Fandango’s Provocative Question #132

An interesting question. I don’t know if it’s provocative exactly, but it’s definitely interesting. There was a time when almost everyone would have just said yes and that was it, but these days — especially for those of us who are aging and whose skin seems to taking a really big hit — it’s a bit more complicated.

For me, this all started because my best friend for many years — before I went to Israel — was a hair dresser. A very good one. He was always doing something to my hair. Snipping it, highlighting it, redesigning it for a show he was doing. He was the first one to tell me to STOP WASHING YOUR HAIR EVERY DAY. “Hair,” he said, “Is supposed to have natural oils. It’s not supposed to be fluffy and dry. If you keep treating your hair as you are, it’s going to dry out, break, and maybe, fall out.” It dried out, thinned out, and fell out. These days, I wash it when it is dirty — and since I stopped washing it daily, it doesn’t get greasy the way it did before.

Later, when my granddaughter was taking a course in hairdressing, she told me the same thing. I pointed out that I wash my hair no more often than every three days and more typically, about five days to a week. If it isn’t dirty, I do not wash it because the last time I washed it when it wasn’t dirty, it started to fall out again. Your hair has to get used to not being washed daily.

What would make me wash it more often? Dirt. Spending time outside gardening or being near a fire. Or frying food for dinner. Any activity that actually gets me dirty or sweaty or both, it’s scrub-a-dub time.

Among the many insults my body has tossed at me as I’ve aged is my skin. It has thinned out and dried up. I bruise if I scratch. I bruise if I bump anything, even lightly. I have one of the endless non-specific forms of dermatitis since my twenties. I’ve been to so many dermatologists, I refuse to go anymore. All they will tell me is that it’s eczema or dermatitis of no known origin. It’s not psoriasis or arthritis. Because this kind of no-name itchy rash isn’t consider a “serious condition” — which is to say no one dies from it and it’s not contagious — pharmaceutical companies make more money selling topical ointments to dull the itching than they would from curing it. Rashes like this are extremely common and literally about 22 million Americans have some version of it, all of unknown origin.

Mine used to come and go. It would show up for a few months, then disappear for several months or even longer. But it always came back. Now, it’s pretty much always with me. I have better anti-itch medication than I did, but it never goes away.

Another big skin allergy inducer is any kind of new clothing. All new clothing is sprayed after manufacturing to protect it from mold and moths while it’s in storage. Unwashed new clothing really makes me itch. They actually warn you about washing new clothing before wearing it. I used to ignore the warning. Now, I wash it. Since you never know what substance whoever made the clothing sprayed on it, wash it, even though you lose that lovely shine clothing has when it is brand new.

I showered every day when I worked. I was outside more doing more sweaty, dirty work. And I smoked. These days, unless I’m potting plants or digging around the garden, I’m inside. And I stopped smoking a long time ago.

Garry would probably explode if he didn’t take a shower (or two) a day — although he does NOT wash his hair unless it absolutely needs it. He’s trying to retain what little of it remains. He showers enough for both of us.

Garry is physically the cleanest person I’ve ever known yet is unable to recognize if the rug needs vacuuming or the floor needs washing. He is just as likely to rinse the dishes rather than washing them with soap. Dust devils go unnoticed and grime waits for me. I see dirt. He is oblivious to it. Is this a “guy thing”?

Owen works more than full time and runs a garage. It’s a dirty, sweaty, difficult job, so when he gets home, he hits that shower with a bang.

I find the difference between how both men keep their bodies versus their indifference to house cleaning, interesting. While ignoring internal dirt, both of them pay attention to the cleanliness of cars — even if the kitchen floor doesn’t get similar attention. Maybe if I could drive the floor through a car wash?

This house would be cleaner if someone other than me cleaned it, but it’s respectable. It’s not a mess. It’s neat. The beds get made and the sheets are changed regularly. Laundry does not languish. Dishes are washed and put away. Counters don’t collect old mail or other junk.

Daily bathing was important when I got dirty and was outside more. It was also more important when I and people around me smoked. Now, no one smokes tobacco and I don’t smoke anything. When we used to have campfires in the teepee or in the backyard fire pit, that was a serious shower inducer. Even when we were still using the fireplace, smoke got into everything.

Now, life is pretty tidy. I wash when I need to wash. We have bidet-hoses on all the toilets — a reaction to the absence of toilet paper during the lockdown and a huge improvement in personal cleanliness for everyone. I most highly recommend them!

