Towels — mundane everyday objects that we don’t really think about unless we’re stepping into the shower or we’ve left them out to dry and it starts raining.
So why in the world are we talking about towels?, you might ask. In movies, no less! Because showbiz has the power to amp up just about anything — even towels. So, without further ado, let’s get into some of the most iconic towel moments in cinema.
The Interstellar Hitchhiker’s Trusty Towel
The first thing that comes to mind when I think ‘towels’ and ‘cinema’ is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Even though the entire movie is pretty towel-focused, the standout towel moment has to be the scene where Ford rescues Arthur and transports them both onto the Vogon ship. Handing Arthur a towel, he says, “It’s a tough galaxy. If you want to survive, you’ve gotta know where your towel is” — words to live by for any hitchhiker trying to make it in the big, bad galaxy. There are several other moments that highlight the towel’s multi-purpose properties — from a blanket for warmth to a weapon with which to swat your enemies away. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s whimsical take on towels is unforgettable and can really make one appreciate these fluffy friends for their service to humanity. This movie clearly goes all out to glorify the humble towel, giving it the importance it truly deserves. So much so that fans of this movie (and the books) celebrate Towel Day on May 25th every year.
The Towel that Played Cupid
The Proposal features on this list of iconic scenes not because of the presence of a towel, but because of the lack of one. A very naked post-shower Margaret, in desperate need of a towel, gets borderline bullied by a tiny pooch. Meanwhile, Andrew is stripping — prepping for his shower while listening to some tunes on his headphones — unaware of the chaos inside. The result: they run into each other and make full-frontal contact. This awkward yet hilarious moment is just the thing these two future lovebirds need to diffuse the tension between them. So they were essentially set-up by a towel — a really cheeky one at that.
The Towel that Makes you a Grown-up
Who can forget the scene from Home Alone, in which Kevin transforms from an eight-year-old kid to the man of the house overnight? He’s standing in his parents’ bathroom after a shower, with his father’s oversized towel wrapped around his waist, and going through his newly adopted grown-up grooming routine until, of course, the aftershave… and well, we all know what happens next. Simply put, a towel can make a kid feel powerful — not just as a makeshift cape when they’re playing superhero, but even just wrapped around their waist, like a real adult.
The Towel that Empowers
Now this one may seem a little out of place on this list but, trust me, it’s iconic. The scene in the Bollywood movie Tanu Weds Manu uses a towel as a symbol of a liberated woman standing up for herself. There are negotiations regarding an arranged marriage happening in the courtyard when Tanu walks in — wearing nothing but a towel and offending the sensibilities of her small-town family. The reason behind this bizarre outfit choice?Taking a stand against forced arranged marriage. This scene may be light-hearted and humorous on the surface, but it has some seriously rebelious undertones — and Tanu did all that just by wearing a towel as a sarong!
After this brief but informative reintroduction on what towels can do, I hope your perspective on them has changed (even just a tiny bit) and you have a newfound appreciation for these absorbent, silent heroes. So, go on — grab the nearest towel you can find and thank it for being there.
Kavya can be quite the oddball—from her taste in music to how she chooses to dress. She is a lover of all puns and dry absurdist humour, and her existential angst goes out the window when she’s hanging out with her dog. Follow her on instagram (__K.jpg), she promises to keep you entertained!