Feminist Hygiene



            During the week leading up to Halloween and Lola’s birthday that I could let the exercise lag a bit in favor of getting the ten thousand other things that needed doing done. Over the weekend I let the eating slip too, and yesterday I was certainly feeling all the sugar and salt and preservatives and grease. I vowed that I was going to get back up on the wagon starting Monday morning, so I woke up at 5:30 and did my resistance band workout for upper body. I also have all my eating planned out for the day and it includes lots of water, green tea, and fruits and veggies.

                So far, so good.

                So after my workout, I’m standing in the bathroom pulling my hair up into my standard “hair’s too greasy to wear down” hairstyle, when Joe comes in. He hugs me and gives me a kiss and asks if I’m going to take a shower.

                “Nah,” I reply. “I’m good.”

                “Are you sure you don’t want to rinse off?” he asks.

                “ Yeah. I took a shower yesterday.”

                “You did?” he says, doubtfully.

                I think about it for a minute and realize that, of all the stuff I got accomplished yesterday, a shower was not among them.

                “Hunh. I guess not.”

                “That’s not healthy,” husband says. “Especially for a woman. You should rinse off.”

                I nod my head, a little dazed, and as I walk to the shower I think about hygiene. I’ve always thought of myself as a clean person. I brush my teeth and wash my face before bed. I clean the bedsheets often and I change my underwear every day. I don’t have B.O. (as far as I can discern). And don’t all the experts say that you don’t actually need to shower each day, that it can actually be bad for your skin and hair to do so?

                But after my shower this morning I was struck by two things: 1) how much better I felt having washed off and 2) how easily I had shrugged off maintaining my personal cleanliness. Like yesterday, showering just wasn’t on the list of things to do and it was a long list. I ranked mopping the floor higher than showering. I ranked washing the dishes above washing myself. Thinking about this objectively, I feel like there’s something kind of wrong with that. I mean, I’ll never be OCD about hygiene but I think I could benefit from paying a little more attention to body maintenance. It reminded me of that hazy three week period right after Lola was born, when I didn’t sleep or wash or go outside or use the toilet with any kind of regularity. It was a humiliating time that I do not wish to revisit in any intensity.  

                So, I came up with a plan of action:

1)      Shower every day and be liberal with the moisturizer.

2)      Skin brushing every other day. I paid the $4 for the damn boar bristle brush, I might as well use it and see if the hippie detox experts are right about the benefits of skin brushing (http://www.pureinsideout.com/detox-skin-brushing.html; be sure to avoid the articles on colonics and fasting).

3)      Continue to floss and brush and wash my face before bed. By heavens, I’ve got an example to set!

4)      Set aside two evenings per week to really focus on my feet. Not only are they starting to get cracked and gross, but yesterday I found a shard of glass embedded in the callous on my heel. It didn’t hurt, I just happened to notice it when I was dusting my feet off. It was stuck a good millimeter or two in there and it still hadn’t reached nerves. Yeesh, I’ve got thicker callouses than a Kalahari bushman.

5)   No picking. I’m a habitual picker. I pick my face, I pick my toes, I pick at my skin. I do it absently or when I’m feeling insecure and I need to reaffirm my sense of control. A friend once told me that people of Scandinavian descent tend to pick more because they used to spend so much time huddling in their long houses for warmth with nothing to do but pick and groom themselves.  And while I do enjoy that sweet pickin’ sensation, something tells me it’s not so good for the skin. So, to Ragnorok with you, ya Viking heathens. This girl will pick no more!


One response to “Feminist Hygiene

  1. Wow, that dry brushing article was really interesting. Less cottage cheese thighs, I’m on that bad wagon in less than a second. Where the hell do I score me a boar bristle brush?

    [Would you believe I just had a fleeting thought of, perhaps I got left for a emaciated girl with no cellulite. *sigh* Damn you MEDIAAA.]

    That’s why the Scottish figured out games like log throwing and cooking with sheep intestines. Germanic tribes had a nature of being…well, we did a lot of kick assery I here. Thus, this translates to me blogging. Thank you ancestry.

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