Getting caught doing this during the Spanish Inquisition was a one-way ticket to the iron maiden. In medieval times doing it was believed to infect you with the Black Death. Early Christians considered it on par with idol worship. But of course the Romans were all about doing it. In public. For every occasion.
What is it? And no, it has nothing to do with the corporal punishment of monkeys.
It is bathing. Today, not bathing could get you a ticket to Iron Maiden, a butt-metal mosh pit being one of the least-discriminating venues in our society. And though not bathing probably won’t infect you with the Black Death, you might get whatever plague it is that people are so afraid of getting in public restrooms that they must hover six inches above the toilet seat, misting it so it will be extra refreshing upon your arrival.
Bathing John Malkovitch
Not so for Craig Bierko, the guy who’s in all the shows you watch but you never knew his name. In his show, Bathing With Bierko, (named so people would finally stop asking “hey, does that guy look familiar to you?”) he interviews popular celebrities… while bathing. Together. The Romans would be proud. Me, I’m totally with him. Unless there is obvious splatter, I sit naked-cheeked on communal toilets. I don’t mind sharing a fork with someone, even a stranger. I’ll shake anyone’s hand, pat any tot’s head and kiss anyone’s baby, although I do draw a line at kissing my mother-in-law on the lips which is difficult as she is a very insistent lip-kisser.
Hygiene is Overrated
Thankfully I married a man with a similarly laissez-faire attitude. In our family, like our pioneer ancestors, our kids get a good dunk-n-scrub about twice a week. In between weekly baths, we do a “wipes bath,” which is exactly what it sounds like, to keep the kids smelling fresh enough to not alert their teachers to our negligent ways. We’ve also been known to count their weekly swimming lessons, telling the offspring to scrub between their toes whilst sitting on the edge of the pool waiting for their turn to have an intimate moment with a pool noodle.
What the Research Says
This will come as no surprise to you: washing your hands with soap (antibacterial is not necessary, regular does great) and water is the e=mc2 of the health world. Do it. And this is one of those things where I think it is totally appropriate to shame other people into doing it. Toilet seats on the other hand are not actually as germy as people think making the hover manuever we all learned as kids unnecessary. That is unless you just like getting a good quad workout in which case I say your aim had better be impeccable. And while daily bathing will certainly make you smell better – especially if you workout every day – it isn’t necessary for good health.
Now that I’ve spilled my, ahem, dirty little secret now I want to know – do you carry your own paper toilet seat cover in your back pocket or do you seek out the moist seats and figure now you can save $20 and skip your flu shot? And more importantly, could you spill your guts in a bathtub with the man who brought us the made-for-Lifetime Danielle Steel’s Star? What’s your hygiene shortcut?