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the sociology of the shower schedule

There are lots of reasons that summer is different from the other seasons here in the squibix household. A notable one is my shower schedule. See, when I'm heading off to work every day, it seems only polite to shower in the morning. It's just what folks do. And it works because in the winter when I get home it's just about dark already, so I don't get much chance to get very dirty. But summers—when I'm home all day with plenty of gardening, home repair, and soccer with the boys to occupy my time—it's another story. This time of year, on hot busy days the idea of getting into bed all begrimed with the residue of the day seems unthinkable. So I shower in the evenings.

Because as far as I can tell sleeping doesn't get me particularly dirty. Sure, sometimes when I wake up my hair isn't entirely presentable, but that's what hats are for! To be honest, I'm not sure how the practice of morning showers arose; folks who bathe their children regularly (I know, who does that?!) do it at the end of the day, since that's when they can see the dirt. It just makes sense.

On reflection, I'd bet you there's some correspondence between morning showers and the growing share white-collar workers in the economy. You just can't get that dirty in the office, so there's not that visceral need for a bath when you finish up in the evening. But since Americans need to shower daily, folks don't just dispense with their ablutions altogether—they just move em to the morning.

It's probably not a big deal. And I'm sure none of you cares when I shower (as long as I don't skip too many days in a row, since I too am an American). But when I think about it for too long I start to resent that morning shower. An evening shower is an indulgence for the showerer: it was a hard day, but with the work over the labor's stains are washed away. Showering before work strikes me as more of an offering for the corporate masters: as if they'll only permit you to offer your time if you prepare yourself like you're going to a wedding. Which, in this economy, may well be true. But I don't have to like it, and at least in the summer I don't have to lump it either.

Fight the power! Long live the evening bath!

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