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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Tuesday
Jul142009

UNCLEAN!

My friend Irene was here last week, visiting from her exotic homeland of London, England. We were at lunch, and then I confessed something, Something horrible.

Me: I have to say, I feel a little gross. I didn't shower for a few days, and then this morning I went to the gym and when I got back home, the water was shut off because they're doing some kind of plumbing work.

Irene: [Horrified stare]

Me: So then there wasn’t enough time to go back to the gym and shower and still meet you for lunch, but we have this kind of large Brita container, which holds a lot of water, but it was in the refrigerator, so I basically gave myself an icy sponge-bath. And then dumped the rest of the water over my head. Which was bracing, to say the least. It was like an ice-cream headache, only more so.



[Irene stares at me as if I had told her that I like to poop in the sink.]



Irene: But…why didn't you shower in—how many days, did you say?

Me: Um. A few? Maybe a couple. I kind of can't remember.

Irene: You can't remember the last time you showered?

Me: I can't say my showers are all that memorable. Don't look at me like that. You live in Europe! You should be comfortable with the unwashed!

Irene: You used to shower every day, in college!

Me: Are you saying you still shower every day?

Irene: …

Me: !



Then we agreed never to talk again.



Or rather, we made fun of each other for a while, then changed the topic. I may have made her smell me, at some point. (For the record, I smelled fine. Ice water and baby wipes can accomplish quite a bit.)



It should be said that Irene does not have kids. (And no disparaging Irene, please; she's one of my best friends and I will have to come to your house and give you a noogie if you do.) (Don't think I won't.) So I could say that she has all the time in the world to take daily showers. But my son is six. It's not like he's an infant. I have time. And yet I find myself forgetting to shower. Forgetting, or deciding there are better things to do, like, I don't know, read? You can't read in the shower, after all. Someone needs to fix that.



I ran into my other friend (I have more than one!) Jennifer today, and we were talking about this not-showering habit of the children-having. Jennifer has two kids, so she has more reason to not shower. "Not only do I not shower, but I forget to brush my hair," she said.

"I don't own a brush," I countered.

"I never look in the mirror," she said. "One day I got my hair wet in the outdoor sprinkler, and my hair was all plastered down on one side and it was like that all day. And I had no idea."

"Oh, I have to look in the mirror," I said, "because I usually have something crazy stuck in my hair. Like a cat toy, or a pack of gum. Seriously. Did I tell you about the time I walked around with a hanger hanging from the back of my coat? I never leave home without giving myself a once-over."

"I'm going to shower now," Jennifer said, "Since I just went to the gym. So that’s good, right?"

"I hope your water is on, but if it's not, may I recommend ice water and baby wipes?"

Somewhere in England, a glamorous, freshly showered woman wept for all of us.

Reader Comments (138)

I don't have kids, yet I cannot seem to shower daily. My husband does say I have no discernible body odor even after a couple of days of not showering, so he's enabling the poor hygiene habit. I think I don't bother because I haven't had an office job for a few years, so I don't need to bring my grooming A game. Also: laziness. All that lathering and rinsing and repeating and toweling off and moisturizing. So exhausting.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMags
Despite having 2 kids, I shower every day - total addict, I know. However, I agree that a really great showering experience should involve reading. I've gone so far as propping a book up against the glass wall, but turning pages is inefficient. I'll have to try the one-arm-extended approach... and not let my husband know, as he thinks I already spend too much time both showering and reading.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristy
My guess is we get used to not showering every day and it seems like not that big a deal so we keep it up. There's probably been several weeks where I've gone Monday-Friday without showering. I then take a shower each day on the weekend BECAUSE I CAN and it seems to make up for the non-showering during the week.

Luckily we live in California, so I can get away with non daily showers. If we were still in Texas... hooo boy! That would be very not good.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy
Y'all are nasty. I mean that in the nicest way but really don't know how you can stand not being clean. What about the whole crotchal-area thing? Unwashed for days? A friend and I were just talking about this the other day and she only showers a few times a week and washes her hands a tiny fraction of the times per day that I wash mine. Ick. She's sick all the time too, so... Whatever works for you, I guess.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary
I can't read in the shower because I am too blind without my glasses. I guess for that reason it has never occurred to me to try. But if I could see more than five inches in front of my nose without assistance I am sure I would have developed a system by now. I read while I eat; I read while I'm in the car (as a passenger, people!); I read in bed . . . I've even given up telling my kid not to read comic books at the dinner table because chances are I'll at least be paging through a Pottery Barn catalog if not reading a novel or something, and my husband refuses to give up Twitter on his damn phone unless we're at a restaurant, so why be a hypocrite?

