Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Nasty niffs

Interesting to read that during the pandemic 25 per cent of the population have stopped showering every day and 14 per cent have stopped using deodorant. Presumably because people aren't going out so much and don't see the point of such scrupulous hygiene.

It reminds me yet again that we're all a lot fussier about cleanliness than we were a few decades ago. When I was growing up I had a bath once a week and that was basically it (very few homes had showers at that time). I might wash other bits of me when the need arose, but otherwise the weekly bath was considered more than enough. And deodorants weren't used as routinely as they are now.

A lot of people must have been pretty whiffy but either nobody noticed or they thought it rude to mention it. I never noticed any general smelliness when I was young (apart from cigarette smoke), but then my sense of smell was always poor.

At some point people got much more hygiene-conscious, everyone was installing home showers, and deodorants were being lavishly applied. The under-washed began to feel distinctly unpopular as the super-washed multiplied.

But have we now gone to the opposite extreme of obsessive cleanliness? Some would say yes, that too much showering and washing removes the protective organisms from our skin and makes us more prone to infections. We've become terrified of producing the slightest unsavoury odour.

Personally I can't be bothered with baths any more, and I don't shower every day, only when I feel the need. Our bath has been used about three times since we moved in to this house 11½ years ago. I've never been keen on the wallow-in-a-bath-with-scented-candles scenario.

But one thing's for sure - blogging avoids all nasty niffs.

40 comments:

  1. Except when I was hospitalised and had to undergo the indignation of sponge baths, I have never missed my daily shower, sometimes, two of them. I have no intention of changing my ways to accommodate some new fad.

    And, yes, blogging will do it every time.

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    1. Ramana: Yes, in the end it's all down to an individual's needs. Some people need occasional showers, others need them twice or even thrice a day.

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  2. Like you I don't like wallowing in a bath. Showers is where it's at. As to how often one NEEDS to shower/wash/whatever, it depends on whether you are child/adult, your job (physical/sedentary), how sexually active you are (semen smells) and whether one of the unfortunate who sweat profusely even when not particularly exerting themselves. To be frank I feel so very sorry for those in the latter group.

    Deodorants? I call bullshit to that devil's invention. Deodorants are actually bad for you - ask a dermatologist. No one, other than the neurotically insecure, needs deodorant if they wash themselves and change their underwear and shirts daily.

    On which fragrant, and rather unsavoury, note I'll leave you, Nick, with the infamous words of Napoleon on his way back from his many battles, still two days away, sending a messenger: "Don't wash, Josephine. Home soon".

    U

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    1. Ursula: Luckily I sweat very little and when I do the smell is inoffensive. I've never in my life used deodorant.

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  3. I’m guessing people don’t feel the need to shower if working from home. I need to shower after walking my 3-5 miles in the humidity here. I’m not a bath person, either. Never understand sitting in one’s own filth. Lol!

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    1. Bijoux: Frequent showers are a necessity in a very hot, humid climate. And yes, what's the point of a bath that's full of the filth you've just washed off?

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  4. I like a bath to soak away the aches...but the knees don't like getting out of it. Apart from that it is the shower but I follow the advice of a friend who went through French teacher training...wash at night to clean off the muck of the day.
    When we were first in France we learned to avoid rush hours in the supermarkets in the summer...the reek of B.O. was stupendous. But things changed...then it became the reek of scented bathing lotions.
    Cleanliness in Costa Rica is a cultural norm, but deoderants are making their appearance here unfortunately as now you smell the deoderant rather than the pleasant smell of soap.

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    1. Fly: I'm glad I can't smell all those sickly deodorants and bath oils that people use instead of soap. I don't even use soap in the shower, hot water is enough to wash the muck off.

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  5. I never understood baths, once I hit the shower scene in Canada, joy abounded.
    As to the hygiene industrial complex, follow the money, how they love advocating daily shampoos along with the conditioners used to replace the natural oil you've just destroyed, etc. Billions on dollars in the industry telling us how filthy we are. When we're not.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. www: The beauty and hygiene industry gets bigger and bigger. The profits must be massive. But I do need to shampoo my hair every day or it gets very greasy.

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    2. I stopped using shampoo several years ago. I just use the bar soap I use to wash the rest of me.

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    3. Mike: I might try that!

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    4. Once you stop washing your hair so frequently it will stop being so greasy because your body won't have to work so hard to replace the natural oils you removed. Been there; done that. Washing myself and my body once a week in the shower is now enough. I do wash critical parts with just a wet washcloth in between showers. I live an amazingly sedentary lifestyle.

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    5. Linda: Many years ago I tried not washing my hair to see what happened. After a few weeks one of my workmates suggested that my hair was disgusting (or words to that effect) and I should go back to washing it.

