The girls next door are at it again.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago (here), I don’t know them very well. One of them has this annoying habit of leaving toilet paper on the bathroom counter. It’s disgusting and unhygienic and it makes me very glad I know a few things about bathroom etiquette.
I should also mention I didn't learn these things until my senior year of high school.
It all started one bright summer day as me and my friend Taylor were driving to see the latest Harry Potter movie. I mentioned to her that my parents, upon passing a burger joint, had remarked that the frying grease smelled remarkable like me. “Do I . . . smell bad?” I asked. I was prepared for a loud, “Of course not!” or a quiet, “Well, maybe just a little.”
|I don't see what's wrong with smelling like this. This is delicious.|
I got a resounding, “Of course you do! Yes! Yes, you stink! I am dreading the thought of having to sit next to you in a movie theater for the next three hours! Haven’t you ever heard of soap?”
“Soap?” I said. “I use it to . . . wash my hands.”
“And how often do you wash your body with it?” she said, eyes aglow with righteous flame.
“I . . .” This was bad. I could see no other way around it. “You’re supposed to wash your body with it? Really?”
Let me explain. I knew what soap was for. But ever since I’d been six years old and deemed old enough to shower on my own, my mother always told me, “Use shampoo and conditioner. Don’t forget shampoo and conditioner! Did you remember to shampoo and condition your hair?” So I just got into the habit of walking into the shower, pouring shampoo on my head, and topping it off with a little conditioner. I could get in and out of the shower in five minutes. It was great. My mother would sniff the top of my head, nod in approval, and permit me to go watch TV.
But apparently, when you’re running five miles every day in the July heat, shampoo and conditioner just don’t cut it anymore. So for the next few weeks,
Taylor reminded me
constantly to use soap and treated me like a complete idiot.
When the school year began, I innocently asked my friend Sarah what she did to keep her hair so soft. She laughed quietly and said, “Oh, Liz, you’re so sweet. I just use shampoo and conditioner.” Considering her hair was about ten times softer than mine, I had another sinking feeling that I was doing something terribly wrong.
“How exactly do you use them?” I asked.
Taylor, who was also there, helpfully added, “She didn’t know how to use soap until I told her about it.”
Sarah looked confused. “Well, Liz, I just pour a little shampoo in the palm of my hand and work it into a lather—”
“A lather? What’s that?”
Taylor cracked up. “You
don’t know what a lather is? Who taught you how to shower?”
“My mother did!” I shouted. Note—if you ask my mother about this, she swears she taught me about lathering. I don’t argue with her on this, because the odds I forgot what she told me are much better than the odds she never taught me how to wash myself.
So we had a running joke for a while about me needing shower lessons. Then, when we ended up in a hotel for a cross-country overnight meet, somehow I actually ended up getting shower lessons.
Now, it’s a bit difficult for a girl as conservative as Sarah to actively demonstrate to another female how to take a proper shower, so she just stood outside the curtain and gave polite instructions.
“Get your hair wet,” was the first one. I obeyed. Then I stuck my head out of the curtain and asked if I’d done it right. She touched my head and sighed. “Here. Stick it back under the water until all of it is wet.”
When you can’t even wet your hair properly, you know you need shower lessons. So I held my head under the spout until water was running out of my hair. Once Sarah approved of my scalp wetness, she grabbed one of the little hotel shampoos and began rubbing it into my head.
“Feel that,” she said.
I reached up and ran my fingers through my hair. To my surprise, the crown of my head was coated in some kind of soft, puffy mass—bubbles! I had foamy bubbles in my hair! “This is so cool,” I said. She laughed quietly.
“This is a lather. Rinse it out and try on your own.”
It took me two tries, but I finally managed to do it. Sarah was very impressed. We quickly moved on to conditioner. Surprisingly, you’re only supposed to put it in the bottom of your hair. Did you know that? And you’re supposed to comb it through with your fingers.
Now I knew we’d moved into the realms of advance skill, the likes of which mortals tremble to behold. After rinsing the conditioner from my hair, I felt a new exhilaration sweep over me. My hair fell down my shoulders like a curtain of liquid silk.
Unfortunately, I ended up running a race in the noonday heat the next day, so it got all sweaty and stuff. But all’s well that ends well. Now, if only
Taylor would stop telling me how to brush my
teeth. I think I know that much.