The Filthy Foreigner Flaw

17 Aug 2007

You may have heard foreigners complaining about sanitation in China once or twice. It happens. What those foreigners don’t know is that behind their backs, the Chinese are also talking about westerners’ dirty habits. Dirty bedroom habits.

Now, before I lead your imagination even further into the gutter, let me elucidate: it’s about showering and sleeping.

photo by Heidi McKay on Flickr

I believe it was in college sometime that I started showering in the morning. I considered myself a hero of hygiene for going to the effort of showering daily, and I did it in the morning to help wake myself up. I started each day clean and bright-eyed. Nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong.

Shortly before we were married, my wife laid down the law. She told me that I walk around all day, working up a good smelly white boy sweat, and it was not cool for me to get into the bed every night without cleansing myself first. The Chinese shower nightly, and that was the way it had to be.

Naturally, I had to object. My system was flawless. True, I may get sweaty during the day, but I’m clean again to face the world every morning. So maybe my sheets get a little grungy… so what? I emerge from my cocoon of filth and go right into the shower every day, no harm done.

Well, obviously, that didn’t fly. My bachelor ways were fine as long as I was single, but in our new married life I was going to be sharing a bed with her every night, and my “cocoon of filth for two” plan was not an option.

You have to choose your battles. I don’t always give in to my wife, and I have the scars to prove it. Honestly, though, the Chinese way makes more sense. Your sheets do stay cleaner longer when you shower before bed every night.

However, if you still think that showering in the morning makes more sense, well… I guess you’re just a filthy foreigner.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Hi John,

    I’m with your wife on this on, regarding full-showers at night. But then in the mornings I usually do a shower from the neck up — but my bathroom setup gives me a way to shampoo (no other way to get rid of the dreaded bedhead) and otherwise splash water all over my head without making a mess.

    On a related note — Everyone knows that you have to pack your own toilet paper for Chinese bathroom. What’s your take on the absence of hand soap? First, am I right that it’s usually not provided? The soap itself can’t be that expensive, and it’s hard to believe that there’s a shortage of labor for doing the replenishment. Must be a matter of priorities…

    By the way, I’m SiliconValleyAndy from CPod. I’m a superfan of your work (and Jenny’s as well, of course), and one of these days I wil make a proper post that says why (and why I am supremely qualified to make such a judgement). Any suggestion where such a post should go?

    Regards,
    Andy

    • Twice A dAY Says: August 8, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I shower in the morning and I shower at Night!!!!
      You build up dead skin and bed head and boggers and eye boggers and other shit at Night so take a shower in the morning to clean off and BTW those that dont shower in the morning you stink I can smell you in the elevators.

      I also shower at Night to wash the crap off from the daytime your weird if your gonna stink up your bed with that shit.

      If I shower in the morning and I go to the gym in the afternoon then I will shower again and guess what mayber shower at night too , thats 3 times you guys stink

      If I shower in the morning and go to the beach later that day Im gonna shower after so I dont have salty ass water on me , oh did that mean I also washed off when I jumped into the ocean thats 3 times and guess what its not nightime yet so when I shower thats 4.
      FUCK YOU and not showing stinking assholes both chinese and americans

      • Irish Spring Says: August 26, 2015 at 10:02 pm

        I dated a couple of first generation Chinese women over the last few years. I noticed that both women didn’t shower daily. Each one stayed with me for week or two at a time when we were together so I had a chance to observe their hygiene. They would clean up in the face bowl, but seemed to shun the shower. Is this unusual or the norm? I shower on average twice per day so this is a bit disconcerting.

  2. yeah I had this too, but I feel that at night you sweat and smell for whatever reason and showering in the morning means that dirty feeling is gone, a great way to start the day, you will also suffer from that bad bed hair thing you see so many chinese have, now you know why, because they all shower at night! I dont know how you will manage John.

  3. One factor here is the climate. Since it’s warmer in Asia, people generally perspire more, hence the need to shower before bedtime. My pre-bedtime shower habits when I’m in California vary according to the seasons. It would be interesting to compare the habits in Northern vs. Southern China. As another datapoint, in South East Asia, people generally shower twice a day.

  4. Sloppyzhou Says: August 17, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Yeah, I made the change as well, and also at the behest of my girlfriend. However, attend a late afternoon meeting with your Chinese co-workers and it becomes apparent that the shower they took at 10pm the previous night has worn off. Even, and sometimes especially, the girls.

    Seriously, (go ahead and ridicule me for being a Nancy-boy) I take two showers a day. A good, old-fashioned scrubbin’ at night, and light a sprtiz in the morning.

    At least if you shower in the morning you stand less a chance of fouling up someone’s personal space in elevators, cabs, etc.

    And there’s the rub.

  5. In America we wash the sheets! Problem solved!

  6. β€œcocoon of filth for two” could really be taken out of context if read just so. ;p

  7. John,

    Your wife took this problem head-on. Mine has taken a more roundabout way of getting me to shower at night instead of the morning. Her line is always “You’ll cool off and be less sticky, so you’ll sleep better.”

    I think they have a great point, but I’ve gone to bed with wet hair and woke up with most of it pointing in the wrong direction far too often for pre-bedtime showering to be something that I look forward to doing.

