I know I run the risk of sounding too damn negative all the time — “I hate this”, “I can’t stand that” — but these are truly the phrases people search for that lead them here. I could write a catchier title, but then how would people find us, and discover they aren’t alone??

One of my biggest pet peeves is sweating or getting dirty when I didn’t expect it.

For example–if I wear jeans and it ends up being a hot day. I can’t stand sweating while wearing jeans. The feeling drives me bonkers. The only thing I can think about is changing clothes or getting out of the heat immediately.

Also, if I’ve sweat a lot, I have to take a shower right away. The feeling of having lots of sweat dried on me bothers me. It’s got to be bad for the skin, right?

If I can’t get to a shower, I at least want to get to a bathroom and rinse off my face and neck. Even that small act helps so much.

And, living in Southern California, I wear sandals and flip flops most of the year. So I wash my feet with soap and water almost every night before I go to bed. The idea of being in a bed with dirty feet seems gross and wrong. On nights when I forget to wash them, sometimes I remember as I’m lying in bed and I have to get up and go wash ’em. Otherwise, I’ll just keep thinking about it, and thinking about it….

The Awesome Feeling of Being Cleanfeeling clean

Contrary to my filth pet peeve is one of my favorite feelings in the world: after a hard workout, or being in the hot sun and sweating for hours, I adore taking a shower and then just lying on the bed for a few minutes afterwards, reveling in cleanliness after a hard day. This is especially awesome when traveling and staying at a hotel with a pristine, clean bed. Ahhhhh.

Also — when I wash off a face of makeup, it feels so good. I can’t wait to get it off. The same goes for sunscreen.

Real Life Examples of When My Need for Cleanliness was Problematic

Oftentimes, it’s when traveling that I’ve had to endure being dirty, because I don’t always know where the next shower is coming from.

Several years ago, my husband and I visited a small, sparsely populated island in the Pacific Ocean. Our hotel was quite grim, and the water was often turned off in town for many hours at a time. Since I was covered in sunscreen and sweat, I simply had to take a shower. I felt grimy and oily.

The hotel’s alternative—when the town’s water supply was off–was a 5-foot tall water container behind the hotel, in the unkempt grass. I saw another guy back there, holding the spigot with one hand while washing himself with the other. So, I put on my swimsuit, got into position (bent over) and did my best to soap up while holding the spigot open with one hand. Hah, it’s funny to think about now–I wore glasses at the time, and I left them on so I could see what I was doing. So I rinsed off, outdoors, with glasses on! But darn it, I did feel a lot better afterwards…

The next day, we befriended another couple and I mentioned to them how our hotel hadn’t had running water for over 24 hours. The couple offered to let us use the shower in their room, in a nice hotel, and I was absolutely giddy. I couldn’t get there fast enough.

Another time we took a multi-day boat ride in Australia. We were to sleep on the boat. I remember asking the tour company prior to the trip, “How do we shower?” And they said, “You don’t.”

On the end of the second day of the boat trip, we docked somewhere and had some free time. While all the other tourists in the boat ran around, having fun, I was obsessed with finding a place to shower. That’s all I cared about. I snooped around a big hotel resort and found showers by the pool area. It felt SO FREAKING GOOD to wash off two days of sweat, sunscreen, and insect spray. I simply couldn’t relax until I was clean. I also thought it was so odd that no one else was bothered by not showering for so long!

Some Solutions

When I know I’ll be getting dirty, I can mentally prepare (and wear appropriate clothing) and it’s not as bad. When I played tennis a lot, I remember enjoying extremely hot days, because it felt good to struggle through it with a good sweat—and be rewarded at the end with a shower!

And as I mentioned earlier, if I can’t bathe, simply rinsing my face and neck makes a world of difference.

I bring extra clothes with me almost everywhere I go. If I think I might be hot—I throw an extra pair of shorts into the trunk of the car. I always bring a hat and sweater, too. It’s annoying always bringing extra things, but it’s come in handy so often. In fact, I permanently keep a bag in my car with an extra hat, socks, sweater, and sunscreen.

Being prepared is the key to avoiding discomfort!

When you feel dirty, are you unable to focus on anything other than getting clean?

photo credit: jon|k via photopin cc