Thursday, July 14, 2005

Of Note: How Science Finally Vindicated My Hate of Showering

When I was a kid, I refused to shower. Not just once, but always. My parents spent much of my childhood trying to think up new and clever ways to trick me into showering (buying cool shampoos and body-paint soap, or calling the whole thing "shaking a tower" instead of "taking a shower"). But nothing worked. I'd lock myself in the bathroom, turn on the water, stick my hair under the faucet so it looked showered, give my dry body a quick rub with a bar of soap so it smelled showered, then sit on the toilet lid with the water running for a while to make the whole thing seem legit. Of course, I did end up in the shower fairly regularly, but it was always a fiasco of tears and whining and flailing arms and legs.

The thing is, honestly, I never got over hating showers. I mean, don't get me wrong ... I shower, and no one has to throw me in the tub. I just don't like it. Feels like a waste of time: The shaving, the hair washing and hair drying, it takes forever. So getting me into the shower is still a chore: I'll walk around the apartment all day saying "I'm about to get in the shower" while my boyfriend laughs at me saying, "yeah, right."

Needless to say, this is not something I usually discuss publicly. But ALL of this is necessary background to understand why I feel especially vindicated by the recent news that daily showers can actually cause brain damage.

Scientists believe that breathing in small amounts of manganese found in water may harm the central nervous system. Dr John Spangler, of Wake Forest University in New Carolina, said: "If our results are confirmed, they could have profound implications for the world. Inhaling manganese, rather than eating or drinking it, is far more efficient at delivering it to the brain." Manganese is in food and rocks and enters the air, soil and water. It damages the brain leading to learning difficulties, tremors and changes in behaviour. Dr Spangler's team claim that a 10-minute shower a day for 10 years would expose children to three times higher doses than would be needed to damage a rat's brain. Adults with more years in the shower would receive doses 50 per cent higher.

See! I knew there was a reason I hated showers! I read this and immediately emailed my best childhood friend, Quail, who also happens to hate of showers. I sent her the article and we emailed back and forth all day feeling brilliant about the whole thing: "All those people who made fun of us for hating showers are going to get manganese brain poisoning!"

It's actually not big news ... it's kinda just common sense: if there are things in the water, those same things are probably present in the water vapor, and you probably breathe them in when you shower. Just after high school, I worked in a natural pet food store in Oregon (yes, it's true) with a quirky high-strung woman named Nancy who was in her 70s but looked 40. She always swore that the secret to her youthful longevity was that she never took hot showers, because she didn't want to breathe in any vaporized chemicals from the water. Last time I talked to Nancy she was in her 80s and still hyper as ever. Maybe she was on to something.

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Blogger Joel Bass said...

Wow! Had no idea. I'm happy for you that you're vindicated, but for the rest of us, what do we do now? Have you stopped showering completely? Or have you bought some overpriced Hammacher Schlemmer HEPA showerhead?

I like my brain...

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you don't know me but i was looking on the internet for information about people who didn't like showers. I remember when i was a bit smaller my parents would talk to other parents about how difficult it was to shower and every kid seemed to same, then suddenly everyone changed their mind. They grew up and suddenly wanted showers all the time. I hate them, so long and boring and i feel i could be doing something else!*sigh* This article made me feel better a bit.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

This is awesome! Unlike you guys, I don't really have any strong memories of hating showers as a kid, but in recent years (I'm 25) my hatred has totally skyrocketed. It's to the point now where I have figured out how to circumvent each of the benefits that showering is supposed to provide. (I use talc spray in my hair a few times a week, I get my legs waxed instead of shaving, etc. etc.)

My friends love to tease me about it but at the end of the day they always admit that they never would have guessed I don't shower; I don't smell, my hair isn't crusty, my skin is totally hydrated. It's awesome. I'm a huge proponent of the not showering.

Anyway I guess the only thing I have to add to your awesome discovery vis-a-vis science, is that our bodies are fully equipped to self clean without all the typical showering acoutrements anyway. If you stop washing your hair, and you can make it a few weeks through the shampoo withdrawals, it starts to self clean and, I swear to god, looks better than ever.

Well, it's nice to find other shower haters, even if it's just online. I've never actually met anyone else who agreed with me on this but I stand by my shower hatred...

2:53 AM  
Blogger csarah said...

I HATE HATE HATE showers. and when i read your blog a sense of relief came over me. woo! haha.
something about them annoys me and i wait until i have to everytime!

8:43 PM  
Blogger themanicgardener said...

What about baths? My own guess is that there'd be less evaporation from a bath than from showering, but do all you folks who hate showers hate baths as well?

As for the hair self-cleaning--that is definitely a new one on me.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Hippie Confessions said...

Add me to the list of people who love you for posting this. My aversion to showers is starting to mess up my relationship, sigh. Sometimes I enjoy them once I'm in there, but it's harder than quitting drinking to get started!

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, thank GOD others feel this way! It didn't hit me until I was about 43 or so, and I'm now 45, but thankfully I'm a freelancer and work at home so I don't offend anyone. Even when I start to "smell myself," it kind of bothers me, but the aversion to the shower is stronger every time. And baths? Worse than showers! Who wants to sit and soak in their own muck, plus 'tub junk' -- it's there, no matter how often you clean -- and if you clean, there are too many chemicals.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Cristin B said...

Personally, once I get in the shower, I'm usually fine. It's getting there that's the problem. It's not something I'm capable of explaining, but I'll put it off until even *I* think I stink. It's kind of embarrassing, but not, since it's not exactly something lots of people know. And here I am talking about it. Because you did. Go us. :)

1:45 AM  

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