Thursday, 4 November 2010
According to a survey published by tissue manufacturer SCA, 41% of British men and 33% of women don't shower every day, with 12% of people only having a proper wash once or twice a week. So what do these filthy beggars do to keep themselves from reeking to high heaven? Well, apparently some women wipe under their arms with wedges of lemon instead of washing while others have a quick rub down with half a Wet Wipe. Half of all British teenagers, according to research by Mintel, don't wash every day – with many opting for a quick spray of deodorant to mask any stink. Okay, so that's not much of a surprise, but the thought of grown-ups travelling on buses and tubes smelling like a piece of overhung game fills me with dread and makes me almost grateful to be virtually housebound.
However, there are, says The Guardian newspaper, environmental benefits in smelling like an old dustbin. Environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy, 51, limits his showers to about twice a week. "The rest of the time I have a sink wash," he says. "I believe that I'm as clean as everyone else." It has helped him to get his water consumption down to around 20 litres a day – well below the 100 to 150 average in the UK.
As McCarthy points out, it's only recently that we have expected people to bathe or shower every day. "When I was a kid," he says, "the normal thing was to bathe once a week." Head much further back into history, and we find Elizabeth I bathing once a month, and James I apparently only ever washing his fingers. In 1951, almost two-fifths of UK homes were without a bath, and in 1965, only half of British women wore deodorant.
Quite right, Donnachadh. And in those days everyone smelt like a decomposing kipper and I doubt very much if L'Oreal shifted a whole lot of product either. Why do these soap-dodging greenies want to take us back to being neanderthal cave dwellers? I wonder if they really fancy the whole authentic experience. How about a world with no antibiotics or anaesthetics? There you are, in your cave, nibbling on an old bit of tofu, shivering in the freezing cold and you've got a raging toothache and a streptococcal infection that could scare the shit out of vancomycin. As you lay there in absolute agony, all you can smell is the fetid armpits of Ugg sat next to you. Is that the sort of world these people really want us to live in? It can't be long before they call for mandatory limits on the number of showers we can take.
I swear civilisation is going backwards.