Save California! Take fewer showers!

October 21, 2014 Originally published on SFGate

Listen, I know. Who doesn’t love a long, hot shower? Who doesn’t feel refreshed and transformed afterwards, as though the gods of effervescent life have rained their benevolent lovespit upon you, and you are now blessed and restored, ready for some coffee? Showers are fantastic.

Yeah, everyone loves your Ferris Bueller impression. Now turn it off and go get funky.

Yeah, everyone loves your Ferris Bueller impression. Now turn it off and go get funky.

Plus, it’s ingrained. Most of us have been raised with the idea that you’re supposed to shower every day, maybe even twice, and then slather on the lotions, chemicals and products the ads for which have kindly, wrongly informed us we were far too filthy in the first place.

Add in the Puritanical shame/guilt thing, the lingering BS that we’re all dirty sinners to begin with, and therefore need to try and scrub away our gross, earthly grime to please an eternally unappeasable God, and, well, no wonder showering is our thing.

Problem No 1: It ain’t working. Whomever your god, she/he/it appears to be most unhappy with how we’ve beaten the human homeland into pulp. Here in California, that means dour news indeed: This winter will, once again, be far too warm and far too dry, and our record drought is set to get even worse.

Only a few showers-worth left

Only a few showers-worth left

How bad is it? Almost unfathomable. I’m fond of the example given by one forecaster, not long ago, who said California would basically need torrential, non-stop, mega-storm levels of rain, every single day for 24 hours a day … for four solid months. Just to get us to normal. Not including the lost groundwater and all the years of severe abnormal. Very bad shape indeed.

Problem No 2: Daily showering is a myth. You’ve been lied to. If you’re reasonably healthy, don’t eat junk food like an idiot or inhale toxins by the truckload and therefore smell like the dumpster behind KFC, daily showering is actually doing you and your skin (and your hair) a disservice. Even if you work out. Even if you think you smell a little weird.

You need some of that bacteria, those natural oils, the good stuff of the body. What’s more, all your delicious funk, all your pheromones, all the ephemeral, scent-tastic magic that makes your lover want to slide in closer and rub themselves all over you? Hint: It ain’t the Irish Spring.

I know of what I speak. I frequently beg my shower-adoring GF to bath less frequently, as I much prefer her natural scent, the healthy, feral female animal, deeply sexy and real. Sure, I like her signature perfumes too. But give me the wild animal any day.


Agreed. Not a bad alternative.

I know what you’re thinking: Showering has near-zero impact on our drought. I’m aware – I’ve written about it numerous times – that urban water consumption is but a fraction of overall usage, that farmers use 80-85 percent of California’s water and, therefore, even if every city-dweller in the state cut their usage in half, it’s still only half of a fraction. Of a fraction.

But never mind that now. It’s about awareness. It’s about changing our cultural perceptions, reshuffling a few priorities, taking the opportunities as they come. Right?

And during these Dry Times, before we all crumble into dust and as we really learn to appreciate the most precious resource we have next to coffee and leather and artisan bourbon, why not relish the moment even more? Why not skip a few showers, retrain your senses away from the nasty chemicals, perfumes and chlorine, and go take a long, deep whiff of your real beloved?

Hey, it’s probably what God wanted all along.

Read more here:: Save California! Take fewer showers!

Mark Morford

About Mark Morford