Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Children Need a Bath

Hank sent me a link today for a company that will print your business cards on beef jerky. No, I'm not kidding. I find this both amazing and vaguely offensive. While handing out your contact information on meat seems at first to be the pinnacle of human ingenuity and enterprise, I can also imagine some starving kid in Burma hearing about this and slitting his wrists with a sharp rock in despair at the unfairness of life.

Speaking of the unfairness of life, people really need to teach their teenagers personal hygiene. I know the stereotype of adolescence is a kid who takes something like three or four showers a day, but those kids, unfortunately for me, aren't the majority, at least not in the schools where I've taught. Nope the majority fall somewhere between the barely bathed to the grotesque. It's bad enough that I have to see these greasy, matted beasts of humanity (and to realize these kids actually manage to keep friends despite their disgusting lack of cleanliness), but they also leave my room, the halls and bathrooms here reeking with the musk of youthful metabolisms raging with newly ample hormones. God, they stink.

Of course it's worse in middle school and ninth grade. My high school students used to complain whenever they had a class in my room after I taught the seventh-graders. Still, even my tenth-graders can get a little ripe.

Oh, and for those of you who walk around with hair that looks downright wet: I've recently experimented with only shampooing two or three times a week. I'm an oily person, but I've found that a little warm water and a quick finger-scrub keeps my hair from looking greasy and gets it to obey my will and hairbrush so that I don't look like rats have begun nesting in a grease trap on top of my head. I also understand that some people who don't sweat easily and have drier complexions can pull off skipping a day or two of showering. You can't tell when my mom skips a day, for example. However, that group is pretty close to being mutually exclusive with the grouping of teenage boys.

It's true that you, the unwashed soon-to-be-man, may have to sacrifice a little sleeping time in the morning to get in that much-needed shower, but you owe it to the rest of us not to make us nauseous when you enter our personal space.


courtney said...

This makes no sense to me. I was so self-conscious as a teenager that I would have feigned illness if I had slept too late to shower in the morning before school.

I'm a greasy person too, but I've trained my hair to go a day between washings. The less you wash it, the less grease you eventually produce. Strange but true.

Julie said...

I only wash my hair every three or four days but perhaps your teenagers do not realize that you can take a shower without washing your hair? I doubt that tidbit of knowledge would help with the teenager problem, though.

Chris said...

I confess that working from home most days has lulled me into a lazy pattern of showering/hair-washing. Nevertheless, I feel reasonably confident that I don't offend people when I approach.

In high school, though, when I had gym class and then track practice every day, oh I was certainly showering daily.

A Free Man said...

Every time I flirt with getting the certification to teach secondary school I go to talk to one of my secondary teacher friends. Thanks for my daily reminder of why I don't want to teach secondary school.

Jacob said...

I can't see any reason to teach grade school instead of college other than the stability of the employment (or if you just can't get a college job).

Lora said...

Kids are gross, and I don't get it. Like Courtney, every hair on my head was so carefully planned before school that I can't imagine ever smelling. I would run to the bathroom and wash out my pits in the middle of track practice on a hot day. And it was the early 90s! Full on grunge!!

I found your blog thru A Free Man. I loved what you said about daycare, and the need for socialization and the exposure to other children and adults. My sentiments exactly. There is such a HUGE difference between my kid and the children of all of my SAHM friends, and I attribute it to having different caregivers (daycare + my giant Italian American group of inlaws + all of my out of town family who scoop him up whenever possible = lots of influence)

Jacob said...

Lora: Thanks for visiting the blog and the props.