I’ll admit that many of my poor bathing habits likely stem from my hair history. In high school, my hair was so long it came down to my belt buckle (Note: I do not recommend this.) Once I got to college – and before I entered my “Felicity pixie-cut phase” – it became a major chore to wash it. I’d pin it up before I showered to avoid dealing with it, and each week I passively tested myself to see how long I could go before I looked like Janis from The Muppets. After I chopped it off it seemed even more unnecessary to wash. I could get hosed down with beer (hypothetically, of course) and still decide not to wash it the next day if it looked OK. Hell, I might not shower at all.
The irony is that I’ve got a washroom stocked with myriad bath products. Like any girl who grew up with easy access to a mall, I’m a huge fan of bath gels, fancy shampoos and conditioners, and lotions. The only difference between me and everyone else is that I end up keeping mine for years. As a teenager I convinced myself I was being frugal, never recognizing that I’d actually use them if I just showered more frequently. It excited me to know that I’d had the same dusty bottle of Bath & Body Works Juniper Breeze bath gel for over a year. “Money in the bank! Cha-ching!” I would think to myself, giving my back a congratulatory pat. It wasn’t until years – and several apartments – later that I realized how ridiculous this was. Even now, I hoard my partially used gels and potions as though they’re something to treasure, rather than something to replace at a drugstore for $7.99. Just knowing they’re in the bath rack, waiting to be used again, gives me the illusion that I’ve won half the shower battle.
So how infrequently do I bathe? Let me start by saying that I’m currently on Day 6 of not washing my body or my hair. That’s unfortunate for my live-in boyfriend, who thinks I’m crazy, but as I said to him this morning, it’s all in the name of research (or whatever excuse I come up with each week). That being said, I typically shower at least every 3 days. OK, no. Every 4 days. My hair probably gets washed once every 5-7 days….if I’m lucky. Like I said, I’ve gone two weeks before and I wouldn’t pass up a dare to do it again.
There are a ton of great excuses for not showering. I have work to do. My cat needs petting. It’s environmentally sound. In fact, every time I read about some celebrity like Jennifer Aniston yapping about how she showers in under 4 minutes to help save our natural resources I think, “Screw you, Aniston. I barely shower at all!” I hover between thinking I’m the laziest, dirtiest girl I know to joking about being “more European.” I engage in conversations with girlfriends before beach trips about needing to shave my legs without fully admitting that they haven’t been shaved in a month (hey, I have light hair). Not showering regularly has become one of my ‘quirky little flaws’ that makes me me. I’ve crafted several self-deprecating jokes about it to try to assuage friends that despite being dirty, I’m still able to be funny. And being funny is what counts, right? Well, that and not smelling bad.
Avoiding a funky smell when you hate to bathe is actually easier than you might think. Deodorant is key. As is wearing clothing that’s relatively clean. Changing your underwear is good. You might say I’m the human body equivalent of that pair of jeans you never wash but nobody knows the difference. Except when I shower people actually say, “You look nice!” Looks are the biggest downside of this little habit of mine. When I do shower, I feel better, look better and smell better. I know all of this, so I try to make a concerted effort. If anything, I do it to please my man. Being clean is sexy; ponytails are not. It’s difficult to find a balance when every shred of my being is beckoning me to wait until tomorrow (or the next day). But sometimes being clean is important.
If I have a business or doctor-related appointment, I shower. If I’m attending a wedding, or an event where I might be raising my arms, I step up my game. When I went to see Martha Stewart’s show film a live taping I thought about showering, but I had to get there at 8am so it didn’t happen. Still, deep down I know that cleanliness is next to godliness. Bathing allows you to have a clear mind, to wipe the slate clean and start anew. I have much respect for those who make this happen once or even twice a day. It’s remarkable, really. I’ve just come to understand that I’m not one of those people. And that’s OK – at least with me.