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#975 Not taking a shower

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 16, 2011

As a society, we are too clean for our own good. Between antibacterial soap, touchless everythings, and the social stigma of having body odor, we have developed a cleaner, less smelly lifestyle (which, as some studies have shown, is not necessarily a good thing). On the complete opposite of the spectrum, arund the 16th century in Europe, bathing was seen as perverted and immoral according to the church, and people believed that water spread diseases. Therefore, people bathed rarely, choosing instead to wash their hands and (sometimes) their face.  At the extreme, both King Louis XIV and Queen Isabel I both claimed to have only bathed twice in their life. Gross.

In the middle of all this showering fastidiously and eschewing all things soapy, is the tall ship sailor. When having to choose between using fresh water for drinking or cooking, a shower is usually pretty far down the list. Besides, when everyone else is stinky and speckled with pine tar, being the only squeaky clean person on board makes you the odd man out. Sometimes it just feels good to revel in your own dirt- greasy hair, dirty feet, smelly clothes that have been worn for a week straight. It means you have more important things to do than squirt some shampoo on your head. Your ship needs you – sails need to be furled, decks swabbed, and a bow watch to maintain! And besides, isn’t that what a swim call is for? Stinky, smelly, dirt-encrusted awesomeness.

Pig Pen by Charles M. Schulz

Have an idea or a story you want to share? Email it to me at erin@tallshipsamerica.org and I’ll add it to the blog with props to you.

Major credit to 1000 Awesome Things for the inspiration

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