds, noting it’s certainly not the people wearing clothes.
The feet aspect of these photos have sparked much debate. “Is this a fetish?” reads one Instagram comment. “No it’s a lifestyle,” replies someone else. Strings of other comments question whether this is actually a secret kink page.
“I’ve definitely tapped into the foot fetish community by accident,’ Deveaux chuckles. “Some people do try to make this weird, but this is really not the intention or point in the community.” Some even send him nudes, saying things like “Can you blur out my genitals to put on the feed?” That’s not the weirdest part about this whole thing, though: Deveaux doesn’t actually eat in the bath himself. He’s never even tried it.
“I’ve always been a shower person, baths seem like so much effort. I’m just giving the people who do this a space to be their authentic selves,” says Deveaux, adding that he might start soon. The space seems to be appreciated anyway – it’s filled with people sharing how validated they feel by finding others like them. “The fact I’m not the only one that does this shit is so comforting,” writes one follower.
Virginia-based Kenny Powers, 26, was also chuffed to come across Bath Foods. “I thought I was the only one to eat full meals in the bath!” he tells VICE, noting that most people are shocked when they hear about his bath eating habits. “I think there’s a stigma, especially in male adults who like taking baths. It makes me happy to see that other people enjoy it too.”
For Powers, the perfect bathing environment consists of getting a “snacky snack” around 5PM when he gets home from work, which is usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or pizza rolls. He runs the water for the tub as soon as he gets in and gets his favourite YouTube channel ready for his hour-long soak. The perfect temperature? According to his measurements, 109-115 degrees Fahrenheit.
You might not want a bonus bath bomb in meat chunk form, but the peace and contentment of these little me-time moments is tangible. “People think it’s gross, but it’s really no different to eating your food outside of the bath,” says 18-year-old Ori, who chose not to use her surname for privacy reasons. She’s been eating in the tub for years and her go-to is cereal.
It’s the eating naked thing, Ori believes, that weirds people out about the whole situation. “People aren’t usually naked in the context of eating, but it’s liberating. Honestly, let’s normalise people eating in the bath,” she says. “It’s fun and you get the best of both worlds: eating and bathing.”
As for my bath food journey, I did have to compromise on keeping my milkshake on the floor to prevent it from melting too quickly, but it was surprisingly easy to keep my fingers mostly dry – with one hand holding my plate and the other cramming food in my mouth. I’m grateful for finding a new love of eating in the bath, but the risk of having my images turned into foot fetish content(I’ve been burned before) remains a little too high for me to get on board with posting in the community. I think Landsdel has it covered, anyway.