Wednesday, January 11, 2012

napoleon the funky

my husband is gone for the night. it's work related and only for a day, but i woke up this morning and thought, "i'm going to be a slob and not take a shower today because my man isn't here to notice."

i've felt like i was being rather slovenly, but then i remembered something i read a while ago. supposedly, when napoleon was off at war, he sent his lady josephine a message telling her not to bathe for two weeks prior to his return. thinking about that today led me to do a little internet research and there's speculation if he actually said two weeks or three days, but most sources i found said two weeks.

this troubles me. i had to talk myself into NOT showering for one day and i will certainly be clean and pristine before i see my fella tomorrow, even if there's no hanky panky on our agenda.

i'm assuming that napoleon was coming home from his warring, feeling powerful and frisky. and maybe powerfully frisky, depending on how long he'd been gone and how many whores he'd visited while he was away. i can't imagine wanting to get up close and personal to anyone when i was dirty and.... ripe. because i don't care who you are, you will be smelling all kinds of funky by the time 2 weeks of non-bathing has gone past.

we recently read in a book on american history that people used to think that bathing was dangerous and avoided it most of the time. they typically took only a couple baths a year. did you catch that? two a YEAR, people! can you imagine how bad they smelled? they didn't have air conditioning or sanitary toileting facilities either, so their rears had to have been smellable from across the room. or the field for that matter!

and these people often slept several to a room. they didn't have the space or money to have large, spread out houses, so oftentimes, kids slept in their parents' bedroom. and it wasn't unusual for a family to have ten kids.

it makes my eyes bug out a little bit to think about going for 6 months without a bath and sleeping in a bed with a man who's been working the fields day in and day out and who's also been many months without getting intimate with a bar of soap.

now imagine that you are part of that couple, that dirty, odoriferous couple. it's summer and you're lying in bed after a long day of sewing garments by hand for your 9 kids. you've cooked several meals over a big open pot on a fire and you've killed and plucked a couple chickens. you've been inside a house with no electricity or water or even a door or screens to keep the bugs out all day.

you've been nursing infants for nearly 12 years straight. your boobs no longer resemble the breasts that we currently think of in america, but more closely mimic the ones we see in national geographic where they hang straight down with the long, uninspiring nipple distended and pointing at your feet when you stand up. when you lie down, your teets slide off into your sticky, hairy armpits. there's a pungent scent of old yeast and sour milk wafting up from the breasty region.

you're lying in your bed of grass. it's been covered with a sheet that you air out every week or so, but it's filled none-the-less with old hay. if you lay your ear directly on the mattress, you can hear the bugs crawling around under your bodies inside the hay. you can hear your children breathing in various locations around the room. one's in your dresser drawer bedded down on your grandma's old shawl. two are on a blanket on the floor beside you within arm's reach.

neither of you owns a tooth brush. you pick and scrape at your teeth from time to time with a stick that you've widdled to a point, but toothpaste isn't something you even know about.

can you picture the scene? are you with me?

okay, now close your eyes and tell me how you feel..... is the answer HORNY? i know that scientifically there would be a large build up of pheromones that are supposedly a turn on, but i suspect the other factors would counter the alleged attraction. i'm positive that the very last thing in the world that i can think of when i'm putting myself mentally in that situation is wanting to bump uglies when both myself and my husband are both big sweating stench bags. there would have to be a line of demarcation down the center of that buggy grass bed until such time as a bath could be procured for the both of us.

it's amazing to me that families were so large at that time. clearly, current american standards for cleanliness have affected my mindset on this matter, but it seems that even if that weren't present, surely my nose would protest close contact on a hot summer's night.

much like my appreciation of toilet paper from a couple posts ago, i am now voicing my appreciation of soap. and running water. and razors to scrape off all that armpit and leg hair. thank you, Jesus that i live in the year 2012 in the current conditions and standards for bathing.


  1. Nothing on TV. More to the point, no TV at all. I won't care how you smell. I need SOMEthing to do when the sun goes down.
    On a related issue...I gotta think it would only be the ladies who could get intimate with a bar of soap.
    Still...I'm gonna go take a shower. I just hope there's still some soap left.

  2. Yeah, it's amazing the species has even survived--that they had kids at all!

  3. Hilarious as ever! I feel the same way, if we are gittin' down tonight we best BOTH have showered that day!

  4. ooooh nooooo you just didn't!!! Yuck. I am sure there hair was all nappy and dreaded too, with bugs galore! And you fotgot those poor droopy yeasty national geographic boobs also smelled of sour breast milk! Yum! My hubs would totally want to dig into that!!!

  5. The thought of going so long is making me feel so weird in all honesty, it really doesn't make much sense actually. Missing a day isn't bad though so don't feel too bad about it!

  6. al, read a book. and use that soap liberally on your funky elbow!

    eva, agreed.

    heidi, thanks and for reals!

    daniele, thank you for pointing out my lack of note of the sour milk. i added it in. definitely worth recognizing.

    yeamie, go take a shower. it'll help you feel better. =)

  7. A shower is part of the foreplay for us. And now my skin is crawling. Can you imagine having sex with 10 kids in the room.

  8. Okkkkayyy, glad I just showered. That mental picture (smell) is going to haunt me. Especially the part about the boobs...ha

  9. I remember watching some history show and they were talking about eating and their usage of napkins. It was just a really long piece of cloth that they all used theirs over and over again and it got washed once a year. Ick!

  10. OH I DID IT AGAIN! I replied IN MY HEAD and not here. Stupid brain.

    That was so interesting, Sherilin. I love to hear details about how people really lived in old times. Why don't they do more of that in school? Yeah, filthy times. I loved this show "Deadwood" on HBO, and it was about the real town of Deadwood, and how it came about during the gold rush. I read about one real life guy, who a character was based on, and how he liked to dress in clean clothes and had the "bizarre practice" of bathing EVERY DAY. Fascinating.

  11. Yes, I am so grateful for soap. Thank goodness for soap.

  12. Wow....I should have read this AFTER I showered.

  13. Wowza. Gotta go shower. Makes me feel grimy just reading about that!!!

  14. Oh Yuck. No way would I have procreated during that time period.


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