My friend Irene was here last week, visiting from her exotic homeland of London, England. We were at lunch, and then I confessed something, Something horrible.
Me: I have to say, I feel a little gross. I didn't shower for a few days, and then this morning I went to the gym and when I got back home, the water was shut off because they're doing some kind of plumbing work.
Irene: [Horrified stare]
Me: So then there wasn’t enough time to go back to the gym and shower and still meet you for lunch, but we have this kind of large Brita container, which holds a lot of water, but it was in the refrigerator, so I basically gave myself an icy sponge-bath. And then dumped the rest of the water over my head. Which was bracing, to say the least. It was like an ice-cream headache, only more so.
[Irene stares at me as if I had told her that I like to poop in the sink.]
Irene: But…why didn't you shower in—how many days, did you say?
Me: Um. A few? Maybe a couple. I kind of can't remember.
Irene: You can't remember the last time you showered?
Me: I can't say my showers are all that memorable. Don't look at me like that. You live in Europe! You should be comfortable with the unwashed!
Irene: You used to shower every day, in college!
Me: Are you saying you still shower every day?
Then we agreed never to talk again.
Or rather, we made fun of each other for a while, then changed the topic. I may have made her smell me, at some point. (For the record, I smelled fine. Ice water and baby wipes can accomplish quite a bit.)
It should be said that Irene does not have kids. (And no disparaging Irene, please; she's one of my best friends and I will have to come to your house and give you a noogie if you do.) (Don't think I won't.) So I could say that she has all the time in the world to take daily showers. But my son is six. It's not like he's an infant. I have time. And yet I find myself forgetting to shower. Forgetting, or deciding there are better things to do, like, I don't know, read? You can't read in the shower, after all. Someone needs to fix that.
I ran into my other friend (I have more than one!) Jennifer today, and we were talking about this not-showering habit of the children-having. Jennifer has two kids, so she has more reason to not shower. "Not only do I not shower, but I forget to brush my hair," she said.
"I don't own a brush," I countered.
"I never look in the mirror," she said. "One day I got my hair wet in the outdoor sprinkler, and my hair was all plastered down on one side and it was like that all day. And I had no idea."
"Oh, I have to look in the mirror," I said, "because I usually have something crazy stuck in my hair. Like a cat toy, or a pack of gum. Seriously. Did I tell you about the time I walked around with a hanger hanging from the back of my coat? I never leave home without giving myself a once-over."
"I'm going to shower now," Jennifer said, "Since I just went to the gym. So that’s good, right?"
"I hope your water is on, but if it's not, may I recommend ice water and baby wipes?"
Somewhere in England, a glamorous, freshly showered woman wept for all of us.