Standing Room only?

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …

Saw an interesting “factoid” the other day.

Prior to 1950, the typical American did this on average once per week.

Now that average is closer to daily.

What is it?

Bathing or taking a shower.

Before I proceed, allow me to establish some parameters.

“Bathing” is washing of the body with a liquid, usually water. or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water.

“Showering” is washing oneself by standing upright under water sprayed by a nozzle.

So statistics indicate we do that almost daily compared to 70+ years ago.

Dermatologists say for most people 3-4 showers a week is fine.

That would indicate about 3-4 bathes a week is okay, as well.

By today’s standard, my family, growing up in Mansfield, Ohio, would have had time management issues galore if we tried to bathe or shower daily.

There were two adults and 4 youngsters…and one small bathroom.

I often wonder how we accomplished that.

Did Mom give us assigned bath dates and times?

Then I realized that through much of my early years, daily bathing or showering was not the standard.

That made 6 people using one bathroom more believable or possible.

My wife and I live in a house with two full bathrooms so that means most times, we each have one to ourselves.

It’s funny, but when we have guests, sometimes I find myself thinking, “This is somewhat inconvenient” to have to share the master bath with my wife.

As a kid growing up, we had a bath and shower combination but I rarely remember anyone ever showering.

There’s even a picture somewhere in the family albums of my 3 sisters and I all seated in the tub of water.

Can’t say I remember if our parents performed “group washes” like that often but I do remember a childhood ceremony involving bath towels and talcum powder that we 4 kids took part in.

Today it would probably be a segment worthy of the Dr. Phil show.

I have friends who remember the big washtub filled up in the kitchen and everyone bathing on Saturday night so you were all clean and fresh for Sunday school and church the next day.

Our master bathroom only has a shower while the guest facility has a tub and shower.

I usually clean up in the guest bathroom where I usually bathe.

My wife is very diligent about wiping down the shower walls and doors to keep it clean and shiny.

I feel compelled to do the same if I shower in the guest bathroom but with bathing, if I go a number of days without scrubbing the tub, I’m fine with it.

Sometimes I avoid both the bath and shower and take what we call a “sink” bath.

You grab the wash cloth, suds it up and wash off all the “suspicious” places and then hang over the edge of the bathtub to wash your hair.

Those clean ups work fine if I haven’t been performing laborious tasks in a hot and/or dirty environment.

It’s not like I work in a foundry or coal mine.

So I guess technically, we might fall a bit short of the national average when it comes to a daily shower or bath.

Our family can also recall a “Chubs” bath we took.

While traveling home from Arkansas years ago, we stopped at a favorite restaurant just shortly before it opened.

It had been a long night on the road, so my wife, younger daughter and grabbed the container of Chub’s moist towelettes and wiped away the road grime before we had breakfast.

The average of a daily bath or shower today in America makes we wonder aloud if our sense of smell was dulled years ago.

As a kid, I can always remember the aroma of Old Spice after shave in the bathroom after my Dad had whisked away his facial hair, mixed with bouquet of Right Guard deodorant spray.

I could also get a whiff of Butch Wax in the air, too.

But I was out of that one bathroom home when I turned 18, leaving a little more room for my Mom and 3 sisters.

Going to school and later the military, shower rooms were the standard and privacy was minimal, at best.

Today, home builders suggest two bathrooms for every 3 bedrooms in a house.

Based on those guidelines, the TV Walton family was probably a bit short on the bathroom count.

Plus theirs were outdoors.

Somehow, my Foster family managed to shuffle 6 individuals in and out of the lone bathroom facility while were were growing up.

Plus there was a dirty clothes hamper and a bathroom scale in that room, along with the lone sink, toilet and a magazine rack.

The toilet also served as the “water dish” for Duke, the Boxer which made flushing important because you can’t put the lid down with 4 women in the house.

So bathe and shower away, America.

It’s what we do in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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