I didn't become a daily bather until I was 26. Before that I'd sponge bath the uhh sweat gland areas, and immerse myself every few days or so. But the fall I was 26 I was keeping house while my mother recuperated from her first cancer op, and finishing up my long-neglected BA, and by day's end I was fried. Bath with bath gel was my reward for getting through the day, and it began a habit of almost four decades. Bath for choice- lovely hot water easing my cramped neck- and shower every three days to wash hair.
I don't remember this daily occurrence very well: as in, how did I manage baths in the low shallow tub I had here before '06? but I certainly remember the times when I was forced to forego the water. That house in Nerima with its rocking square bath and expensive sento: how I hated washing in cold water in the sink outside my room, with stinky Cow brand soap. Those operations through the oughties: having to wrap myself in clingwrap to keep stitches dry and only doing it every three days. I itched, I smelled, I was unhappy until I could get all of me wet again.
So I was surprised when my s-i-l once said oh no, she didn't bother with showers every day, didn't need them. Well yeah, her job is much cleaner than mine: not only me but my clothes need the daily launder after the tinies have got their mucky hands and noses and mouths on us. But still- I've observed that wearing deodorant is what makes washing necessary and almost everyone wears deodorant. (Not me. I use rubbing alcohol, which doesn't have to be washed off.)
Yet in the last few months I keep finding myself reluctant to get into water at night. Partly it's the knees that make baths a bit of a bother. But a five minute shower? Well, allergies have flourished all this long year and I'm still sneezing. I take an antihistamine in the evening- the same stuff I've always taken for sinus headaches and pain- and where it used to make me only happy and pain-free, now it makes me sleepy. Several hours after I've taken it yes, but suddenly all I want to do is lie down and float away: getting into night gear is trouble enough without getting into night gear while still wet. So I guess hot water is no longer a reward for me. I no longer itch or smell when I skip the shower, which argues that people are right about washing bacteria off the skin.
Only trouble is, hot water is the one thing that gets my feet warm in winter, and warm feet are needed to keep me asleep after I've drifted off. Yes I wear socks in bed (my night gear would be acceptable to anyone but the Taliban) but my feet are still cold. So I suppose I must force myself into the shower until spring.