I’ve been accused of having a touch of OCD when it comes to cleanliness and order, and I don’t deny that I’m an uptight asshole who takes personal hygiene perhaps a bit too seriously. I’ve been known to shower up to three times a day, and yes, I realise that is not normal.
There are prescribed medications to tamp down this brand of crazy and believe me, I take them on the daily; even still, nothing makes my skin crawl like catching a whiff of unwashed hair or, God forbid, unbrushed teeth. Shudder.
Are there really people out there who don’t notice or care about this sort of thing? At uni, there were grimy gamer guys who travelled in packs, and I stayed the hell away from them. When I’m talking to someone who clearly hasn’t showered in a few days, I can’t even hear the words that are coming out of his mouth. All I see are signs of filth, which is fine, if that person doesn’t have access to clean running water – but they do, they always do. So why the fuck are they gross? Is it their mother’s fault? It must be their mother’s fault, right? Lack of home training?
Everyone I know has electricity and shampoo, and also, chewing gum does not erase the smell of last night’s sex and churros. It just doesn’t. There are no excuses.
So obviously, when I decided I was ready to have children, the universe gave me boys. Boys, I’ve learned, are naturally disgusting pigs and no amount of nagging, teaching, or sticker charting can cure them. It’s a constant, uphill battle to keep them clean, and because I’m the kind of mother and person that I am, I never stop trying.
We shaved our 9-year-old’s head because he kept emerging from the shower smelling like a wet puppy. He’d enter the shower, where there is plenty of soap. He’d sing Imagine Dragons songs, exit the shower, and … he still smelled.
“You handle it,” I said to my husband, who, truth be told, has borderline hygiene deficiency himself if left to his own devices. I heard him talking to our son, and then they walked past me, outside, into the darkness.
“Where are you going?” I called after them.
Turns out, my husband told our son that if he didn’t start washing his hair, he was going to cut it all off. His response to this threat was unexpected excitement, so before I knew what was happening, my eldest son was bald and there was a metric shit ton of stinky hair blowing around the yard.
“Problem solved!” They were both beaming with pride.
Other areas of contention include hand-washing and nose-blowing. Hands need to be washed after playing with bugs or worms or livestock, yes? YES. Yet, no one ever seems to remember this rule and everyone always argues with me when I try to make it happen. Same with nose blowing; IT’S NON-NEGOTIABLE. I have tissues. I’m handing them to you. Use them, for the love of all that is holy. Honestly, I think it’s in their DNA to ignore what they cannot see, which in this case, are germs.
The only way for me to survive the next decade or more is to go full throttle militia up in this bitch. There are no excuses for steeping in your own foul matter unless it’s the zombie apocalypse and we’re hiding in an underground bunker.
I might fail at many things as a mum, but there is no way I’m going to fail at driving home the importance of soap and water. So, kids, are you sure you brushed your teeth? BECAUSE I DON’T SEE ANY ZOMBIES OUTSIDE EATING PEOPLE.