Cleanliness Is A Cultural Construct

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How often should you shower? If you ask my English Mom’s side of the family, twice a day is reasonable. Ask my Jamaican Dad’s side and they’re scandalized.

I consider both of my family as very clean. But their showering practices are totally different. My dad’s side of the family is from Kingston Jamaica, where water is a limited resource. Severe droughts have resulting in water lock offs, and most people are used to showering every few days. My cousins and grandma have chemically straightened hair, and it’s possible to go weeks without washing it.

Contrast that with my rural English relatives, who sometimes shower multiple times a day.

Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve tried to cut down on my water consumption but it’s hard, since for me showering is also a way I relax. But with the drought in California, we’re all being asked to cut down on our water and limit our showers to once a day for 5 minutes.

I hear people around me complaining, saying it’s gross to not shower every day. But when you really think about it, your definition of cleanliness is a cultural construct.

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