A trophy for the shower

Delving into medieval history can make for interesting reads. Materials available on the internet record the unique views of one King Louis XIV: He found the act of bathing disturbing.

He had the backing of his physicians on this, as they advised him to bathe as infrequently as possible to maintain good health. Because of this, he is said to have only bathed twice in his lifetime. What an aromatic lifestyle.

Queen Isabel I of Spain is said to have matched King Louis XIV’s bathroom exploits. It is reported that she once confessed that she had taken a bath only twice in her lifetime, when she was first born and when she got married. They say what a man can do…ahem.

Such serious allegations are, of course, to be taken with a pinch of salt. We were not there, so we cannot ascertain exactly how true they are. They might just have been doing PR, seeing as it is that bathing was maybe not really in fashion in the 1600s for some people(still wasn’t in AD2012 in our high school).

There were just as many diseases one could get when taking a dip in the river as when giving it a wide berth. Water treatment concepts were still unknown.

People also drowned occasionally when washing or fetching water from rivers when their then heavy cotton clothing drank water like 10 thirsty camels and then proceeded to weigh just as much.

Such reasons have vanished with the sands of time though…and now taking a shower is as integral a culture in us as having a beverage at daybreak.

Physicians have changed their stance too, pronouncing it as a very healthy practice. It keeps the skin pores clean, and thus frees them to carry out their waste removal role efficiently.

Unholy odors are also kept at bay, as are numerous fungi that aspire to colonize the skin. Once a day can achieve most of these benevolent objectives.

It also gives the skin time to recover and re-oil itself. More than twice a day is bordering on the fanatic. It is too much stress on the skin. You are not a salamander.

Manly excuses (ladies have no qualms with such trivial matters)for keeping off the shower stall include among others…chilly weather. As manly as it sounds to take a shower with an ice bucket in the Antarctic, I will side with men who take cold weather seriously.

Not that it is an excuse to keep your armpits dry. Warm water is as good an antidote as any. Warm being the word of the day. Hot water that stings the skin kills the normal flora on the skin.

That flowery word means good bacteria live on the skin and act as janitors. Should they die, you would lose their irreplaceable services and give space for their bad cousins to move in. Could I have some crocodile skin, please?

Cold water is just as punishing to the body. We need a temperature of 37°C or thereabouts to keep the many systems in us in top form. Cold water goes a long way in lowering this temperature.

This makes the body to go into emergency mode. Blood supply is cut off from the hands and feet, which not only deprives them of energy and vitality but also burdens the major organs( all that blood has to be stashed away somewhere).

Body defenses are also weakened. I can hear the evil laugh of Rhinovirus. A man also risks losing future generations. Totally not worth it. Keep the water at temperatures that do not startle the senses. Comfort zones are treasured by our systems. Let’s leave the surprises to those who actually appreciate them.

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