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Archive for February 12th, 2010

Dessicated.

I love a good, long, hot shower, particularly in the winter.  I know this is not good for my skin, but all that delicious hot water sluicing down from the top of my head to the tips of my toes… I don’t care. 

Back in college there was the Hour Shower.  The Hour Shower was best attempted during off-peak times (never in the mornings, which is when most of the girls on my dorm floor took their showers) because the capacity for hot water was better if you were the only person in there steaming up the joint.  The Hour Shower was good for many things, such as exfoliating, shaving, deep conditioning, and thinking.  The capper to the Hour Shower was a bottle of beer (or a wine cooler, if that was more your taste), which ideally was ice cold.  Drinking an ice cold beer in the shower, the play of the cold sensation going down your throat while the hot water turned your skin pink — didn’t get much better than that.  An hour later you were waterlogged, clean, and slightly boozy.  It was the ultimate in pampering yourself as a dorm-residing college kid, since you didn’t have to worry about paying the water bill. 

When we bought our house, the original 1930’s-era pink tiled bathroom was intact, complete with cast iron tub.  A cast iron tub is great for a long, hot soak, because once you heat that tub up with hot water, it holds the heat.  We added a second bathroom several years later, with a fiberglass garden tub, and I am here to tell you, it is just not the same. 

But I don’t have a lot of time for long soaks in the tub, and even if I did, filling our garden tub tends to drain the hot water tank completely.  If it’s just me in the house, that’s not a big deal.  But my husband has a fondness for taking warm (not hot) showers, and in the dead of winter a cold shower is grounds for divorce.  So mostly I take long(ish) hot showers these days.  I’ve got to — he’s the one paying most of the bills around here. 

The only downside of hot showers is what they do to your skin.  No matter how much water I drink in the average day (which is to say, quite a lot) wintertime + hot showers dry me out something fierce.  Wintertime air is pretty dry to start with, and hot water strips the skin of its’ natural moisture, and the combination of the two leaves me looking like a papery husk a lot of the time.  I slather on the lotion, but that only goes so far.  My hands get the worst of it, since I’m washing my hands a lot, or using that alcohol-based hand sanitizer stuff, and no matter how much or how rich the lotion I use on my hands I still end up with sandpapery skin.  And I itch.  The worst part of itchy skin is that place on your back that you can’t quite reach, no matter how you contort yourself.  This is why they make door frames.  I’ve been known to pay for an hour long massage just to get lotion rubbed into my back, without the expectation of reciprocation. 

It’s humid here in this neck of the woods for much of the year, and once spring rolls around the desert also known as my skin will begin to recover.  Considering that we’re heading into a weekend with a forecast of (yet more) snow, recovery looks to be a long way off. 

— Mox

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