If you’ve ever traveled through Europe you might have noticed is that many of the showers feature a handheld shower wand only – just the wand on a hook with no accompanying shower head – and you may have wondered why in Sam Hill they would do that.
What’s often worse is that the max height of the wand mount is chest-high and if you want the traditional shower experience (with water falling on your head) you have to hold the wand above you. Why do they do that?
<strong>1. Cultural Style</strong>
To some extent, that’s just the way it is in other places; a product of tradition. We drink soda with ice, sometimes they drink it warm. We drive on the right, sometimes they drive on the left. We drink tea with sugar, sometimes they drink it with milk.
And, when we build a shower we start with a shower head and add the wand, whereas they sometimes start with the wand and then stop right there.
<strong>2. Plumbing Style</strong>
This is an offshoot of cultural style, in a way. Architecture and the kind of plumbing it supports is a different ballgame in Europe, where a lot of the buildings are far older than the plumbing technology of today.
Wait, there’s plumbing <em>technology</em>? Why yes, of course there is, and sometimes it’s not as easily adaptable to a building constructed 400 years ago as it is here in the States, where the oldest building is a newborn compared to what they have other there.
<strong>3. Water Cost</strong>
Everything is more expensive in Europe – even the water. The comparatively ancient water systems are more expensive to operate, which in turn makes the water bills higher. The result: Europeans don’t just stand in the shower contemplating life while their euros trickle down the drain.
This fact, of course, impacts how they choose to use their water …
<strong>4. Bathing Style </strong>
Europeans typically don’t lollygag in the shower like we do. Time is money in the tub over there, and many Europeans are also big on conservation. So, the wand is a very good gadget to have to put the water where you need it while encouraging you to get the job done instead of standing around.
Again, this is also due to a combination of tradition and plumbing. Many dwellings don’t have the plumbing needed for a shower head and so the next-best thing is a wand that extends from the faucet in the tub.
<strong>5. To Control You, Silly American Tourist</strong>
All these stylistic difference aside, the main reason Europeans stick to the wand is because it’s just one more way to keep you from draining their most precious resource.
And, that’s a good thing. Europe’s beautiful, and the last thing we need to be doing while we’re there is futzing around in the shower like we do at home.