Even though we all take care of ourselves (at least we hope), talking about the way we do so has always carried a stigma in modern society. We’re slowly getting more comfortable with it, but talking about which deodorant you use or how you deal with various bodily odors throughout the day remains a taboo conversation. The truth is, nobody likes to acknowledge that their body ever smells any less than peaches and cream. We like to leave odor solutions out of the conversation and, therefore, out of mind.
But if we talked more openly about our personal hygiene, not only would it help us feel more comfortable in our own skin, but it would also open us up to beneficial cleanliness practices and tips on how to improve our own routines. Talking casually about hygiene would normalize hygienic practices, which is a win-win-win-win-win-… it helps everyone.
A great example of the hygiene taboo is menstruation. Billions of girls and women around the world experience a period, yet they still feel the need to keep menstrual hygiene out of sight, such as by sliding a tampon up a sleeve when walking to the office bathroom. Let’s go, folks! It’s time for people of all genders to be discussing hygiene openly and altruistically, because we will find unity in our common experiences and gripes. Excusing yourself from a meeting to deal with your period should not cause a shockwave to fly through the boardroom. And talking about hygiene practices such as these will only educate those who are uncomfortable discussing it or sharing harmful hygiene myths.
If you are worried about discussing hygiene with family or friends—especially if you’re worried they’ll pick up a false hint from the conversation—don’t be. A great route into the hygiene discussion is by acknowledging just how many health benefits proper hygiene can have, both mentally and physically. Approaching the topic of hygiene from the angle of concern, ensuring your loved ones are the healthiest they can be, is a great, positive way to start a conversation.
Another great way to speak about good hygiene (or to give that subtle hint that maybe we are aiming for) is to promote a product you’ve been using that you think the other person would enjoy. Like, “Hey Bill, have you heard of Fresh Body? Ever since I’ve purchased their Fresh Balls lotion, I am so much more comfortable sitting at work all day.” Or, “What’s up Brenda? I just bought this great floss that I swear works better than anything else I’ve ever tried. I’ve been trying to improve my oral hygiene, and this is it!”
Perhaps Brenda’s New Year’s resolution was to improve her oral hygiene, as well, and this random mention of yours reminds her of that. You never know how beneficial discussing hygiene can be. As a human society, we sustain ourselves on relationships and conversations with others, and hygiene should not stand as a barrier to any of this. We all have bodies that need taking care of, so share your knowledge. After all, it’s hip to be clean!