If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I’ll be honest with you here–I’m closer to Divine than The Divine when it comes to wallowing in my own filth.
Simply put: I hate bathing. Or spelled out even simpler than that: I hate being wet.
OK, so maybe the title of this post is a little misleading. I am not an ablutophobe, per se– that is, I am not afraid of bathing. And don’t misunderstand me, I like the feeling of being clean and nice smelling and having hair that doesn’t fall in a dank, greasy mess across my face, but I absolutely detest the process it takes to get there. The prospect of undignified, soggy nudity and a sopping wet, 50-pound mop of tangles on top of my head that takes all day to dry is one that I dread and avoid for as long as I possibly can get away with.
No doubt if I polled my friends regarding when they showered I would hear things like “oh, every morning”. Or “oh, at night after I work out”, or sometimes even twice in one day (you weirdos). For me, it prompts a rather different question, “when did I last shower?” Was it 3 days ago? 4? Hmmmm.
Clean clothes, clean underwear, deodorant, and perfume go a long way in upholding my decent citizen status. Most of the time I even receive positive commentary on how lovely I smell! But I know, I know–there’s the question of hygiene. I mean, I guess there is…right? That’s what people seem to think, anyway. Personally, I like to think me and my bacteria are great friends, so I am not overly troubled by it.
I would probably never, ever set foot inside the shower if I thought I could get away with it, but sometimes you have to get cleaned up for work, or family, or maybe it’s been a really hot, sweaty Florida day and the soapy angel on my shoulder is giving me a really hard time about it. The dirt devil on my other shoulder is like “eh, whatevs!” but my swampy butt-crack and I know that we have to do the right thing.
So I trick myself! That’s right. Like a toddler that you are bribing with candy or shiny toys, I too must be lured into doing the thing I just don’t wanna do. Fancy soaps, shower gels and lotions are my incentives of choice to entice me into the cleansing waters and I usually end up making a bit of an evening of it. I’ll light some incense, play some soothing music and generally turn it into a ritual of sorts, like I’m sacrificing my dirt and funk up to the gods.
Below I’ve listed for you some of my favorite ritualistic ablutions:
Tom Ford Oud Wood shower gel is, at $68, no doubt the most expensive shower gel you could ever buy, but it smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is totally worth it. EDIT: this is stupid expensive and hard to find. Geranium Nefertum from Molton Brown is somewhat similar and half the price.
Atelier Vanille Insensee soap has a lovely, clean vanilla scent. Very mild and tempered with some citrus and woodsiness. Nice for hot weather, actually. Not a bit foody or too cozy smelling. I don’t like equating a cozy feeling with the process that serves up stinging needles of water on my skin anyway, so this is a fragrance that works fine for this purpose.
Villainess Peal Diver soap is nice and scrubby with Irish moss, dulse and kelp to thoroughly exfoliate, and a scent that’s not quite tropical, not quite spa-like, but conjures visions of standing on your 5-star ocean-side hotel room balcony and gazing out at the vast, black sea at midnight, the moon low on the horizon.
Madame Scodioli’s soaps are a wee luxury I picked up at Carmine Boutique in Orlando; both are on the perfumey-musky side but Oracle has a bit of spice and lush, dark fruit, whereas Widdershins has a sweet, smoky quality.
Haus of Gloi Troika pumpkin butter is made from shea butter and pumpkin seed oil and despite its heavy appearance goes on quite nicely, non-greasy and sinks right in. Troika smells of “a trinity of soft milks: almond, oat and coconut, lashed with sweet agave nectar and the ethereal scent of clean whiteness” and really that’s exactly what it smells like, I can’t do any better than that. Haus of Gloi is a totally vegan company.
Ether body butter made exclusively by Naked Eye Beauty for Sisters of the Black Moon has a different texture than the previously mentioned pumpkin butter. It seems…spongier…somehow? I think it takes a little bit longer to sink in, but I obviously adore it since I am now halfway through my second jar of it–and I’ve got to like something quite a bit for me to buy it a second time. It’s got a light, powdery musky scent that makes me think of a “stripper with a heart of gold” character from a bawdy comedy. I also think Stormer from the Misfits probably smells like this. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me.
Cinnamon Projects incense is designed to “create transformative space”, with the various scents offered to portray an infinitely inspired day. On a whim, I chose 2AM, which is scented with cedarwood, cinnamon, honey, and vetiver, and is utterly gorgeous and somehow magnificently restrained. It’s warm without being overly spicy, it’s sweet but not cloying and it’s strongly scented–but not suffocating. It’s perhaps the most perfect stick of incense I have ever burned.
Blackbird Violet Hour incense made for Catbird NYC, on the other hand, is smoky and potent and just this side of harsh. These are no demure shrinking violets…they are violets who have set themselves on fire in protest, smoldered in revolt, and their sooty purple petals are going to haunt you for the rest of your life. I am not certain if this particular scent is still available anymore on the Catbird site but Blackbird makes all sorts of intriguing scents (both incense and perfumes)that are for sale on their own site, and they are worthy peeking in on.
And finally, I did mention candy, didn’t I? Persephenie’s Rose and Frankincense heart opening candies, made with ingredients like cane sugar, rose water, wild Harvested frankincense, and vanilla, seem like old world magic and a terribly special sort of treat. I could certainly do to keep my heart open to the wondrous possibilities that spring from a proper cleansing, so there’s that too, I suppose.
EDIT: It is six years later and I still hate to shower, but I have to add a few extra things to this list. Taking a bath can seem like an enormous undertaking sometimes, so I compromise with a little footbath, which less commitment. I fill the tub about halfway up, bring a book and a cup of tea with me, and just have a long, luxurious soak. I’ve been using these Japanese bath salts which smell wonderful and I give my tootsies a good exfoliation with one of the sugar scrubs from Paintbox Soapworks!
Do you hate to bathe as much as I do? It’s okay, you can admit it here, you are amongst stinky friends! Do you have any special treats or bribes that you must resort to rouse yourself to do the things you don’t like to do? Tell me all about it in the comments!