I really and truly dislike showering. I don’t mean in contrast to taking a bath; I also don’t relish the feeling that I am sitting in my own filth. I mean that the actual process of bathing bugs me. There are so many steps, and no matter how quickly I move, it takes too long. Then there’s the whole post-shower moisturizing-deodorizing-hair gel application routine. I don’t mean to to be so high maintenance, but I also don’t want to be itchy, frizzy and smelly with dark circles under my eyes. If I could somehow never shower and not be frightening and/or disgusting, I would do it. And this is all with a nice, roomy American shower with a constant flow of hot water.
Let’s talk German showers. Now, I try not to complain about the negative aspects of life abroad because I can be a bit of a wallower, and in reality, the ten months I will spend here are too short to waste sitting on the couch in sweatpants and listening to the Smiths. Plus, there are plenty of good things here that I don’t have at home. That said, bathing in Germany is the pits! Why? Let me outline it for you:
- Apparently it is not standard practice to install fans in bathrooms. In fact, I have yet to encounter a bathroom here with one. Instead, they all have windows that open. Regardless of the season, you will open your window while showering or risk having a dank, black mold-infested bathroom.
- Not only is water a precious resource, but it is expensive in Europe. When you shower here, you turn on the the water, get wet, then turn it off. Lather up, turn the water back on and rinse. (Bonus: During that time when the warm water is not running, a cold breeze is coming in through the open window.)
- Every shower I have used in Germany is either a tiled or glass stall, and there is always a squeegee hanging there. So, before you towel off, you have to squeegee your shower stall to prevent water spots. There’s nothing like doing chores in the nude first thing in the morning to get your day off to a good start!
- Once you can finally exit the shower, you will towel off with the scratchiest towel in the oddest size ever. The towels here are somewhere between a standard American hand towel and bath towel, and have been beaten into submission but a series of washings in scalding hot water, followed by air-drying.
I know, I know. I’m whining. I won’t make this a habit, I promise. At least the showers here aren’t terrifying like the showers I used in Guatemala. They have an electrical heating device between the pipe and the showerhead, which everyone half-jokingly referred to as a “widowmaker.” And I get that using less electricity and fewer liters of water is the socially responsible thing to do, but I don’t have to like it.