Friday, January 22, 2010

How Often Do You Wash?

Really frequent bathing is a relatively recent innovation. Neither one of my parents grew up in families where daily bathing was commonplace. The tub would hang on a hook at the back of the house. Before a bath, the tub had to be taken down, water had to be heated on the stove and the tub filled. Usually, everyone in the family bathed one after another and used the same water. This usually happened on Saturday night, so that everyone was clean when they put on their church clothes, Sunday morning. My Grandfather never even bathed that much. Nobody was certain just how often he did bathe. I don't think it was very much. He did smell a little different than most people but not bad.

My parents never required me to bathe more than once a week. Sometimes I bathed daily. Sometimes I didn't. During the time I was growing up in the '50s and '60s, society changed. Everyone started to bathe every day. Soap and toiletry manufacturers advertised the fact. People expected they would and expected everybody else would. So I ended up bathing every day. Also, in the '50s and '60s people started to take showers more than tub baths. So I ended up showering every day. In high school, we all showered after PE. So I got used to showering twice a day. Sometimes, I'd do two a day workouts or go to the beach. Eventually, three or more showers a day didn't seem that unusual.

In the Navy, they teach water discipline. You get wet, soap up, scrub, even shave if you need to and then sluice off. Saves time as well as water. I got used to that pretty quick. I mostly still do it that way.

I'm old now. I bathe whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I miss a few days. Sometimes more than a few. Who gives a shit. Most people bathe every day now but dissidence is good for the soul.

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