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  6. Not showering isn't an option for me, even during COVID. I usually walk several miles at a pace more than sufficient to break a sweat, generally getting off the treadmill about an hour before bedtime. (We bought the treadmill in June after our gym closed in March.)

    So far as deodorant and showers, about 1982 I was counseled by a manager after coworkers complained about body odor. I worked in a very hot environment in the plant at a nuclear power station at the time. From that day forward, I showered and used deodorant every day and kept an "emergency" can of deodorant -- which I actually never used -- in my locker at the plant. Decades later, after I retired, I mentioned that counseling meeting with my former manager. He said he felt really awkward about bringing it up. (Until now, I've never told anyone about this.)

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    1. Mike: That must have been a horribly embarrassing situation. But I guess the manager had to bring it up if so many coworkers had mentioned it. I once worked with a local councillor whose unpleasant body odour was often referred to by other councillors. I don't think any of them ever had the nerve to speak to him about it. I never even noticed it, because as I say my sense of smell is very poor.

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    2. It was. The only other time he got pissed at me (not so much me, but he vented on me) was when another department hired me away from his without letting him know first.

      I ended up staying in that other department until I retired... and then worked for it several more times as a contractor over the next 10 years.

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    3. Mike: Nice work if you can get it, as they say!

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  7. LOL! an interesting topic. and as to showers vs tub...
    no contest. showers win with me! they're refreshing and rejuvenating. and I only take one every few days.
    with only shampoo as the only soap. I have a very keen sense of smell and TOO MUCH scent is overwhelming to me. especially sickly sweet scents. just crisp and clean please.
    and ditto on deodorants! I use a little alcohol. it's the bacteria on our skin that causes odor. so... no bacteria... no odor! voila!
    life is good.

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    1. Tammy: There seems to be a general consensus that showers win over baths! Definitely more refreshing and rejuvenating than a bath. You use a little alcohol? White wine or red, lol.

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    2. LOLOL! you never disappoint. xoxo

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  8. I shower everyday, always have. I have so many little samples of soap, deodorant and such that I have fun trying them each day.

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    1. Mary: Jenny's the same. She has all sorts of shampoos, shower gels and soaps she plays around with.

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  9. When I was working I showered every day and used a deodorant but didn't wash my hair every day. At the weekends I enjoyed a hot leisurely bath with lovely smelly stuff in it, with candles around the room. Nowadays I only shower every couple of days or so, with mini washes in between, but always use deodorant. When I did my Everest trek there were days when I didn't shower at all, just used wet wipes, AND occasions when I wore the same pair of knickers two days running!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Polly: I think a lot of working people like a hot leisurely bath after a tiring week. The same pair of knickers two days running? What a shocking state of affairs....

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  10. No baths here, just showers. And I wash my hair with the bar soap I use for my face.

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    1. Jean: I think using soap on my hair rather than shampoo might be a bit fiddly. Not quite sure how that would work.

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  11. I can't remember when I stopped showering every day.

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  12. Germ Free Adolescent by X-Ray Specs, springs to mind!
    I think all this washing took off in the late seventies - I blame plumbers.
    Sx

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    1. Ms Scarlet: Didn't know that one. X Ray Specs are more Jenny's vintage than mine. Just listened to it - great song. Very appropriate in the midst of the cleanliness-obsessed pandemic.

      Yeah, these plumbers and their fancy-pants bathrooms....

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  13. I like to have a really hot bath on a cold winter evening - it warms me up. I think bathing or showering is now most peoples daily routine but we are not using as much soap as before becuase it is really not good for the skin to wash off all the oils.

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    1. Jenny: Too much washing can be as detrimental as too little. But a lot of people are paranoid about unknowingly giving off "a bit of a whiff".

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  14. Count me in with the shower favoring folks, Nick. We have a tub shower, but i fear that if I ever used the tub it might be difficult to get up and out, so i prefer to remain upright. On the subject of cleanliness, it seems that the covid fear has made many folks go way overboard in disinfecting everything, even themselves.

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    1. Beatrice: I can still get in and out of the bath without any trouble, but a shower is so much easier and cleaner.

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  15. Long before the pandemic I was at home most days but I never missed a shower, I just can't take the day seriously until I've showered.
    I also always get out of pyjamas, you might as well after showering

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    1. Kylie: I'm sure showering is a lot more essential in Oz, with those escalating temperatures. I was often dripping with sweat when I was there!

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    2. I'm the same - the day is a write-off unless I go through the morning ritual of showering and dressing.
      Sx

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    3. Ms Scarlet: The only ritual I require first thing is a decent breakfast to fuel me up for the morning.

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