Hot Water Bottle.

by Ranim Elborai


Ah, the hot water bottle: a mainstay of arthritic geriatrics bundled in scratchy cardigans and women ailing from crippling menstrual cramps alike.

A prop evocative of some much-needed comfort and an almost endearing dowdiness. While you use a hot water bottle, you are able to simultaneously feel sorry for yourself while smugly congratulating yourself on how charmingly old-fashioned you’re being.

 images-2imgresThe hot water bottle industry has caught onto the “quaint-appeal” factor of hot water bottles and now sell a variety of covers designed to be ridiculously cute. I mean, look at these! Don’t you want one of them?

It’s been a very long time since I used a hot water bottle. In fact, I can’t quite recall ever properly using one. I would just fill one up then abandon it shortly.

But while I was in Amman for a week recently, where it’s a whole lot colder than it is in Dubai at the moment, I found myself relying on a hot water bottle for warmth extensively. Yes, turning thirty has tipped me over the edge into a spiritual grandmotherliness that has now begun to manifest itself physically.

The hot water bottle, and my general concern with climate control and the weather is due to my bad circulation;a my hands and feet are perennially cold and I go numb if I sit on the toilet for more than 10 minutes. b

Like most neurotic individuals with access to WebMD and no medical training to speak of, I have gone ahead and diagnosed myself with a condition that I’ll most likely never bother dignifying with a doctor’s confirmation: Raynaud’s Disease.


As diseases go, Raynaud’s for the most part is not that terrible. It just means that your hands and feet get cold easily and that it takes them a while to warm up.

Our house in Amman never got the memo that it’s meant to remain nice and warm all year long to accommodate my “condition.” My room especially was horribly cold — perhaps the jealous universe’s reprisal for spending the bulk of my time in balmy Dubai.

Socks weren’t helping. I always wear socks. In fact, I’ve been known to double-sock when I go out in the winter. In Dubai, I often take a pair of socks out with me if I’m wearing sandals, since many of my friends have a no-shoes-rule in place. I’m all about the socks.

But socks weren’t hacking it — I would lie awake at night, tortured, because my feet were two icy bricks sucking the warmth from the rest of my body.

Enter the hot water bottle. Although no one in my household uses one regularly, if at all, I was certain we had a hot water bottle in the house. It’s practically mandatory to own one, especially if a house has one or more female occupants.

photo 2 Found: one hot water bottle, apparently modelled after the Sesame Street aesthetic.

Once located, I boiled some water in the kettle and gingerly poured it into the rubbery container. Once in my room, I exposed my bed beneath the covers and set it were my frigid feet would be. Then I tucked myself in, tickling the fuzzy lining of the hot water bottle with my toes. A minute or two went by with no effect. But soon the warmth permeated my frozen limbs and worked its up through to my legs and the rest of my body.


That warmth.

For the remainder of my time in Amman, we were inseparable. I mean, I wouldn’t take that gaudy thing around with me when I was out of the house. But I kept it at hand whenever I was home and looked forward to snuggling with it later when I was out.

Seeing how attached I became to the rubbery receptacle, my dad bought me a somewhat more elegant model to take back with me to Dubai. Because no matter how warm the climate, every home should have a hot water bottle.

  1. Or it could be possibly attributed to my time in Britain.  (back)
  2. And we all, all, have sat on the toilet for more than ten minutes at one point in our lives.  (back)