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Friday, May 9, 2014

Coming clean on reduced shower movement

Many readers by now know I’m something of a grooming minimalist. I’m casual about shaving, rarely visit the barber and think the world would be better off if no one looked in a morning mirror until everyone’s had at least three good blasts of booze.

So you’d think I’d be on board with the fewer-showers movement that’s making news by saying daily showers are unnecessary and perhaps even unhealthy.

Count me out.

I say that for reasons that have more to do with mental health, than physical well-being.

See, the two or three minutes a day I spend in the shower is often the best part of my entire day.

No one’s interrupting me. I feel safe, warm and refreshed, and every part of my soft, supple body is being lovingly rubbed with fragrant soap.

That I’m the dude doing all the rubbing is true, but beggars can’t be choosers.

A good shower is about as close to returning to the womb as we can get without inconveniencing Mom. 

My daughters instinctively understand this. The girls, 13 and 7, would never leave the shower if they didn’t have to. They’re in there for 20 minutes at a stretch.

Drives my wife crazy.

Not me. I understand that most of what happens to them outside the shower will be much more traumatic than what happens in there. Kids can be mean, teachers crabby.

And in there they’re beyond even our parental reach. The shower is the household equivalent of Switzerland. It’s neutral territory. They know we can ask them to leave, but we’re not going to go in there to drag them across the border.

Being a travel writer has I guess made me a bit of a shower connoisseur. I’ve showered in some of the most lavish and relaxing showers in the world.

Ever showered in an outdoor bath? The first time I ever did was at the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, a lovely if erroneously named locale where the islands seem to outnumber British virgins by about 250 to 1.

It was just Val and I. No kids. It had one of those pie-pan rainwater shower heads that made you feel like you were Gene Kelly singing in the rain only if Kelly were buck naked and giddy from too much Mimosa.

But the gold medal for showers goes to Wisconsin, the land that’s elevated the shower to something sacred. Much of that has to do with plumbing fixture giant Kohler.

I’ve showered in some Wisconsin bathrooms that were like spas in a stall. They had nozzles that massaged you here, tickled you here, and gave you some liquid loving in places where even aggressive hookers get shy.

That naturally leads me to the topic of buddy showers.

Taking a shower with someone you care about, someone with whom you have shared interests and goals, is one of the world’s best recreations.

And by referring to folks I care about and with whom I have shared interests, I don’t want anyone to think I’m talking about my old hockey teammates.

No, I’m talking about the sex shower.

On that regard, I’ll leave you to your own memories and hope you’ll eventually return to see how today’s post ends, although there won’t be any hard feelings if you decide to spend the rest of the day in quiet reflection.

The only potential benefit to reducing the number of showers we all take is that it would help curb explosive population growth. Because fewer showers equals fewer people getting laid.

This if factual: About 100 years ago it was common for Americans to only have one bath a week. Saturday night was bath night and that was only good if you got first dibs on the tub.

So, say, if you were 19th born Josie Brooklyn Duggar — and talk about your explosive population growth — you might not get to bathe until early Monday morning and the water would by then be unfit for any respectable horse trough.

Hooking up on a Friday in 1914 had to be near impossible. Remember, back then we were still a mostly agrarian society so men and women spent their days toiling in the hot fields and pastures.

I’ve been refused service at some Appleby’s for not showering after summer golf and I was no where near farm animals, although I have golfed with many large men who could benefit from etiquette lessons from free-range livestock.

So let me go on record saying that I wash my hands of the fewer-shower movement. And while I’m at it I might as well wash the rest of myself of it, too.

Me and my bar of soap can be pretty thorough in three minutes.



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