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!