We Need To Talk About Hygiene

Although I’ve long since passed my Unwashed glory days of bathing once every moon cycle, my daily routine still averages only half a shower. For the most part, this works well, any untoward odors can quickly be covered up by a statement about spotting a dead skunk in the vicinity, or passing the blame onto a slovenly coworker, preferably the one who sports a perpetual mustard stain on their shirt. However, in the summer, two days often stretches to three or four, until I’ve become a ripe dirt-squirrel.

This summer, out of deference to my hosts I’ve kept to my usual routine of showering once every two days. That is until yesterday. I had decided in advance that I would have a leisurely Unwashed style weekend; lots of cooking, quiet activities and of course no bathing. It was delightful, exquisite even, I luxuriated in my own grime. Then came the evening, and with it the moment of critical dirt mass.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of critical dirt mass, it is the point when it becomes just as easy to remain filthy as it is to bathe. Choosing to ignore this moment and remain in an unwashed state can lead to living in the forest, growing a beard and being mistaken for a sasquatch. In essence this dirty path is my life’s dream. If left to my own devices I’d likely be sporting a Duck Dynasty style beard and eating roasted mice in the wilds of Canada.

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

When I stay at with my parents my mother seems to be able to sense this moment, as well as my desire to remain in my disgusting, filthy state. The morning before the critical dirt mass, my mother will make statements like “Think about bathing today, Unwashed”, or “The shower has been reserved just for you”. As the critical dirt mass moment approaches and I begin holding up the cat at funny angles in front of my face to imagine what I’d look like with a beard, my mother gets serious. Standing outside the bathroom she will threaten to get out the hose if I don’t bathe. Sitting coated in grime yesterday evening, I realized that there was no one here to spray me with water for my own good.


Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: www.peanuts.com)

Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: http://www.peanuts.com)

At the beginning of the program, one of the directors made a speech about how the students were to make our beds, never be openly smashed in our hosts’ homes and that we were absolutely not allowed to have members of the opposite sex in our bedrooms. As much as I was delighting in my unwashed state, I didn’t want to be the reason why “You must adhere to a basic standard of hygiene” was added to the list of rules at the beginning of the program. Hence, I bathed. It wasn’t pretty, I didn’t enjoy it, but it had to be done.

I Count April Rain Showers Towards My Monthly Bathing Tally

The following is an interaction I had with my coworker after I told her about the name of my blog.

The Great Unwashed– “So basically it’s named that because I’m always dirty.”

Coworker who had been amused by the blog talk up until this point, looks at me serious and wide eyed. “But you do bathe right?”

The Great Unwashed debates answering honestly and waits just a second too long to reply.

Coworker stares me down “You must bathe.”

This seemed like less of a question and more of a reminder.

Add some curly blonde hair and you have me in July. (Photo Credit : www.acsf.cornell.edu)

Add some blonde hair and you have me in July. (Photo Credit : http://www.acsf.cornell.edu)

The Great Unwashed Voice “Well ish. Sometimes. Actually not really; in the summer I morph into a curly haired clod of dirt. ”

The Great Unwashed Voice At Work thinks -I’m receiving a panicked look, I should probably give an answer that adheres to social mores to calm my coworker. Hence I emphatically say “Of course” and watch as my coworker visibly relaxes.

I can commit to showering once every seventy-five years. (Photo Credit : space.com)

I can safely commit to showering once every seventy-five years. (Photo Credit : space.com)

While it’s a given with my family that I will only shower for special events like the Pope visiting or the appearances of Halley’s Comet, I forget that the rest of the world isn’t as accustomed to this. Last winter while staying in a swanky pants hotel my sister, upon seeing me emerge from the bathroom in a towel asked “What’s the occasion?”

In my social circle I’ve been known to put off hopping into the tub until the last possible second, because there comes a time, around the six or seventh day after your last shower, when it’s easier to live in your own grease because the amount of effort one has to expend to clean oneself feels almost too much. At home my mother seems to sense when this critical dirt mass moment is approaching and tries to veer me off my Unwashed path.

The reminders begin early in the morning “You need to shower today.” Then later on they continue when my mother urges me to “Think about showering at some point.” These types of prompts will increase in frequency until my mother all but throws me and my curls-cum-greaselocks* under a faucet of some sort. Surprisingly it would seem that this sort of behaviour is not welcome in the workplace.


*This was the first time I used that particular three letter preposition. As always, I googled to ensure I was using it correctly. Having typed in the word into the Google search bar, I was all set to click “enter” when I thought, “Wait Unwashed, that’s not going to bring you the result you are hoping for”. Hence I was forced to sit and determine what type of word “cum” was. For everyone out there who isn’t interested in dirty pictures on the internet, it’s a preposition.

My Dirty Reputation Remains Untarnished

I spent the past couple of days with Carter*, a little boy whom I care for whenever he travels to my province, or I travel to his. We have a riot together; we play in the mud, in pools, in large art installations, whatever he or I can think of. Late last night after returning to my parent’s house after spending the day with him I had this text conversation with his Mom.

9:50 PM   From the little guy’s Mom

Carter says you washed his hair. Is that true?

9:51 PM   From the Great Unwashed

What? No, I don’t bathe myself, why would I bathe him?

9:52 PM   From the Great Unwashed

He picked the wrong person to fib about. Anyone else would have bathed him.

9:53 PM   From the little guy’s Mom

Well I wouldn’t have double checked with anyone else.


I’m going declare this text conversation a massive, Unwashed triumph. It pleases me immensely that I’m known the country over for my avoidance of showers.

* Names have been changed to protect identities of the innocent and apparently future Unwashed.

The Fallout of the Grand Opening

So ever since the Grand Opening I’ve been expecting a visit. For those of you who are just arriving the Grand Opening was last week, you missed it. There were balloons, and rotten egg flavoured pastries. Anyway, since unleashing the Great Unwashed on the world I’ve been expecting a knock at my door. Mostly because I know that this scenario is going to be happening at some point in the future.

~Somewhere in the Kawarthas~

The sound of a phone ringing. It’s my great aunt calling my Granddad to catch up.

(Sorry Aunty Betty, I’m not meaning to pin Granddad finding out about my blog on you, someone was bound to tell him.)

Granddad – “She what?”

The sounds of scrabbling and Granddad stepping over three poodles to get to his beloved laptop that Roscoe helped pick out. More sounds, this time of furious typing.

Granddad’s eyes will scan the web page, growing more alarmed with each line he reads. Finally he’ll bellow “Gran! Get the dogs in the RV, we’re going to visit our wayward granddaughter.”

Several driving and dog filled hours later there will be the sounds of footsteps and paws coming up the steps and violating our “No Pets” lease followed by a knock on my front door.

I’ll open it. He’ll gruffly hand me something before pulling me into a hug and an equally gruff lecture.

Granddad- “Here’s some soap, start bathing dammit and you need to stop telling the world that you don’t.”

It hasn’t happened yet but I‘m expecting a reaction on par with the one that I received when I dyed my hands bright purple on Boxing Day five years ago.