Thursday, March 6, 2008
What the world was like before soap and deodorant……..
This article in the London Times discusses the history of bathing and cleanliness. It appears that what we think is cleanliness is not universal or timeless – but a complicated, constantly evolving phenomenon. Every culture defines cleanliness for itself, choosing what it sees as the perfect point between squalid and over-fastidious.
The nose is adaptable. Twenty years ago most aircraft, restaurants, hotel rooms and most other public indoor spaces were thick with cigarette smoke - now that these places are usually smoke-free, we can tell instantly when there is smoke in the room. And…..as the author notes, there is no evidence that the birth rate ever fell because people were too smelly for sex……