Our Panties Are Dirty But Our Spirits Are Spotless

Illustration for article titled Our Panties Are Dirty But Our Spirits Are Spotless

Collectively, we aren't huge fans of bathing. (True story: since I started working for the site, I probably shower 50% less than I used to. [So we smell! -Ed.]). According to two recent chronicles of cleanliness throughout the ages covered in T Magazine this weekend, we dirty girls — many of us Democrats! — may be closer to God than we realized. The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History by Katherine Ashenburg in particular gets into the nitty gritty of early Christianity. "Christians, it seems, are unique among religious zealots in their disregard for cleanliness, a phenomenon Ashenburg attributes to a dogmatic refusal to care for the body or even feel comfortable in it, 'devaluing the flesh so as to concentrate on the spirit,'" writes Holly Brubach. "For many saints, monks and hermits, dirtiness became a badge of holiness."

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The second book covered by Brubach is Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity by Virginia Smith , who reminds us that the idea of cleanliness is a fairly modern invention."Dirt is only matter out of place and is neither 'good' nor 'bad.'" says Smith. Amen! Also, we have boring Puritanical American petit-bourginess to blame for the "habit of showering." Cultural exports like movies and TV are responsible for the hegemony of "the hygienic ideals of the affluent American suburbs, including a fervent nouveau riche obsession with domestic and personal cleanliness." Sounds a lot like Donald Trump to us!

Soap Dish [T Magazine]

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DISCUSSION

too much cleanliness is so overrated and in my mind, an unhealthy habit!

i take two showers per week, wash my hair once a week (i'll put corn starch in the roots if they get oily) and have been soap free 'down there' for several years (doctor recommendation—best choice i ever made, as soap changes your pH—water is sufficient).

i do take baths almost nightly, but baths are purely for indulging in my own dirtiness... i don't wear deodorant... i just engage in a lot of dry-brush massaging, which stimulates my skin and lymphatic drainage. i swear no one would peg me for a dirtball... and if they made me shower nightly with soap i'd DIE. i attribute my good skin and luscious hair to my sensible washing habits.

and i am certainly not christian...