Talk about a busy, short week. You have dinners to make, kids off from school, company coming to town. If you're swamped this holiday week, it's okay if you don't have time to take a shower.
Cafe Kristen: Do you think our society bathes too much?
Katherine Ashenburg: North Americans definitely bathe and shower too much. It's bad for their skin, for their immune systems if they're children, and bad for the environment-- we're washing far too many chemicals and other toxins down the drain.
Cafe Kristen: What got you so interested in cleanliness?
Katherine Ashenburg: A five-minute audiotape in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which indicated a few of the twists and turns this history has taken in past centuries. I'm not a clean freak or obsessed with cleanliness, but I was struck with how much social, everyday history (which I love) there was in their subject.
Cafe Kristen: What can we learn from the incredible, quirky history of bathing and showering?
Katherine Ashenburg: That human beings are very suggestible and adaptable, that doctors in the past were often at the forefront of mistaken beliefs, and that moderation is as good a thing in cleanliness as it is in other areas of life.
Cafe Kristen: What's the funniest bathing secret that one of your readers has shared with you since you wrote the book?
Katherine Ashenburg: Readers have mostly shared with me that they do not follow our North American insistence on at least one bath or shower a day. One woman did tell me her husband was TOO clean, showering about three times a day, and after 25 years of marriage she would love to know what hr really smells like. But the funniest thing was from my reading-- the in the Renaissance and to the 19th century in some classes, people thought changing their linen shirt cleaned them better than soap and water.
Cafe Kristen: What's the very best plan today for staying clean and avoiding illness?
Catherine Ashenburg: Wash your hands frequently. Wash the rest of yourself when you feel like it or feel others would like it, but beware of advertising propaganda that wants to sell product, not keep you attractive or healthy.
Have you ever been too busy to shower? One anonymous CafeMom asked this very question recently in the Health Questions section. I know I've been guilty, and this week's a killer. I'm hitting the steam right now. How about you?