For God’s Sake, Scrub!

A few months ago, Black Twitter was in a hilarious uproar over the nasty secret that white people do not know how to wash themselves properly.

I’m not getting into politics over this, nor do I want a comments section full of #NotAllWhitePeople.

What happened is that a white girl proudly tweeted that she didn’t wash her legs every shower and all hell broke loose. Because… what!? If you have very dry skin, you STILL NEED TO WASH YOUR LEGS. Skin is an organ that is constantly shedding. All of the dead skin cells that your wonderfully made, self-generating bod are making can’t just fall off naturally, you have to wash them away. I can’t believe I have to say this to grown adults, but the occasional pits-groin-feet wash is just that; occasional.

I am on Team Wash Your Legs, Your Ears, And All Your Parts pretty much every day.
You are special, you are a precious child of God, and you are funky.
You get musty.
You sit and work in close proximity to other people who should not be subjected to your funk.

Yesterday I got on a ferry from stunning Star Island to the coast of New Hampshire. A very healthy, attractive young man was on the ferry ride, and it was obvious within a few minutes that he was an au naturel guy, not a big soap and deodorant user. He smelled like a human being when he got on the ferry, and that was okay, but at the end of the ride when I had occasion to pass again through the cabin where he had been sitting, I almost gagged from the musk.

Don’t be this guy. Just as I have said about wearing jeans and being “down with the real folk,” deciding that you can go about your workday without having taking a washcloth to your incarnate self is an expression of privilege. It’s clueless. It’s rude. My theatre director and stage manager friends have a tradition of making the “smell well” speech before the cast moves into the dressing room. In no uncertain terms, they say “Don’t come to rehearsal unbathed! And please don’t try to cover up your body odor with Axe body spray or perfume – it doesn’t work, it’s unfair to your fellow actors and backstage tech people.”

They are correct; perfumed products, powders and topical unguents are not a replacement for bathing.

And now I would like to put a word in for Trader Joe’s skin care products, which are cruelty-free, affordable and work really well.

These body washes are gentle on the skin, moisturizing and a bargain! The Tea Tree is great for sweaty summers and post-workout washes and it’s not at all drying.

There’s no reason you can’t moisturize with straight coconut oil from the jar but this is lemony and super moisturizing. I get a little leathery in the sun and this gives me the most lovely glow on my arms and legs. Please moisturize, white people! I have been to so many clergy gatherings and sat there feeling utterly horrified by the scaly legs and cracked elbows on display. Raggedy cuticles, dirty feet — it’s appalling. Jesus be a pumice.

This is my favorite all-time body lotion. It is THICK and emollient! It absorbs fast. It works wonders. I have a container of this on my vanity and in the bathroom all winter. Very mild scent.

Get yourself some washcloths! Body scrubs are okay but let’s be honest — how often are you washing them? I have a pile of these and I replace them every two to three days. Use a different one for your face, obvs.

One Reply to “For God’s Sake, Scrub!”

  1. Amen.
    Speaking of smells, may I suggest a new product that–after your wash-up–keeps the smell away without covering it up? I have been using Lume deodorant (not an antiperspirant). It doesn’t have any nasty stuff in it, yet works all day, as opposed to any other natural deodorant I have ever tried. And they have a lovely humorous ad campaign, which was what got my attention in the first place. You use just a teeny tiny bit. It does something to neutralize the bacteria that cause the smell, and was developed by an OB who was hearing complaints about odor problems from her patients. It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it. I am sure those around me daily are grateful.

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