It could not be more perfect for me. It is at once horrifying, fascinating, vomit-inducing, engrossing, and fucking pure awesome.
There are quotes spattered throughout the book. For example, Marcus Aurelius said at one point during his life from 121 to 180 AD, "What is bathing when you think of it? Oil, sweat, filth, greasy water, everything revolting."
MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. Baths are the grossest thing ever, unless you shower thoroughly first and wash all your naughty bits. And bathing with someone else? Unacceptable.
Also, when delving into the medieval period, the book states, "We don't know how and how often people washed, ... but plausible estimates are 'not thoroughly' and 'seldom.' "
Imagine your whole body looking like this.
So glad you at least get clean for Jesus.The book also talks about how, for most of our recordable history, when people "bathed" at all, it involved rubbing oil on your body and scraping it off with something called a strigil.
When "soap" was invented, it was made from animal fat and ashes. Mmm. Bath & Body Works should come up with a new foaming hand wash called "Antibacterial Donkey Lard."
I am still in the process of reading this gem of a book, and I shall promptly report back with further horrifying details. There is an entire chapter entitled, "But Didn't They Smell?"
That they did, Sonny Jim. That they did.
Also, here's a baby lamb.