Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.
“A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”
Abraham J. Heschel
Why do people wash?
First there is enormous social pressure to do so. We think 'bad' things of people who run about with greasy hair, head lice and the like. There is significant social stigma towards those with oral hygiene issues (note all the advertisments). We don't like to be near 'whiffy' people and wonder why they don't just wash like the rest of us. Washing machines have made it easier to care for our clothes, and hot showers make it pleasurable to wash our bodies.
I would put washing and self-grooming pretty high on the list of what people who feel good about themselves (self-esteem) and the world (optimistic world view and feeling safe and welcome in their environment). When one is ill, depressed, upset, suffering with other mental baggage like dementia, washing and self-care slip lower down the list of lifes 'essentials'.
Just my view! BE
PS I feel great, done my yoga (abdominals, lower back and endocrine system tune up), my yoga nidra (tuning up my chakras nicely, sent healing to all those I know who need a boost), had a glorious, cleansing shower, and am about to embark on making some freshly juiced carrots, celery and apples. Feel all the better for it. This is a first-world luxury, and a huge percentage of the world cannot afford it.
I am not too young to remember having no hot running water, a tin bath in front of the fire taking turns to go in and just heating it up with kettles of water heated on the fire as it got cool , that was a once a week event but mam made sure we had a good all over wash another night and our hands and faces washes every morning and night,
I love a bath now but as we only have a shower it's not often I get one,
“I used to think the worst thing in life
was to end up all alone.
the worst thing in life is to end up with people
who make you feel
~ Robin Williams
William and I have just finished watching Coal House on dvd again. And there, you had 3 modern families living 1927 style in coalminers cottages. No running water, no heating except the range in the kitchen that had to serve as heat, cooker, heat water etc. And they said that there are records of children being badly scalded, women being burned, trying to heat water for the baths for their husbands coming home from working in the mines - tin baths in front of the fire. Heating enough water in pots on the range would have taken hours - and the water had to be pumped and carried in in buckets. Same as all the water for washing clothes. I would think that had a lot to do with not bathing too often for most of the population -that and the climate, and the lack of privacy in the common people's homes.
Slightly of topic here but when i was a child the houswife HAD to the washing done on a Monday, rain or shine otherwise she would be classed as a "Slut".
I seem to remember reading that Napoleon liked his women slightly odoriferous and would send a message back to Josephine several weeks prior to his return telling her not to wash.
Yep, I am one of those people who thinks we totally overdo the need for a daily shower, or even less often, unless of course a person is incontinent.
When I were a lass, like others on here, it was the tin bath on a Sunday night - and it took all evening for us three to bathe and wash our hair.
During the week we washed daily at th kitchen sink (it being the only sink) with soapy flannel. Face, Fingers, Fanny and Feet.
Even when mum and dad lived in a house with a bath and a shower, they did the same routine 6 days a week. A bath on Sunday. The shower was only used when dad became ill.
My mum died aged 81. She had her hair "done" once a fortnight and it was never washed in between. I once washed it for her and didn't style it right, and she declared never again. When she was in the care home, the hairdresser visited every week and couldn't get to grips with mum's refusal to have her hair done weekly.
Yep, I think we are far too fussy about bodily hygiene. I'd rather a person washed their hands several times a day, where they could be spreading germs all over the place, than bother with their face, fanny or feet.