I think it was my daughter who started the latest trend in our household. You could call it a fashion trend, I suppose, except that it’s something you do when you’re naked. No clothes are involved.
She calls it the navy shower.
“The typical American shower uses about 60 gallons of water,” she explained. “Most people just let the water run full force for ten minutes or more.”
A navy shower, on the other hand, conserves energy and water. You turn the water on and take about 30 seconds to get wet. You then turn the water off and leave it off while you soap up and put shampoo in your hair. Then you turn the water back on and take just a minute or so to rinse the soap and shampoo out.
Taking shower in 90 seconds instead of 15 minutes uses only 1/10 of the water. It’s a huge savings. The navy shower began, supposedly, with sailors in the navy who had to ration the clean water they had, but it’s gaining popularity with environmentally-conscious folks everywhere.
And in our household, it’s become a competitive sport.
The first time I came downstairs with wet hair and announced, “Okay, I did it. Thirty seconds, thirty seconds, sixty seconds,” I was feeling quite proud of myself. During the hot weather we’ve been having, I didn’t mind getting a little chilled while I soaped myself up and worked the shampoo into my hair. The only difficult part was trying to turn the faucet back on with soapy hands.
Then Boy in Black looked up and scoffed.
“That’s TWO WHOLE MINUTES,” he said. “That’s a Hollywood shower.”
“What’s with the extra thirty seconds?” my daughter asked.
“Conditioner,” I said. “And I’ve got long hair.”
Shaggy Hair grabbed a handful of his own curls and tossed them over his shoulder. He’s got more hair than I do. In fact, all my kids have long hair. He bragged. “I can do it in ten seconds, twenty seconds.”
Boy in Black tucked a strand of his hair under the pink bandana he wears. “I’ve got the record. Five seconds, nine seconds.” He grinned. “The water never even got warm.”
“That’s ridiculous!” I said. “You can’t even be clean.”
He shrugged and continued typing stuff into his computer. “I’m playing Ultimate again tomorrow, so what does it matter?”
With-a-Why said nothing. His plan was obvious: he’s going for zero, zero. During the school year, I insist that he take showers on a regular basis, but in the summer, he’s content to skip the shower altogether. When I try to talk to him about hygiene, he brushes that aside. “It’s better for the planet.”
I admit that the Navy Shower tradition has certainly eliminated any tie-ups in the bathroom. My boys go fast even during the time they’re soaping up, so Boy in Black will go upstairs for a shower and be back down again in about two minutes flat. Even though all of my kids and extra kids play Ultimate in the evening, and that leads to seven or eight people taking showers in a row, we simply don’t ever run out of hot water.
Yep, the navy shower has worked out fine during these warm summer months. But I’m waiting a whole year before I’m totally sold on the idea. I’m wondering how I’ll feel about it in February when feeling chilled while I soap myself up is not quite as desirable.