My husband went on a business trip and came back with the habit of showering daily, thereby breaking our unspoken, thrice weekly bathing arrangement.
At first I thought he was jet-lagged. After his third shower in as many days, I pointed out his excessive cleansing.
“Yeah, I know. I showered every day when I was away and I think I’m going to keep it up,” was his reply.
“You can’t do that!” I shrieked. “You didn’t even ask me! You’re going to ruin everything!”
I tried appealing to his sense of economy, but the thought of using more water didn’t bother him. He said he liked feeling clean.
So do I, but . . .
You’re familiar with the philosophy, “You can’t experience joy until you’ve known sorrow”? Well, I don’t appreciate clean until I feel disgusting.
I’ve never been a daily bather. Cleaning myself falls into a category of routine tasks that beat down my spirit with their monotony.
“You should take a shower,” I tell myself.
“But I just did that. Besides, I’m only going to get dirty again,” myself tells me.
Before having children, I hosed myself off more consistently. But by the time the babies were old enough to prop in front of the TV, I’d lost interest.
There are more important things to with a miracle-half-hour to myself. Play on the computer. Alphabetize the pantry. Most things are more interesting than showering.
The neighbors and I try to best each other in personal filth. It’s more than just how long we can go without bathing, it is about the quality of layers accumulated. We claim them like trophies. (Or, we’re just trying to excuse ourselves for being grubby stinkos.)
“Hiya, Marge! Your garden looks lovely. I’m so nasty. I haven’t showered since Wednesday, and I’ve been crawling around under the house.”
“Oh Phyllis, you’re hardly nasty. The last bath I had was Tuesday, right before the baby threw up on me and I’ve just finished flipping the compost pile.”
Daily bathing is unhealthy, says research I’m making up just now. Letting life build up on our skin a bit builds immunity, sounds like something that could be true.
My personal fitness program is founded on my hygiene principles. I won’t shower until I’ve exercised and I won’t exercise until I’m dirty. It takes a final coat of sweat to convince me to seek soap.
Also, my hair has specific instructions not to hang in clumps or mat to my scalp for at least three days.
I’m not gross or anything. When I get to feeling less than daisy fresh, I simply run a washcloth over my important parts to hold me over until shower day.
But the situation at home is uncomfortable. Normal has shifted, leaving me at a disadvantage. Since he started showering every day, it makes me feel dirty to be around my husband. And not the good kind of dirty.
The whole situation stinks . . .wait, that’s probably just me.
* * *
This story was originally published on InThePowderRoom.com