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Gallery, House and home, housework, Humor, Music, Photography, Provocative Questions, Water, Word Prompt

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15 replies

  1. such a great post. I’ve cut down to taking a shower every 2 days, mostly for the same reasons as you state, but also to use water more sparingly. Hair (very, very dry and fly away) gets washed every week and even if I wait another day, there’s no difference.
    Not seeing the dirt and dust must be a male thing. HH wouldn’t see it if it bit him in his backside…. 😉
    Loved that splish splash song… Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it IS a “guy thing.” Men don’t learn to clean as kids. Mom does it or a sister or they have help. And you’re right. They wouldn’t notice dirt even if it DID bite him on the butt!

      Isn’t that song a hoot?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I DID teach my son to keep his place clean. My father would clean and shine ALL our shoes every Saturday. HH’s mum had young girls for a year each to teach them how a household works. Seems it didn’t affect her sons…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe it is a guy thing. I don’t know. I DO know that, as a kid, I was charged with household cleanup duties. There was no ducking it. I guess I do see the dirt but I’m not moved to clean until asked or it’s obvious that our health is at issue. Sad but true. I do my best to clean the kitchen and “my” bathroom.

        Hair: I used to wash my hair DAILY for too many years and plastered it down with “Vitalis”, a hair tonic also used by some to make booze. I was warned by one of my bosses (One of the few nice ones) that I should go easy on my hair. I didn’t listen to him. Now, I am sorry I didn’t listen because my hair is making the great escape. Oh, woe is me!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Garry, just take over from my brother who always answers back to our teasing for his ‘landing place’: A big brain like mine needs place to spread out…..
          it’s ridiculous: He had lost most of his hair when he was 30 and ever since is just taking the fluff off with his rasor, while we ‘girls’ have still our manes in our older years. My dad only lost some of his hair as an old man and mum with her 94+ is still showing off a nice cut, even though you can look through now to the scalp.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the not noticing dirt is more of a guy thing. Not all of them of course but David was the same. He’d never think of vacuuming and if I were away for more than a day the first thing I’d have to do when I got home was clean the toilet. It was always disgusting. However, his slobbiness included cars. The back seat always looked like a rubbish tip and I was usually the one that washed and vacuumed it even though I didn’t drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The last time we went away for more than a day or two, when we came back the house was a disaster! Owen cleans like Garry, except because I don’t clean for my 52 year-old son, he eventually takes care of it. He takes REALLY good care of cars, though. He runs a garage. He’s got a thing with cars.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tas, I – despite criticism — try to keep “my” bathroom clean, especially the toilet. I recall the filthy public toilets I was forced to use during my working years. Oh, the agony.

      I try to keep our car respectable. Right now, it’s inundated with dog hair from our last two trips that included El Duque who sheds with the best of them.

      I hate it when people leave rubbish from take out meals. It’s diz-gusting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I only wash my hair once or twice a week and I still have plenty even if it is grey. I used to shower daily until I moved to Sisters Beach. Now it’s every other day, occasionally I might let two days go by if I’m not going anywhere. The main reason for the change is of course tank water. Try as I might I can’t have a three minute shower so I figure I’ll have a longer one less often. I keep a bucket in the shower too and use the water for rinsing things or watering plants.
    It can get a bit humid here though and it’s warmer in summer than Geeveston. I think this house gets hotter than the old one. So if I get sweaty I shower a bit more often because otherwise I can expect to get a rash.
    I think my skin is holding up pretty well apart from that. Naomi and I are lucky to have nice skin like mum had and we are not as wrinkled as some women our ages. Of course we’ve never made a habit of laying out in the sun even when we were young and I think that helped.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not wrinkled, but I’m scarred and my skin has become SO sensitive if I’m not itchy, I try to moisturize and leave it in peace. Because we now have a standup only shower, I can soap up and rinse down everything but my hair in just about three minutes. Sadly, cleaning the shower afterward takes another half hour. Because this is such a humid area, mold is our enemy and despite Garry using that shower for hours a day (he isn’t showering all that time — he’s just locking himself away from the rest of life), he can’t seem to recognize that you have to clean UNDER things, not just on top — and rinsing it with water isn’t cleaning it.

      After 30 years of marriage and another 24 years of being friends, I gave up. He’s 79. NOT going to change. HIS skin is holding up just fine!

      My hair fell out after each surgery. It used to grow back, but after the last heart surgery, it only grew back about halfway. It’s still coming back a tiny bit, but it’s thin. Shiny and healthy, but very fine and thin. I’ve had too many surgeries, too much medication, just too much damage. At least I still have some!

      Liked by 2 people

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