Whether it’s from the “Listener Letters” segment on the podcast The Read or my own unfortunate discoveries while dating, I’ve learned that many fully-grown adults don’t think it’s necessary to shower every day or brush their teeth at night. For me, poor hygiene is a deal-breaker in 2018. I’ve heard way too many horror stories from women trying to find creative ways to subtly tell their partners they’re a stanky-ass mess. When you’re an active participant in society, the rest of us expect that you’ll show up looking and smelling like you give a damn.
Obviously, practicing proper hygiene is a privilege not everyone has; those impacted by houselessness may not have regular access to showers and supplies. And if you care about helping young disadvantaged women get access to necessary menstrual hygiene supplies, you should check out PERIOD (FKA Camions of Care) and the Portland Menstrual Society.
But if you’ve got a roof over your head and a source of income, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be on top of your personal hygiene. And while it’s not a woman’s job to train their partners like children and teach them how to keep themselves clean, it is currently my job to do so in writing. Here are a few strongly worded tips:
Wash your fucking hands
It’s obvious when a lot of you (namely, men) don’t wash your hands after using the toilet, and it is disgusting. Since most of us have ears, we can hear it when you flush the toilet and then immediately open the bathroom door. The fact that you just took a shit—or at the very least touched your dick—and then immediately went into the kitchen/grabbed the remote/made coffee makes me think that A LOT of you guys are doing this. And this is why I now wash my hands too much. Based on the number of times I’ve yelled “WASH YOUR HANDS!” at men as they exited the bathroom, I have to assume there’s a lot of fecal matter all over everything. So please, wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet, handling animals, or being in contact with someone who has a cold. Wash them before preparing food, eating, or applying makeup, and dry them with something clean.
Brush your fucking teeth
It’s no secret that good dental health is tied to your overall health. Beyond fighting off bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease, it’s not good for you to ingest all that plaque. So brush your teeth every morning and every night. And don’t sleep on flossing! While I’m sure we’d all like to say we floss daily (ha, that’s not happening), I would like to challenge everyone to floss at least every other day. Do it before you brush for a supreme clean.
Trim your fucking nails
There are a lot of reasons food-prep jobs don’t allow employees to have painted nails—mostly because nail polish can easily chip away into people’s drinks, and is likely masking a layer of dirt underneath the nails. It’s one thing to have long nails that you take care of in the form of manicures and regular paint jobs. It’s another to keep them lengthy and raggedy for the hell of it. Personally, I think having long, useless nails is icky, and if you’re a dude, it’s a major turn-off, since it often ends up resembling “coke nail.” No, thank you.
Get in the fucking shower
I don’t know why I should have to tell anyone this, but showering daily is something your fellow citizens appreciate greatly. Don’t be the person stinking up TriMet because they haven’t showered in the last two days and haven’t washed their top two layers of clothing. And if you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, shower right before bed instead; it’s way easier to wash your face in the shower anyway. And besides, your bed sheets should be reserved for clean bodies only.
If you’re the particularly sweaty type—bicycle commuters and hustlers, I’m looking at you—I beg of you to wear some kind of deodorant. I recommend Secret Clinical Strength brand in the smooth solid for women—it’s got an awesome “stress response,” goes on invisible, and it smells amazing. If you’re concerned about the health effects of deodorant, you can wean yourself off the regular stuff and opt to use natural deodorants (like Trader Joe’s, Burt’s Bees, or J
SÖN), or even a lemon or rubbing alcohol. Or make your own with a blend of baking soda, arrowroot powder, and coconut oil!
Lotion the fuck up
Okay, this is more cosmetic than hygienic, but moisturizing is still important. (And pssst: Even if you’re white you can still get invisibly ashy!) Here’s what I do to keep my skin glowy and quenched, year round: After exfoliating in the shower and patting skin dry with a towel, apply a generous amount of your favorite oil (coconut, almond, and jojoba are all really nice) to your skin from your neck down to your ankles. Then, after sufficiently rubbing in the oil, apply lotion all over your body as well, which will act as a sealant. It’s best to do this immediately after showering, since the moisture in your skin helps the oil and lotion absorb.
Take care of your nasty feet
Wintertime means everybody’s feet are in hibernation mode, and pedicures are fewer and farther between. So when you roll into the front of yoga class late with bare feet, the rest of us can see all that neglect in the form of dry, cracked heels and ashy ankles. There’s a simple solution for this: Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. In the shower, use a pumice stone and scrub to exfoliate your feet, focusing on the rough spots. As soon as you get out of the shower and dry off, apply a generous glob of Vaseline (I like the cocoa butter variety) to clean feet and slather it on your ankles, soles, and tops—don’t forget in between the toes. Then put socks on. Leave your socks on overnight or throughout the day so that when it’s time for them to come off, your dogs will be clean and smooth as a whistle.