Thursday, 27 October 2011

An Idle Wondering...

So, last night, I ended up watching Cowboys and Aliens.  Great movie, by the way, and with some funny moments by Harrison Ford.  But, I'm straying away from my idle wondering.

Hygiene... Yep, I said it right.

I've always idly wondered about personal hygiene, in the real world, in those way-back-when days.  If movies and books are authentically portraying those time-periods (and what is written in history), then it's pretty safe to say that personal hygiene in those days were either few and far between, or non-existent.  Judging from the sweat stains, general dirt and filth, and uhhh, those hideously decaying teeth, then humanity in those days must've stunk to high heaven and caused corrosion to your lungs.  But then, people were made of hardy stuff back then, and their survival from that stench is confirmation of that.

Of course, from history tales, we know that perfume was invented, and later the combination of soap with water became a popular choice to smell better and keep all body parts refreshed and not just for your honeymoon.  But still, when you think that way back when, something like travelling used to take you eons to get from point A to B, with limited stops and bathroom breaks -- and the invention of wet wipes and Purell liquid sanitizers was still light years away -- we can only surmise that, in general, people stank.

This brings me to my next idle thought.  The future.  Now, I love writing SF and stuff that happens way into the beyond.  A lot of stuff I see in fiction are combined with great adventures, where people travel all over the universe in spaceships and wormholes and whatnots.  Of course, people are a lot cleaner looking in the future, with amazing backdrops of super-sophisticated buildings and vessels and wow-gadgets and stuff.  But, aside from shower tubes and drying tubes, no one ever touches on their personal hygiene issues.  Okay, that sounds kinda gross, and probably no one really wants to know and it would make a really gross (and fairly dull) moment to go into detail about.  But don't you just wonder, when the super-cool hero grabs the equally super-cool heroine and gives her that first kiss after battling and killing aliens and spaceships for the better part of a week, and no toothbrush in sight...  Er, well, me personally, I'd tell him to hold that thought...

I know, right, I just sucked the "romance" right out of the moment.  But brushing one's teeth.  How would you do that in the future?  Would we still have need of toothbrushes or waterbrushes?  I'd really like to know.  And toilet paper.  And deoderant...a stick, spray, or do we take a pill to eliminate b.o.?

And like in Demolition Man with Stallone, where he wakes up in the future and discovers that bathroom hygiene has changed, my curious mind would really like to know what the hell those seashells are for.

In one of my books, I was really tempted to add little bits of personal hygiene aspects into it.  Like the same toothbrush and toothpaste scenario.  My character would use a small gel capsule, bite down, and poof!  Froth and refreshing mint-flavour cleaning foam would fill your mouth and get into the nitty-gritty areas and get rid of all plaque and bad breath germs.  (I sound like a commercial)  But I never included that into the story, because who really wants to know about someone's personal hygiene routine?  And I'm sure Aquafresh already has a toothpaste that does just that. much for being creative and original.  Well, the gel tablet was original.

Oh well, I guess it's just my curious mind wandering into areas that are usually gleaned over.  Since I like to write convincing characters, it's only fair to create a complete picture, personal hygiene-issues and all.



  1. LOL, good post! I so agree, T. As a matter of fact, I think about the same thing sometimes. I love the gel idea. It is unique. And maybe you should write that in a book. It won't sound like a commercial.

    It has been addressed in a few SF shows. Reminds me of an episode of Enterprise where the crew is answering school kids question about living on a spaceship. Trip, the engineer gets to answer the 'poop' question.
    On the ancient ship Destiny (SGU) they do talk about hygiene in an episode. They soon find the steam showers and other ways to be 'clean'

    I think it certainly can and should be addressed in SF/R books. It can be explored tastefully. I can't imagine not wanting to know how hygiene works in a future culture, or on a space ship!

  2. Haha! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering...after all, these ARE pertinent thoughts and questions, right? I've never really seen SGU, but I really should get into it.

  3. Now I'm going to be thinking about olden times and personal hygiene all day! I think you should put it in the book! Sounds interesting.