The Luv Doc: Dog Poop, Flop Sweat, and Rotting Salmon
The thin ice of environmental irresponsibility
Dear Luv Doc,
This isn't a question about love so much as it is about hygiene, but it is affecting my love life. My boyfriend doesn't bathe or shower. Or rather, he does so very infrequently – once a week at most. He claims it's because daily showering is bad for the environment, bad for your skin, and bad for your hair. He believes people are too hung up about natural body odors. That might be true, but the bottom line is that he smells almost all of the time and this makes me not want to be physically intimate with him. Needless to say, we have sex very infrequently and I don't enjoy it unless I make him take a shower first. Even still, I do love him and he is a really good guy, it's just that this is becoming a deal breaker. How do I get him to bathe and save our relationship?
– Love Stinks
There are a lot of lonely, ostracized people in the world who are walking the walk and doing what's best for the environment. Your boyfriend is absolutely right about the deleterious environmental effects of our national obsession with personal hygiene. Daily showering/bathing with hot water does leave a fairly sizable carbon footprint. That water doesn't get hot just thinking about running all over our dirty naked bodies. It needs gas ... or coal ... or bird-murdering windmills to help us get into a hot lather.
There is also the conservation issue as well. While fresh water may seem like a limitless, renewable resource, it isn't. We are depleting our aquifers at an alarming rate. In fact, access to potable water is one of the largest issues affecting world health. Nearly 2 billion people worldwide use a drinking water source contaminated with feces. More than 150 million people only have access to groundwater as their primary water source, and while we're making some fairly huge technological strides in renewable energy and water purification processes, it's still a bit too early in the game to claim that water, while seemingly plentiful, doesn't come at a huge cost.
That said, there is sometimes a substantial difference between being right and being happy. Sometimes you want to clean up that dog vomit with a paper towel. And I don't care what anyone says, a gas-powered weed eater is currently far superior to anything with a battery. And sometimes, goddammit, you need your big hair to stay in place, so you decide to shuffle out on the thin ice of environmental irresponsibility.
Yeah, I get that we're killing the planet and whatnot, but I personally have to draw the line when it comes to fucking someone who smells like a mixture of dog poop, flop sweat, and rotting salmon. Actually the line I draw is a few light years short of that. Ideally the person I am having sex with just exited a long, hot bath, and I am reasonably sure I am not alone in this fetish. So, for me at least, your boyfriend's "alternative hygiene" is an absolute deal breaker. You need to figure out what for you is an acceptable level of cleanliness and then demand that he conform to it or find some other woman to disgust. After all, relationships are about compromise, right?