A Goose and A Gander

By Dan Teano and Amanda Gabriel

Elm Staff Writers

This week Dan and Amanda are discussing hygiene and how it may or may not affect your relationship with your significant other. They cover shaving, body odor, and overall cleanliness. 

Dan says… Variety is the spice of life, and that could not be truer about personal hygiene. Across the globe, people adhere to their own personal preferences and cultural standards. What we may find to be stinky and in dire need of deodorant, another culture may find attractive. Especially if you’re in a relationship, specific scents do not matter. What is most important is accepting and loving your partner for who they are, without undermining their individuality.

Some women like beards, some like moustaches, and some like their men clean shaven like our very own, George Washington. Regardless of how many strands of hair your chin boasts of, the fact of the matter is, no one’s looking. Adjusting your facial appearance to what you think women will find more attractive is the wrong approach. At the end of the day, your personal opinion matters most. If you want to imitate Hulk Hogan’s widely celebrated moustache because that will make you happy, you are more than entitled to do so, but only style your facial hair for yourself, not for the prospect of pleasing anyone. Ultimately, you should not orient your physical appearance to another person’s preference. By going along with your own standards you inadvertently show off your self-confidence. That is the most attractive asset anyone can have. Doing what makes you happy enhances your individuality, and that is what will make you the most attractive to the right person.

Too often we are more concerned about our relationship partner’s hygiene than our own. If your boyfriend is an athlete there will be times you wrap your arms around a sticky, wet jersey. Even worse, when he takes off his shoes after a rigorous workout your entire room will smell like feet. Unfortunately, these offending odors are inevitable. No matter how much he can deadlift, his back is not skilled enough to turn off his sweat glands. In all cases, if sweat aggravates you the last thing you should do is make your significant other take anti perspiration pills. Instead, throw a towel in his gym bag, or kindly remind him to pack his Old Spice. As with shaving your facial hair, the key to maintaining a healthy relationship and individuality, is to encourage one another without changing each other.

Inevitably, when personal hygiene comes up in discussion, all thoughts head downstairs to the private basement area. As stated in the beginning, people have various preferences and abide by different cultural standards. For better or for worse, in Western culture, there is an implicit pressure to keep the grass cut. Because of this, people in a relationship feel like they are obligated to do some lawn care in order for their boyfriend or girlfriend to fully love them. However, this pressure is often self-induced. If you find a partner that truly loves you then he or she will love every little bit of you. They will love the way you scrunch your face when your nose itches, and they will love your burning bush wholeheartedly.

Contrary to popular belief, personal hygiene cannot add to or detract a significant amount from a person’s likability. More noticeable and valuable than a person’s facial or pubic hair is their self-confidence. After all, the grass does not have to be cut in order for it to be green.

Amanda says… Beginning at an early age we have all been told to bathe and brush our teeth regularly. If any of you had a parent like mine, I’m sure they still constantly asked if you remembered to put on deodorant throughout the years, whether it was seriously or just for embarrassment. However, now that we are in college we no longer have someone to nag us to practice good hygiene. When it comes to relationships especially, most people want a partner whose smell reminds them of shopping in Hollister or a summer breeze, not the half eaten bowl of Ramen you left in your mini fridge for two weeks. If you are a person who constantly blurs the lines between what is socially considered good hygiene, or you simply want to know how to improve your habits, I have compiled a list of five hygiene tips.

1. No shave November is a good excuse for that month, but not the rest of the year. Ladies, I know it is a pain to shave your legs because it takes forever and you always miss that one spot. However, when you’re cuddling with your partner most people do not want to get their hands tangled in your leg hair. To both ladies and men, when considering other hairy situations, it is courteous to keep everything trimmed and neat. A full blown jungle down there is not sexy (unless you’re into the whole 70s thing).

2. Spraying perfume or Febreeze on your clothes does not count as doing laundry. You might get away with this the second or third time you wear an outfit, but not washing your clothes for weeks is downright disgusting. Buy a laundry card from the bookstore and actually use it. Your partner will thank you for it later, and so will the people sitting next to you in class.

3. Unless you’re trying out for the part of Wolverine in an upcoming play, trim your nails. Nothing is worse than trying to be cute by tucking someone’s hair behind their ear only to realize you accidentally made a gash across their cheek with your world record talons. It’s okay to have long nails, but it gets to a point where they should be cut, because they collect dirt and other particles that aren’t healthy to carry around.

4. If you find yourself looking in the mirror and asking, “Can I get away with this hair today?” or simply can’t remember the last time you took a shower, it’s time to take a shower. Communal bathrooms can be awkward compared to ones at home, but they are a fact of college life. You should be bathing on a regular basis no matter what excuses you try to tell yourself.

5. If you find yourself smiling at the oncoming traffic and the cars begin to slow down, that should be a signal to brush your teeth more often. Although this may come in handy when making your way across the infamous campus crosswalk, it will not be appreciated by your significant other when you lean in for a smooch. Not only do yellow teeth flat out look bad, but also not brushing your teeth or flossing at least twice a day can lead to bad breath, plaque build up, and even medical problems.

So next time you’re stuck wondering why that person you met at the party last night isn’t calling you back, make sure your hygiene is up to date. Practicing these life-long skills is essential to living a happy life, whether by yourself, or with another person.

Photo courtesy of dir.coolclips.com

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