Posted by: Mark | October 23, 2009

On Showering

I place showering pretty low on my priority list. It is not uncommon for me to go several days without showering. Many of my friends find this utterly disgusting. Today I tweeted that it had been about 64 hours since my last shower, and I think that several people vomited in their mouths when they read that.

Why? What’s so important about showering?

Let me talk you through my typical fall weekend. It’ll start with a shower on Friday morning before work. Friday after school I’ll go to water polo practice and swim in the pool, getting chlorinated. Then typically on Saturday I’ll surf in the ocean, the greatest shower in the world. I really like the feeling of the ocean on me after a surf, so I’m not eager to rinse it off. I make it till Sunday, hopefully surfing again, and then by dinner time on Sunday it’s like “hey, why do it now? I’m gonna shower tomorrow morning anyway, so what’s the big rush?” And boom, there you have it, shower Friday morning, and not again until Monday morning.

My “typical” schedule is a bit off lately for various reasons, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my showering. I’ll go several days without it, because it’s not that big of a deal. Granted, I’ll still wash my face pretty much every night. I also apply deodorant so I hopefully don’t smell too terrible. My hair is pretty short, so it’s not like I’m covered in grease.

Some people say “how can you get into bed when you’re all dirty?” Two thoughts on that. A) many, many people shower in the morning only. As such, many, many people go to bed after a long day of whatever, so a lot of people get in bed dirty. But the bigger point is B) We spend on average 8 hours a night in bed. That’s maybe half the time you spend in your clothes on a given day. So 2 nights in bed = one day in clothes. How often do you wash your bed sheets? Or even bigger, your comforter? Maybe once every two weeks for the sheets, but much much longer for comforter. That is more or less the same thing as wearing the same clothes for a week. Awesome! Also, it’s not like sleeping is totally hygenic. We drool, fart, and in general smell like ass while we sleep. Ever notice how bad your breathe is in the morning? Yeah, that’s because sleeping is in itself a bit smelly. And if you need any more proof, read this absolutely hilarious post by my friend Sans Your Pants on the “4 ‘ates that you do in bed.” Holy crap is it good. My point is: your bed isn’t as clean as you think it is, so it’s not necessary that you show up to your bed smelling peachy fresh.

Beyond just these arguments, I recently listened to a really cool RadioLab episode on Parasites. Amazing. At the core of its awesomeness was this story about a guy who deliberately got hookworm, a parasite that lives in human poop, in order to fight his crippling asthma and allergies. It is unbelievable, and introduced me to something called the Hygiene Hypothesis. This idea is fascinating, and basically states that while of course hygiene is good, too much care for our cleanliness may actually deprive us of useful parasites and bacteria that actually help us fight off infections. Makes sense to me, and reminds me of the scene in “Knocked Up” when the chubby dude with curly hair is going on and on about the “Baby Book,” (rationally) stating that humans have successfully been having babies for a very long time without the aid of books telling them how to do so. Same thing with excessive hygiene. I may not smell minty fresh, but maybe covering myself in chemical soap daily to scrub away dirt may actually be worse for my skin than it is good. Not to mention the waste of water.

If I was a chick, and I looked like the surf chick in Blue Crush in her shower scene, maybe I’d shower more. And I’ll admit with full heterosexual preferences that if I looked like Christian Bale in American Psycho in the shower, maybe I’d shower more too. (Side note: very easy to find picture to link for Christian Bale’s buttcheeks; almost impossible for the blond chick’s. When you google “Blue Crush Shower” it turns out that you get a ton of images of the blue garters.)

But you see my point. Try it. You may really like avoiding a shower or two. I showered today, Friday, and it’s the fall, so me and my shower will likely hang out again at some point on Monday. Till then, smell ya later.



  1. You know, it’s actually bad for you to wash your hair every day, because the shampoo dries out your scalp. You’re only supposed to wash it every three days. Just a little something to support your argument.

  2. Mark, lots of guys with “full heterosexual preferences” find it really easy to Google naked pictures of Christian Bale. But being honest with their friends, family, co-workers, and themselves? That’s the hard part. Give me a call if you ever want to talk.

  3. It’s about time someone set the record straighter.

  4. Ti ho gia’ detto che non bisogna lavarsi i capelli piu’ di 2 volte la settimana non e’ vero? suoc

  5. […] am maybe, just a tad bit, starting to worry about myself. First I formalize my indifference for showering (I went from Wednesday 10pm to Monday 6pm this past week without showering. That’s almost 5 […]

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