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The Shower: A Heated Debate (or is it?)

Pictured above is an illustration of an old clawfoot tub with a tacky floral shower curtain. Showers themselves have a lot of character just like the routines of the people who occupy them. Illustration by Lula Hugo.

In life, one must make many decisions: how you take your coffee, what you choose to do in your free time, or which show you put on after a long day at school. We’re all very particular about our little habits and routines, which makes sense because they keep us comfortable.

I asked people in our community what their shower habits are. At first, I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually be willing to talk to me about this rather intimate and personal activity, but the eager responses came pouring in.

Before I talk about our wonderful community’s bathing habits, I want to give you all my take. I tend to take showers in the morning and make them nauseatingly hot to wake me up. I wash my hair, my body (rinsing the conditioner out afterwards), and then my face last. Before I wash my face, I turn the hot water off and try to shock myself awake with a couple minutes of cold water near the end because I still haven’t fully awakened at this point. There’s some kind of science behind this; I think it’s supposed to be good for you but honestly I couldn’t be bothered to look it up (This is about showers, not science!). Bella Walker, a student at Franklin, seems to share my process: “I always wash my hair then body, then rinse out shampoo. It’s very convenient that way.” 

With that out of the way, I noticed some major polarizing factors. There’s a lot of hot vs. cold debates as well as morning vs. night. What I did not expect to encounter was how strongly people seem to feel about their shower position. Some common ones I heard were facing towards VS. away from the shower head and sitting down (side note, if you’ve never thought about sitting down in the shower, you should try it— the shower is a much different place from down there.) VS. standing up. I didn’t even think of shower positions when I first asked for testimonials, but seeing people talk about it made me think of my own routines and I began to notice patterns within myself as well as the group I had asked. Another student, Anna Stacklie-Vogt, told me about her movement while in the shower: “I spin slowly like a rotisserie chicken.” 

Temperature-wise, many seemed to enjoy a combination of hot and cold such as myself, but the overwhelming response I got was “disgustingly hot” or “scalding.” I’d say I’m a little concerned for you guys but I myself am a participant in “burning like fire temperature” showers. Jackson Strickland, yet another student at Franklin, brings up a point that I had not considered yet but seems rather important: “[a] cold shower after a hot day [is better than a] hot shower after a cold day.” His opinion led me to think about how context and environment really do matter in this debate. There’s the baseline preference of each individual, yet it seems it’s subject to change given the situation. For instance, if I’m having a bad day or I feel like I didn’t get off to a good start, a midday shower is a great way to reset and feel brand new if I’ve got the time. 

It seems I, as well as a fair amount of others, take morning showers to feel fresh and ready to take on the day, but from those I asked, the majority seemed to prefer evening showers. Another voice in the community adds, “Warm showers at night [are] relaxing [and] epic, then [you] sleep. Boom, clean for the morning.” It’s hard to argue with that. The evenings seem inherently more relaxing to most of those I spoke to. I completely understand the large group of night-bathers. Another student, Farris Gandenberger, seemed conflicted on the matter: “Man, morning showers are good and all to wake yourself up but then you go out into the world and get dirty again, and then you get into your cozy little bed all crusted and disgusting.”

There was a lot of conflict that I noticed amongst the opinions, but the bottom line is that everyone seems to do what makes them comfortable. Listening and reading all the statements from the Franklin community made me feel like I was finding out each person’s secrets to making their daily routine successful. I’d like to extend a special thank you to all those who were willing to share their habits with me; you all are brave and I dig it. Whatever you do in the shower (as long as it’s not harming anyone?) in order to feel comfortable is valid, so continue. Stay clean and stay warm, Franklin. 

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