This post is going to bother you. I apologise in advance. I realise that I am in a constituency of one here, but I really need to get this off my hairy chest. I don’t get the whole getting washed thing. It just never took; as absurd as it sounds. Grooming baffles me, unless you mean a chimp picking the fleas off the back of another chimp. And that’s just a light snack. I never got in to the hang of being clean.
And I don’t even think it’s a gender thing – most of the men I see out and about look like they’ve had a wash. I haven’t. Chances are I haven’t even brushed my teeth. Most people I know are disgusted by this once they find out. Admittedly, they have to be told, because they haven’t necessarily noticed.
My partner rails at me endlessly, suggesting that I need to grow up and take responsibility for my own personal hygiene. It even surprises me how the word is spelled; it took three attempts and a spellcheck, it’s that alien a concept. She’s right, and that’s fine, but I have never lived a life where I have had washing myself as part of my daily routine. That hasn’t come up yet, which is absurd.
I don’t understand people who look like they’ve just stepped out of a 48-hour preening and primping session, with carefully waxed and sculpted hair; stubble cut by diamonds to millimetre precision. I do not understand how anyone has the time to accommodate such regimes in to their busy lives.
It is something which never crosses my mind to even begin thinking about having an opinion about, let alone actually putting in to any kind of practical motion. Having a wash just never crosses my mind, in the same way that the toilet facilities of Belgium probably never cross yours. Why should it?
It only came up today because I was reading a blog about beard maintenance, and it suggested that beard oiling should be done once a day, usually as part of a post shower scenario. The thought of showering every day shook me to my core: who has time for that? A straw poll told me the answer: everyone. Oh. Apparently the only point of contention in the showering every day debate is whether to do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. My vote was Saturday. I might have time.
Time for a momentary tangent, but we’ll be back with my faults shortly. I am very scared of my new shower. I’m not offering this as a reason why I’ve only used it twice since it was fitted, for clarity. I’m always scared of slipping over in the shower: I imagine it would hurt quite a bit. And this one’s new.
If I fall over in it I may fall in to, or in fact, through the enormous glass screen “The Men” so ably fitted. It may then smash and kill me. I wouldn’t like that. The thought of this vague possibility is stopping me from sleeping as well as I would like to. The terror scenario plays over and over.
Historically, I can’t keep my eyes closed for more than a few seconds in the shower for fear of losing my balance and falling over. I certainly can’t turn around or move when I have my eyes closed. In a free-form space, with nothing to hold on to I am equally scared of that when my eyes are open. And that’s what my new shower is like: it is a space open to the room, without enclosure. You can’t fall over in a bath: Although I do have visions of falling clean over whenever I try to get out of one.
I just don’t trust people – men, actually, but I hate being seen as sexist – who have taken time away from sleeping as long as possible to get up, brush their teeth and have a shower. It is not natural.
My morning routine involves rolling out of bed and cracking on with the day. I have always been like that: it does not make any sense to me to reduce the amount of sleep I am able to have for anything less life affirming than more sleep. Sleep is the ultimate goal in my life, and the definition of joy.
Likewise I don’t trust people – both genders this time – who go to bed early and who go out and do things at the weekend. Weekends are for catching up on the things you’ve missed during the week. And for me that mostly includes spending a whole lot of time in bed, and eating nice breakfasts. Outside is a myth. This is less a directly linked thought and more of an analogy, being used in order to explain where I am coming from. Self-sacrifice is not exactly high on my list of priorities, you see.
Other people take no end of pleasure in telling me that getting washed makes them feel so fresh, and that they feel so much better after a good wash. I’ve never experienced that, which I suppose is the core of the problem here: If I thought for one nanosecond that there was any benefit to getting washed, I might consider working out some methodology for incorporating it in to my schedule.
There isn’t, so I don’t. My partner tells me that I must smell I wash so infrequently, but I don’t think I do. I don’t think she does either, even on one of the very rare occasions where she has been forced to miss a shower. It’s a common misconception that not washing hyper frequently makes a person smell, and it’s balls. If a middle ground were being counselled, then I’d probably buy it, but it’s not.
I am a contrarian at heart, and so I will rail against any orthodoxy I see attempting to crush me under its heavy boot. I will not do what everyone else does solely because everyone else does. I am so very entrenched now that that’s what washing my body seems like to me. So just stop it, everyone else.