the obsession with cleanliness

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Makes us sicker.

I remember being taught about this in my sophomore biology class in high school. The teacher stood up there and reminded us that warm and wet conditions are microbes' favorite growing medium, that every shower or bath left so many trillions more microbes on us than before it's not even funny.

It is nice to increase the number of protective skin commensals like that, but if you have any malign bugs on you, bathing usually strengthens them, and, some years ago now, I really did test out what they were saying about going without bathing for a few months. It worked like they say.

No body odor and hair stopped looking dirty and got shinier.

In other words, I let the microbes on me duke it out between each other, let the good ones kill off the bad ones. So maybe don't be an idiot in public restrooms and give bathing a complete vacation every so often... kind of like smart parents let their kids play in the mud and grubble around in every sort of natural setting because [1] little kids are happiest this way, and [2] this makes their immune systems very strong.

pipe up any time....