If you’ve been reading the news lately or doom-scrolling Twitter, it’s clear that there’s a lot going on, but no topic is more prudent than the great bathing debate of 2021. Who knew soap and water could be such a contentious subject? But alas, it’s 2021, so really, we should have known all along. It kicked off in earnest with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who together appeared on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast in late July. Kunis began by sharing that she didn’t have hot water growing up and therefore did not shower much. This is a practice she’s passed on to her kids. “If you can see the dirt on them, clean them,” Kutcher added. “Otherwise, there’s no point.” (They’ve since attempted to self-parody the whole situation.)
Asked to weigh in on The View due to the conversation occurring on her husband’s podcast, actress Kristen Bell shared that when it comes to bathing her kids, she’s “a big fan of waiting for the stink.” She added, “Once you catch a whiff, that’s biology’s way of letting you know you need to clean it up.”
Because everything happens in threes (except for a third live-action Scooby-Doo film, boo hiss), Jake Gyllenhaal also decided to open up about his bathing habits during a recent interview with Vanity Fair. “More and more, I find bathing to be less necessary at times,” he admitted.
Then, like clockwork, others started weighing in — only some prompted. “I shower, trust me, I shower,” Jason Momoa remarked. “I’m Aquaman, I’m in the f*cking water, don’t worry about it.” Then came The Rock, writing on Twitter: “I’m the opposite of a ‘not washing themselves’ celeb. Shower (cold) when I roll outta bed to get my day rollin’. Shower (warm) after my workout before work. Shower (hot) after I get home from work. Face wash, body wash, exfoliate, and I sing (off-key) in the shower.” Jodie Turner-Smith, too, weighed in on the app, writing: “Before you lot even ask: in this house, we bathe.” June Diane Raphael came down pro-bathing in her tweet, simply stating: “I bathe myself and my children every day,” while Terry Crews offered a more nuanced take, saying that although he showers multiple times a day, “If you ain’t been sweating, you don’t need to shower.”
Pop star Troye Sivan couldn’t help but weigh in, tweeting: “Just so you all know, i bathe every day and wash my hair twice a week. I wear antiperspirant deodorant with a mild scent and then spray 2-3 pumps of my cologne on top of my clothes in the morning. I wear underwear and socks once before washing and t-shirts twice. I use a loofah.”
In need of more opinions, and with the hope of putting an end to this very bizarre and unnecessary yet gripping debate, I sought out some of my favorite people to get their stance.
Ilana Glazer, Actor/writer/producer
“I fall somewhere in the middle because I enjoy showers and bathing, but I don’t wear deodorant. I don’t want to *smell* smell, but I’m down to be smell-able. I want to be part of the community and not stink people out, but allowing my natural scent to be perceptible can efficiently connect me to who wants to be around me. It’s a meaningful sense, smell.”
Gus Kenworthy, Olympian
“I once said I’d drink Henry Cavill’s bathwater. I still would.”
Tommy Dorfman, Actor
“Wait, this is crazy. [Laughs] Why does this matter? Can that be my stance?”
Paul Downs, Actor and co-creator of Hacks
“I run hot, so taking a bath can make me overheat and feels a little like stewing myself, so I’m very pro shower. Though I absolutely support a person’s right to choose.”
Isaac Cowell Powell, Broadway performer and star of the upcoming And Just Like That
“I may get canceled for this, but I shower compulsively. Always twice a day and sometimes three if I’m bored. Sorry @ Mother Earth. I can’t stand feeling nasty. I can’t function in the day without a morning shower, and I can’t sleep at night without an evening shower.”
Janicza Bravo, Writer/director of Zola
“Raised to shower daily, I think like most of us born in the ’80s who had access to showering. Once I was in charge of my own cleanliness, I rebelled some. I rarely indulge in a bath. Something about souping in my own skin doesn’t get me going. The only time I relish in filth is after a romp. Soaking in your lover’s stench. Carrying them on your flesh like a secret.”
Benito Skinner, Comedian
“The absolute hottest topic. I am honored to weigh in. I take a bath that leads into a shower every day because my back hurts and I’m hell. Also, my greatest fear is someone saying I smell bad.”
Brandon Kyle Goodman, Actor
“I believe in showering every day the same way I believe mac and cheese should only ever be baked. To each their own, but those two things are never up for debate in our house.”
Bing Chen, Entrepreneur
“I am pro-clean without needing to reinvent the ocean in my bathtub every day. It’s somewhere between silky and sticky. Also, too much water fucks with the acoustics in shower concerts. This debate is fine and all, but what I want to know is whether the anti-showerers are also anti-toothbrushers. And who’s kissing them.”
Harper Watters, Dancer
“All I know is that having to dance with someone who smells like foot is the most unpleasant thing. Likewise, the sheer panic of a ballerina saying, ‘can you put deodorant on’ is so embarrassing. Shower shower shower, otherwise no one will want to dance with you.”
“You know I love a good outfit, but no ensemble is complete without good hygiene. Bathing daily isn’t necessary (we don’t want to strip all those good oils and bacterias too often), but at least a few times a week. As long as you smell good and feel good, that’s what matters. Oral hygiene, on the other hand, is definitely a daily thing.”
If you enjoyed this story, check out Evan Ross Katz’s interview with ‘Never Have I Ever’ star Darren Barnet!
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