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    The New Yorker | Brooke Jarvis | 7/27/20 | 18 min
    14 reads9 comments
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    The New Yorker
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    • SEnkey
      Top reader this weekScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      I've gone through several periods of my life where regular bathing with soap wasn't possible. Two years in Paraguay, then various stints with the Marine Corps. Here's my anecdotal addition:

      When you are sweating a lot - you need to rinse the salt off to avoid heat rashes. I saw this a lot in the Marines. Running around with gear on traps all the salt and sweat on your body. We would change our clothes when we could but after weeks without a shower you would start to see your clothes tearing and withering through from the salt. A rain shower was a gift where everyone would strip down, rinse all their clothes, and let the salt drip off. I have to say that I never got acne or a surge of pimples while not showering for months.

      Interesting.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        49 minutes ago

        High five. Being in the rain is great. I sweat a lot, but no salt like that. Crazy how gear traps salt. I wear layers, wool, never have any salt issues.

        As of today, I’m pretty sure I’ve been two weeks without a shower. One hot tub though, lol.

    • joanne2 weeks ago

      I love the thought of smelling like a person.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      Love it! This is my anthem!!

      I started toying with non-showering when I moved onto a sailboat almost a decade ago. There was a shower at the marina where I docked, and another at the office where I worked, but I quickly started skipping showers and noticed that the more I skipped the better I felt.

      Fast forward ~5ish years and I got REALLY hardcore about living a "no product life." No shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing. Just occasional cold rinses, to nurture my natural biome. At the peak of my soap-free existence, I attended two black tie weddings without anything more than a splash of water on my face and I am absolutely certain that I wasn't the "dirty" or "messy" guy at either party. If anything, I can be a bit of a dandy when I get dressed up.

      Later, after leaving the corporate world for a more blue-collar life, I became less militant about not using soap, because I often needed to get serious dirt and grease off of myself. But then at the beginning of 2019, I moved onto a small RV (without a shower) and, once again, basically stopped bathing altogether, except for jumping in rivers and lakes whenever possible. When I can find a solid, clear water source, I love grabbing handfuls of dirt, mud and even small pebbles and rubbing the mixture into my face, ears, neck, underarms. Salt water is a particular treat.

      And that brings me to today: Now I live in a small adobe shack in rural New Mexico without running water. So, obviously, bathing is out of the question. I'm perpetually dirty, and often sooty as well - my only heat comes from two beautiful wood stoves and my hands are in there reorganizing logs every few hours. I run into town once or twice a week to refill my few five gallon water jugs, but that's just for drinking and cooking. I absolutely love the whole arrangement, and my skin does too. The best part is that there are two beautiful little streams running through my property, and even though they are getting VERY cold (especially in the morning) I love to put my bare hands and feet in there and splash around. Running wet hands through my hair feels like baptism. I'm back down to only two "cosmetics," my absolute minimum: a toothbrush and paste (twice daily) and a small plastic fine-tooth comb (once weekly, to prevent the buildup of grease, although that can be a look too, if done correctly). Overall, I like the way I look and I like the way I feel. And I especially like how easy it is. I think more people should try to simplify. It's not for everyone, but it's worth a shot.

      I don't have a mirror at home, but occasionally I'll catch a glance of myself when I'm out. Sometimes I look downright frightening, but far more often I think "Lookin' good, man. Keep it up," then I wink at myself and move on with my life.

      • Pegeen
        ScoutScribe
        2 weeks ago

        You are a hoot, my friend! May I make a suggestion? Perhaps a dry brush for exfoliation and lymph drainage. I think you only have to do it once a week. It’s gentle and good for the skin - detoxification. I know a bidet is not forthcoming, but it is a wonderful convenience that saves trees and unnecessary showering. We purchased one before the pandemic and it has been wonderful. And the cold water is a REALLY good therapy. Do you know about Wim Hoff? Google him, as I could see you becoming the next Ice Man!!!

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          2 weeks ago

          My "toilet" is a rustic outhouse that looks out across a pasture with cows. So I won't have a bidet for the foreseeable future, but I'm still a fan.

          PS Remember this one? 🤣 Love it

      • temi
        Scout
        2 weeks ago

        huh. this might be weird, but i’ve always pictured you to be a slightly geeky office man, neat and squeaky clean

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          2 weeks ago

          Lolol. I'm cracking up. Slightly geeky, yes. Definitely. And I'm not not neat, if that makes sense. I was an "office man" in my early 20s and, as a reaction, a full-on scumbag for a while after that. Now I'm 33 and somewhere in between, acting as Thoreau and obsessed with "natural" (as an extension of "real," in an attempt to counteract the proliferation of "fake") but also fully aware that it's an act.

    • Pegeen
      ScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      This is wild and worth the read. Skin is fascinating and some facts, such as face mites, are shocking. I thought putting that protective mattress cover on my mattress took care of all the creepy crawlers - not so!