YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…..
So my very favourite Bad Feminist Roxane Gay, who has to deal with so much more intersectionality than I do, has participated in a puff piece in stylist.co.uk talking about her hygiene routine. I told her I would follow her example.
At this point I can hear Jeff saying something, and then when I ask him to repeat it, he says, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’
I probably should shower more frequently than I do, being about three times a week, but as I get older I get dryer, and I feel like I’m turning into a desiccated old piece of sod. I use Belle de Provence Honeysuckle soap because it smells very good, lasts a long time and is the one piece of luxury in my hygiene routine. Hardly anyone carries it and since it’s 6 bucks a pop I tend to buy in bulk when I find it. I use Head and Shoulders brand shampoo/conditioner and buy it in the large pump size as it’s cheaper. I use no other soap products. I wash my hands every time I handle the cat, before I prep food and after I come in from being out in public as well as after I groom myself or go to the toilet. I didn’t give a shit about washing my hands before I ran a restaurant. Now I really, really do care about it, and it’s the simplest, fastest and easiest way to prevent illness, so why the hell not.
I hate all deodorants but I stink if I don’t use them. When I’m feeling radical I wash, dry thoroughly and apply baby powder to my pits, but that’s good for about 12 hours before Jeff’s eyebrows do something improbable (the fan in the basement blows my effluent in his direction when we’re watching tv, so … yeah.) Otherwise I use whatever kind of bo juice isn’t loathsome, and I’m like a lightning rod for deodorant being discontinued, so I try to be cool, but right now it’s a pretty loathsome vanilla smelly thing. Gak. Still better than the alternative.
I use two different kinds of eyedrops, thanks to the amazingly practical and super unjudgey Lady Miss Banjola, one for day, one for night, and I am not consistent in their use but by gar it’s a good thing to have them, because when you need them you’re like ACK MY EYES MY EYES I CAN’T GET MY EYES oh thank goodness I can see! Also, thanks to her I found out that dryness amidships can be ameliorated by the twice weekly anointing of der ladygel, and she made brand recommendations, and I can get them reasonably cheap on line. With that one small recommendation she made my life go from a meepy, withered parody of what Beeker sounds like after he’s been mugged, to me being able to contemplate having a boyfriend. I don’t actually want a boyfriend, and the men in my life who squire me around do not wish to fill this or candidly any other vacancy wheresoever situated, but at least the prospect shifted from being painfully impossible to being ludicrously improbable, and only the Rumi’s Beloved could parse that shift in meaningful terms, but I view it as an improvement.
I pluck my eyebrows every day. I watched the best eyebrow guy on the planet do a tutorial on youtube, and I thought “Hey, my OCD and some grooming tips wa-ho!” but I tell you my brow game is fierce, and it helps with the performative feminity, although I have not recently been mistaken for a man (it only happened the once, and I think the person was altered.)
This upping of the eyebrow game was subsequent to Keith picking out to extremely flattering and stylish frames for me. I was looking really hard for a job and I wanted to be ready to interview at a moment’s notice, and now, provided I have a clean dress, I really am. I pluck my chin hairs, and my (sigh, fuck my life) chest hairs. I do not shave my legs or pits and anybody who wants me to can shave his or her legs and pits all they want but this lovely, amazing, FEATURE of adult life called BODILY AUTONOMY does not stop being awesome just because you are creeped out by my hairy legs, and the next time somebody calls me on it I’ll just say that sexism is uglier than hairy legs and any sensible person knows that. Body hair sure makes men who have basic issues with mansplaining and feminism go away right quick, and smell ya later, ya squirrelfondling preverts.
Also, I got really really bad frostbite on my lower legs when I was in public school, so bad that the skin on my lower legs (the shaving zone) is burst-into-tears sensitive, so yeah, no, fuck your leg shaving. It HURTS. I bleed, and then all the little hairs growing back in catch in my bedding, so fuck you and go AWAY if you think I should shave my legs for any reason whatsoever. As for my armpits. When more than 50 percent of north American men shave their armpits, I’ll sign up for one of those monthly boxes of shaving gear, but until that day (bwa ha ha, coming soon!) yeah, just no.
I used to use Garnier number 60 hair dye and I still have some tucked away, but it really really bothers Jeff and I’m not a fan of doing it, I am a fan of having it done. Fortunately the colour is almost exactly the same as the two remaining stripes of colour I have in the mounting nest of grey that is my hair so even when I let it grow out it looks reasonably okay. If I get another interview, which will be hard, as I am officially as of this moment no longer looking for work since hey we’re in a recession, and nobody would want to hire me even if I wanted to trade the best part of me for 24K net a year, which I don’t, and which makes me an elitist asshole. Ok.
I make my own perfume, which is called Cyprus, and has a secret blend of floral oil ingredients, and which smells fantastic on me (to the point where other women have demanded I sell them some, which I did) but everybody from my mOm to my brO thinks it smells like I’m hanging truck stop air freshener from my pits AND about 40% of my friends have chemical sensitivities and find it overpowering even when I’m using it gingerly so it’s only for special occasions.
My last pedicure made me limp for THREE FUCKING MONTHS and I am never paying for one again as Hecate may bear witness; now I cut off the parts of the toenail that stick out and abrade down the rest with a number of different kinds of pedicure gear. I occasionally soak my feet and use footrub on myself or get somebody else like Katie to help out. I am very very on top of my toenails because I can go from Happy Feet to ballerina outtakes (thankfully not shown here) in less than a week. My hair, feet and nails grow at a tremendous rate, which is great because I get rid of heavy metals that way, but I must cut, hack, saw and file away with vigour.
I used to be an assclown about dental hygiene but I brush and floss every single day now (occasional lapses, but not many) since I can’t afford to lose the use of any more teeth when toothpaste and floss is so cheap. I buy firm or super firm brushes and brush whatever way feels right and I pay for getting my teeth cleaned professionally once a year. I am seriously considering investing in dental picks.
I have incredibly clean ear canals. I hate the feeling of anything in there except air, but I no longer scrape them out with anything hard because it removes the hair that grows in the canal and I’m so clumsy I might deafen myself.
I wash my face with soap once a week. Any more and I dry out like something that went with Scott to the Pole.
Once every three months I apply a clay facial mask. I like how my skin feels afterward.
Once in a very long while I get a massage or a spa half day, but I can get the same results from rolling around on Wreck Beach and probably get exposed to the same amount of coliform in the process.
And there you have it. Nobody asked for it, but that is my hygiene routine.