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Shower vs. bath. You decide

February 10, 2017

We do a lot of showering in America.

On average, we shower 6.7 times a week. I have no idea how the .7 shower works. Do you skip certain regions, not use soap, shampoo, water?

Men take slightly more showers than women. Granted, men tend to get funky faster than women, but who’d a guessed they were so fastidious about dealing with their bouquet.

A survey conducted by the faucet maker Moen reveals some other interesting tidbits about our showering habits and hangups:

Some 73 percent of us share a shower with a spouse, a statistic which, unfortunately, has to do with the physical space and nothing to do with buddying up with a friend to save water.

More people shower in the morning (58 percent) than at any other time of the day. (While the survey didn’t say so, I assume the other 42 percent have teenagers.)

A significant majority (68 percent) sing in the shower and are inspired to do so because they believe no one can hear them. In most cases, this is a win-win for both performer and audience.

Most people towel off outside the shower. Personally, I towel off inside the shower … after turning off the water.

While people shower 6.7 times per week, they only wash their hair 5.7 times. This, of course, is why everyone owns at least one baseball cap.

In terms of water temperature, 62 percent prefer a hot shower, a somewhat surprising preference to those of us who went to Catholic high schools where cold showers were viewed as a key to salvation.

Not only do Americans take a lot of showers, we also spend a lot of time doing it, our average shower length being 13 minutes. For men that seems about right. For women that seems way low. For teenagers it barely scratches the surface of the time they spend locked in the bathroom with the water meter running.

I have no idea what teenagers do in the shower. What I have noticed, however, is when they finally emerge in a whoosh of scented body-wash and steam, they don’t look much cleaner than when they went in.

By the way, according to the folks at Guinness, the record for the world’s longest shower is 341 hours, which works out to 14.5 days. It was set by Kevin “Catfish” McCarthy in 1985 at Buffalo State College. While most of us are not world-class shower athletes like “Catfish,” our time under the spray works out to about an hour and a half per week, six hours per month, 72 hours or so a year. Is this much cleanliness even necessary? Not according to the experts.

In terms of health, researchers say one or two showers per week is sufficient, but if you feel it’s necessary to shower daily, then just lather up the areas most responsible for air-quality violations.

Finally, there is the matter of the shower vs. the bath. The shower is no-nonsense, practical, quicker and uses less water. The bath is sexier, what with the candles, the scented water, the scattered rose petals, the glass of wine.

The problem with the bath is the bath process. You wash all this crud, dead skin and God knows what else off and then you sit there and soak in it. And what about washing your hair?

You need scuba gear to stay under long enough to get all the soap out.

Bottom line? The only way the bath works is if you take a shower first.

Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at jimboshea@gmail.com and on Twitter @jimboshea.