This is a painting I made in honor of Chadwick Boseman, who passed away a year ago.
Recently, there’s been this wave of news about celebrities who don’t feel it’s necessary to bathe themselves or their children everyday. They do it just a few times a week, or less. I’m not going to call into question a person’s parenting decisions, so I’ll direct this more to adults that don’t wash their own asses on a regular basis.
There are areas of the world that don’t have clean water. Bathing is a luxury and drinking water is a blessing. And because of that, there is an increased likelihood of disease and unsanitary conditions. This leads to death. It’s here but dirty drinking water is not something that is prevalent in the United States (excluding Flint), especially in the lush environments these non-washing millionaires live in. My take on this whole thing is that you need to wash. Everyday. It’s available to us. There is no excuse and it’ll keep us all healthy. Of course, I don’t mean if you live in poverty, are mentally ill, and/or are homeless. That’s different and this post is not meant for someone struggling in that way.
I’m in a position where it’s not an option. I grew up in NYC, which meant I was taking a subway everyday. Or walking. Or the bus. Taking a shower twice a day wasn’t debatable, it had to be done. We may have been poor, but we were very clean. We took what was available to us and made good use of it. My grandmother’s apartment was immaculate. She had plastic covering everything. And laundry? Had to be done at a laundromat we walked to and sat at until it was all done (we did it ourselves, not this pay and go thing). Then we had to put it in a clean bag and walk it back home. And roll it in a cart. The same cart you use when you food shop and have to walk the groceries back home. Thank God those days are over. So staying clean was not easy…it was exhausting.
Imagine being on a dirty subway car and then just going home and sleeping in your bed with all that filth on you? Never-mind being around strangers, that’s not what I mean. You were just underground with rodents and vermin. And in the winter when the heat is blowing on you while you stand on the platform or stand in a subway car? That air is not clean. After 9/11, I would leave downtown and have black soot in my nose from the debris still in the air …and I’m talking months later. Even though I left the Bronx over twenty years ago when I was a teenager, I still wash twice a day. It’s more of a habit at this point because I otherwise feel gross. I’m not saying everyone has to do that, but if you are choosing to take a bath or shower only once a week or every two weeks, you are lazy, privileged, or both. And it doesn’t matter where you live. Living in an affluent or pristine community doesn’t immediately mean it’s germ-free. Someone rich like Ashton Kutcher isn’t working over a stove, commuting, or running around a hospital. His privilege makes him cavalier about doing something that other people either don’t have a choice in doing, or wish they could do. Some people have to pay for hot water, so they shower less. That’s not the case with a celebrity living in luxury. The ones that think not bathing is funny or quirky (which they do or they wouldn’t talk about it). It doesn’t make you seem down to earth, or like us, it makes you seem dirty and ungrateful. And this isn’t just famous people. I know a journalist who only bathes once a week. Not even a shower, a bath (and not for religious reasons). She thinks this is normal. No, it’s not normal. And like any city -LA is dirty, too. I was walking down the street and a bug the size of a small dog came at me. I screamed. And when I got back hours later, that fucker was perched on the wall of a house I parked in front of. My point is, we need to think about what we were around during the day and do what we can to stay clean.
Jumping on the stank bandwagon was Terry Crews, who said he doesn’t think people need to bathe unless they’ve broken a sweat. What? You don’t need to sweat or do hard labor to decide to be hygienic. You can still be dirty. You can still be carrying something. The process hospital workers go through when they go home involves a lot of decontamination, especially during a pandemic. With my job, which is public facing and requires field work, I am still coming home, undressing immediately, wiping down my phone, and taking a shower before I do anything else. This is whether or not I go out in the field. It’s annoying as f*ck, yes, but it’s also safe. Do you think I feel like doing all that after a twelve hour shift? No. And I’m not the only one. It’s why we are exhausted and have “covid fatigue”. But we keep on keeping on. I still wear a mask, I still clean…even with a vaccine in my body.
So, that’s why we don’t want to hear about rich people sitting in their mansions built with ten bathrooms they aren’t using. You can do that because you are overpaid and have the luxury of staying indoors while the rest of us bust our asses working jobs you’ll never have to do. And normally I wouldn’t care what people do in their personal lives but cleanliness and hygiene have an impact on us all. If you aren’t going to shower, keep it to yourself. We don’t need to hear it. It’s bad enough people cry about wearing a mask or social distancing. I can’t imagine a woman not cleaning her vagina on the regular. I can’t imagine a man not cleaning under his balls on a daily basis. Imagine the smell. Come on, people.
If you think showering once a week is normal, you are immature and out of touch. And speaking of that, don’t you dare fucking touch me.