I do shower every day, mostly because my long, fine, straight blonde hair -- you know, the kind every girl who ever held a Barbie thinks at some point that she wants? -- goes limp and dull and dark dishwater pretty much 8 hours after I wash it. If I load it up with some sort of styling product post-shampoo it stays nice, but a daily application of water is cheaper and FASTER.

Also, trying to bathe while my child screamed when he was a baby caused me to perfect the art of showering in 10 minutes or less so I can get back to my reading.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjaelithe
Oh my god, you made me laugh so hard. It's funny, I think I spend all of 15 minutes getting ready for work in the morning (I have a 2-year-old, and it shows). Who needs a hairbrush when you've got fingers? My husband spends way more time on his hair than I do. And to me, a shower in the morning may wake me up, but I still feel like it's just one more thing on my list of chores for the day. Every once in a while though, I'll take a shower at night, after Ryan's in bed, and it's absolutely heavenly. I'll spend 45 minutes just forgetting where I am. Which probably means that I'm not necessarily any cleaner for the exercise.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Never time to try clothes on, so I just grab whatever it is from the hanger, take it home, put it on and forget to take off the tags and those long sticky strips that say L or XL or, once, XXL and I walk around with those things on and later feel silly when I realize it, but only for a minute as I'm too tired to really care.
I have no kids and forget to shower ALL THE TIME. Although that happens less often in the summer when I sweat more and my skin looks like an oil slick.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn
It's not just kid-business! We're saving water over here.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternorm
Can I tell you how much I appreciate this blog??!! I really, really thought I was the only one who did this!!! Not sure I'm ready to shout it from the rooftops (or even confess this to my best friend), but I will take comfort in knowing I am not alone. Many thanks.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea V.
THANK YOU ALICE BRADLEY!
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBethany Zabrosky
Good god, you have just made me feel so much better...

i struggle with shower taking on a daily basis
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbouncy
When I was a kid people only had a bath every Saturday night, usually. I don't remember people stinking. Perhaps when everyone does you don't notice so much.

As I've gotten older, my hair doesn't need to be washed as much, but I still like a daily shower. Doesn't mean I get to have one, though.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
I take sleep over a shower any day! I know it's only an extra 20 minutes or so of sleep, but man! When you're lucky to get six hours of sleep a night, 20 minutes is a big deal!

If I remember to brush my teeth and put on deodorant - it's a good day!
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenee
I shower every other day at BEST and my kid is 16 months old. Sleeps through the night. Is on a SCHEDULE. I have no excuse other than the fact I am too lazy after spending the evening on the internet.

(And I saw your Momversation and I check my email every 15 minutes as well, and anyone who doesn't? Freaks me out a little bit quite frankly)
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersamantha jo campen
I am an erratic showerer - every day, yes, but no consistency of time or reason for the shower. If I have to get up at 5AM, I shower the night before, as I am not an early morning person.

I think nothing feels better than a shower after an invigorating workout. Knowing people that go a few days or more without showers, I find that more gross than curry coming out of armpits (or any food for that matter).

I'll say what no one else has said - I think at the very least a person should wash three body parts per day. And, if using the same washcloth, hopefully these infrequent showers don't go from back to front.

Finslippy's conversation with her friend cracked me up.

I am much more lazy with bathing the baby. I bum my husband's bath water for that.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjessica
Count me in for 2 children and no shower in 2 days.



July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEchidna girl
Rarely do I 'LOL'. And an even more rare occurance is me typing those three lame letters in a comment response. But alas, this post did have me laughing. The unclean competition. That's a good fight!
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramymarie
BAH!!!!!!!!
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine
Darn. You.

This made me laugh so hard in my sorry little cubicle that I had to hold my hand over my mouth.

This? Is why I can't quit you!
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLesley
Come on people. Don't certain parts need to be refreshed every so often and are most of you sleeping alone? I have two kids and have been able to maintain a min of 1 shower per day.
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGill
I am absolutely miserable if I don't have a shower and even more miserable if I can't wash my hair. Every single morning. If I don't, it feels like bugs are crawling all over me.

The closest compromise is the before-bed shower.

It is such a time waster, but I can't seem to have it any other way. When my kids were babies and they would nap and I had a choice between a nap for me or shower, get what I chose.... :-)
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAEMom
oh, ick, ick, ick! you MUST wash yourself AT LEAST once per day. how can you stand yourself otherwise? how can you get into bed at night......dirty? even when my son was a needy little baby i still managed a shower every single day. more than one if necessary. and if i couldn't manage to bathe myself daily i sure wouldn't tell anybody about it. ewwwww!
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertrish
I thought about taking a shower last night, but then it was too late so I went to bed.
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermary
i don't have kids (yet? i hope?) and i shower 4 times a week at the most. there is simply too much reading and television watching and internetting to be showering more than that.

i DO want to have a child, but i am also afraid of what will become of me.
July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersupertiff

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