Sunday, September 28, 2008

Clean

I wrote awhile ago about my penchant for not bathing the baby particularly often. The thing that I didn't say is that this attitude is not isolated laziness, but rather part of my overall program. That is to say, I also have a penchant for not bathing myself particularly often. This is a really horrifying thing to admit on the vast stage of the internets, because I know that people - or at least people in both of the countries from which I draw my immediate heritage - are really hung up on bathing every day. But it is the absolute truth. I bathe, at best, every other day, and sometimes stretch it out much longer, to the tune of maybe twice a week. With the baby in the picture, I have not been unknown to go an entire week unbathed. I know you think this is gross, and I am sorry, but it is true.

One problem with bathing is that it takes up such immense amounts of time. Just brushing my teeth (which I do every day) and washing my face (which I do most days) feel like years and years of lost time to me, so only think how screamingly tedious a task showering presents. Even if the shower itself is on the short side, which it seldom is for me, the afters - creams, lotions, hair stuff, etc. - are interminable. Viewed from the bottom of the hill, the climb seems absolutely insurmountable. (If this is how I feel about showering, you can imagine how bad WRITING PAPERS was for me. And I was an ENGLISH MAJOR. Oh my GOD.) Faced with the prospect of such a hard slog, I usually give up. It is so much more appealing, at night, to curl up and read or watch TV; it is so much more appealing, in the morning, to nestle in bed a bit longer with a book or, alternately, to get dressed and run out of the house to start the day.

Also, one is seldom actually dirty. I know it is the fashion to think of oneself as being dirty after a day of not showering, but that simply isn't the case. It is true that one is not squeaky clean, but why in heaven's name must one be squeaky clean? One is not a Tupperware. I wash my hands when I ought and rinse my feet in the tub when I've been walking in sandals and I do shower enough to keep myself clean by any measure except the one that you are using, you crazy damn Americans. Do you not know that people normally smell like people, not like Jergen's Cherry Almond or Victoria's Secret Honeysuckle Rose or even Bliss Spa Lemon Sage? What is WRONG with you?

I know that one hidden reason that many people shower every day is their belief they must wet and re-style their hair every day in order for it to continue to look as it should. I think that in some cases this is really true - a small number of people have just the sort of hair or just the sort of haircut that requires constant attention to prevent it from looking truly bad. However, in many cases, this is not the situation. Often, people are simply addicted to re-styling their hair every day, either out of pure superstition or out of a desire to make their hair look a way that it isn't built to look. To which I say GIVE IT UP. You are a PERSON, not a Vidal Sassoon model or a "reality" television character. Toss some appropriately formulated cream and/or powder through that mop, put on your jacket, and LET'S GO ALREADY. TIME'S A-WASTIN'. (If you don't have any appropriately formulated cream and/or powder, or if you have so many that it is the same as having none, then we need to talk. You are an adult, old enough to purchase and use a small number of high-quality products. Stop trolling the aisles of Rite-Aid. Go to Bigelow's or similar, talk to the shopgirls, and get one to three things that work just as they should. And pay good money for them, too. It's absolutely worth it - just think how much time you will save in showering.)

I realize that this is probably the most uncomfortable posting I have ever written. These days, one is used to thinking that nothing is taboo anymore, considering what is shown on even basic cable channels and what the average person sees fit to reveal on his or her Facebook page. But, tame as it may seem, the admission that I do not bathe myself every day feels truly taboo, more than anything else I could possibly think to write. "Are you really posting that?" My husband asked with some alarm. And dammit, I am.

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