Monday, May 13, 2024

To Shower or not to shower – that is the question. By Jan Scarbrough

Getty Images
During the last full week of April, I watched The Five when a segment came on about the harm of taking showers. Of course, the majority of The Five went off on the topic. No way, they said. So, I looked up the source.


The New York Post said: 


“Experts say the daily shower has no proven health benefit, dismissing the dousing as a socially accepted practice geared toward staving off accusations of funkiness — as A-listers like Jake Gyllenhaal and Mila Kunis admit they’ve been saying no to the nozzle.


‘Why are we washing? Mostly because we’re afraid somebody else will tell us that we’re smelling,’ environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy told the BBC.”


“In 2021, researchers at Harvard Health found that 66% of Americans shower every day, while a 2005 report claims that it is common for Brits to shower once or twice per day.”


For me, taking a bath went out with childhood; I love my shower! Whatever these experts say, I’ll continue to do my daily thing.


I know I’m lucky to live in the 20th and 21st centuries! I wouldn’t like living in any other time.


The Distinctly Montana lifestyle magazine shows up in my inbox, and this time I spotted an interesting article called The Stench of the Frontier: Personal Hygiene in the Old West


You need to read it. It is downright gross.


“If Manifest Destiny had a smell, it would surely stink of rotting garbage, excrement, and a heady whiff of BO. Literature and film have cultivated in the American imagination a highly romanticized take on the Old West, but they’ve necessarily left out some of the crustier details of day-to-day hygiene.”


The point is that our Western romance novels leave out the grittier parts of living in the 19th century.


Earlier this year, I transcribed the handwritten memories of my mom mainly so they wouldn’t be lost for my children and grandchildren. Nancy was born in 1918 and died in 2004. She was a young woman during WWII. Here she describes what her life on a Kentucky farm was like in the 1920’s:

My mom


“When very young we wore white dust caps all day long (cloth but made like a shower cap). It was warmer and supposedly kept our hair clean.


We took a bath every week. In winter we wore long underwear and long stockings. We washed our hair every 2 weeks, rinsing it in vinegar water. I don’t remember a toothbrush. We made tooth brushes out of gum tree twigs. We always washed our hands before eating and washed our faces each morning before going to school.”


It hasn’t been very long when humanity has felt the importance of cleanliness. Convenience is one reason. Plus, as the New York Post article said, we don’t want other people to think we smell!


So, when you read a romance novel set in the Old West, remember you may be getting a “clean” version of reality.

No comments: