Friday, September 01, 2006

Grooming and personal hygiene are important matters for extremely poor people, or ought to be if not. If you don’t have money for toiletries, however, there are ways to make do. Here are some:

Haircuts are a necessity if you are trying to get work. If you have a girlfriend, make her give you a haircut somehow. Do whatever it takes. If you have a boyfriend, do not under any circumstances let him give you a haircut, unless, of course, he is gay or gay-like. If you are currently lacking a partner and you have an electric clipper at home and your electricity is on, use it, by all means. You can acquire them cheaply at Target, e.g. If you have a Flobee, however, do not ever tell anyone.

Shaving can be a challenge for poor people if they shave with a blade razor. If you do, however, you should know that the blades only get so dull. They can always shave you, no matter how long you’ve had them. You can, of course, use bar soap for shaving foam if you have none. I’ve found that the liquid soap stuff works better for shaving, however. If you are desperate, you can also use shampoo, conditioner, or motor oil. I recommend 5W30 for a smooth shave.

If you run out of toothpaste, check your pantry. You can use baking soda as a dentifrice. Combine 3 parts baking soda to 1 part table salt. Be very careful using other substitutes, however. I can testify that peppermint love oil does not work.

Bonus Hint: Baking soda can also be used as an antacid; follow the directions on the box.

Toilet paper really deserves an entry by itself. TP is not, repeat not, a necessity. It is a wonderful luxury, however, and it is always one of the first things I buy when I have gringo bucks. I don’t call it a necessity, though, because there are too many other things you can use instead, no matter how poor you are. What you are looking for is something that disintegrates in water and doesn’t feel like the business end of a belt sander. I suggest the following substitutes, in descending order of preference:

  • Cocktail napkins (a.k.a. bevnaps)
  • Fast food napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper
  • Pine cones

Bonus Hint: Don’t use valuable toilet paper to blow your nose – use a cloth handkerchief instead.

Notice that I haven’t addressed feminine hygiene. This is because I am a man. I’ve never had to make tampons out of dried cornstalks or old gym socks. If you are a woman and you have tips, by all means pass them on.

The last item I’ll mention is the cold shower. This occurs when they shut off your hot water. I have found this to be a powerful incentive to pay your bill. Shower at somebody else’s house; visit your parents if you must. Avoid the cold shower. I have heard myself using profanity that would make any sailor blush when I have had to resort to this. (Like today, for instance….)

Bonus Hint: Cologne does not make up for not showering, no matter how much you use. Bite the bullet and take the shower.

I hope this entry helps out. My credentials in this matter are impeccable: I have won the Mr. Personal Hygiene award three years running at the local YMCA. Damn straight.

- Hulles


VF said...

I think there is a lot to be said for the cold shower, my problem was more a lazy landlord than an unpaid bill, but not only does it save water - there is only so long you can stand there especially in winter - but it does wonders for tightening the skin and closing the follicles which makes your hair shiny, even if it is 1/4 long.

Hulles said...

I think, all things considered, that I'd rather have a warm shower and tolerate loose skin and open follicles.

But thanks for providing a silver lining....