  8. Instant cure for bedhead: Shave your head. Hair doesn’t point the wrong way when it’s not there anymore. Even if you only go for stubble instead of the full-on skinhead look (my wife insists on me keeping a couple of millimetres of fur), the problem is solved. And it’s a lot more comfortable in the summer heat. And you save a fortune on shampoo.

    And this is another reason why north China in general and Beijing in particular is far superior to Shanghai. I just came back from a week in the in-laws’ village during which I only showered twice, and then only because I was starting to feel really sticky and I noticed my own smell. I don’t think my parents in law showered at all the entire time I was there. And my wife doesn’t bug me about what time I shower. In fact, I think she found it a little odd at first that I shower every day.

    Does Beijing get smelly? Yes, but the smell is more often the stench of vehicle exhaust than sweat, even in mid-summer.

    Sorry, but the southern point of view is just a little teeny bit precious.

  9. Yeah I switched to the nightly shower routine shortly after coming to China. But it really depends on where you live. Some things to consider:

    1 – Most cities in China leave you dirtier at the end of the day than most cities in the US – it’s not nearly as necessary to take a shower back home.
    2 – It depends, as noted by DL above, on the particular weather of a place. In Shenzhen I would shower twice a day almost everyday, 9 months of the year. Here in Shanghai during the winter there are times when I shower a little less than once per day at times, and during the summer will often shower 2x per day. Yes, a little gross, but in the winter it’s really hard to get the courage up to go shower in a house with terrible heating – you get sick very easily when showering if you live in a typical mid-income Chinese apartment and aren’t very careful.

  10. Chaoji Xiongmao Says: August 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    I’m with the nancy boy … I shower morning and night. Morning shower is to satisfy my pre-China days ritual, night-time shower is to satisfy my post-China wife!! πŸ™‚ … Fanzheng, geng ganjing ba! πŸ™‚

  11. It makes sense, sure, except that we girls are not (Britney Spears notwithstanding) so keen on shaving our heads. So are we to be doomed to permanent bedhead and possible late-afternoon greasiness?

  12. Song Wukong Says: August 17, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    The strange thing is: why do Chinese people brush their teeth first thing in the morning (i.e. before having breakfast) ?

  13. with this temperature.. i can say (and im not proud of it) i shower like 3 times a day..

  14. Long long time ago, i could jumped into my bed right after coming back from outside… until i met my Shanghainese girlfriend, who would go mad if i crawled into her bed without taking shower and wearing clean clothes. After 4 years, i had been trained to forbid myself to lie on my bed without clean cloth too.

    John, about the “not always give in” attitude, how could you do that? Is you wife Shanghainese too? Because for me, not to give in would have dire consequences, in which i have to do a lot of coaxing. (Each time is harder than the last time)

    Btw, i do shower twice a day. (Yeap, i’m a South East Asian!)

  15. In Asia, sleeping or having a rest are the only activities you can have in a bed.
    In the West, it’s also used for physical activities.

    Do you shower before sport ?
    Don’t you shower after sport ?

    You now understand why japanese couples between 30 and 45 get only 6 sexual intercourses per year.

  16. The Chinese also aren’t nearly as dirty and scummy as us laowai. Most Chinese people don’t even wear deodorant…the reason why? They don’t need it. I’d have to say on average I notice a fairly equal amount of stank coming from Chinese people (no deodorant) as I do from Westerners (wearing deodorant). In fact, most Chinese people have no idea we have to put stuff in our armpits to prevent us from smelling like ass. They find it quite humorous (rightly so) when they find out.

  17. I di exactly what you did when I was a bachelor too. Now that I’m married I have changed my ways to include both a Chinese and a western (Danish) version, where I upped my level of bathing to be done twice. Morning (western) and evening (Chinese). Now everyone is happy except the environment protection folks, but they don’t hit me or scold me as often as my wife, so the choice is easy.

  18. My wife isn’t as strict with me, but she does take a shower every night. And she doesn’t want me to sit on the bed in clothes or walk around the house in my shoes. But my wife’s Russian/Ukrainian…so… why do two seemingly different cultures share this same bathing habit?

  19. Mark in Dunan Says: August 18, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Count me in with the night-showerers — who can fall asleep with their body all grungy and sweaty?

    This week in Japan has been over 30 degrees C even at night; just plain miserable. I’ve been taking a bath before bed and then a short shower when I wake up.

  20. I think showering at nights are the best, you dont really sweat when u sleep, but it’s disgusting to go to bed when you’re sweaty.

  21. Great read you guys. My girlfriend has just gone back to Wuhan,very clean as well. I’m so sorry guy’s, she stayed with me 7-8 weeks, and iIswear, before she came here to Brighton, I vowed I would shower ever night before I went to bed. I mean she came from a long way away, it’s the English thing to do.”Right”! What a shmuck. What a dirty no good forigner i am, and stay. I’ts in the morning for me pal.

  22. I showered at night because the uni had no hot water in the mornings during the spring, summer, and fall, and in the winter you had to get up at 6:30am to catch the hot water. Except hot water was literally a guy shoveling coal into the boiler, so it took about an hour to get even lukewarm. No problem when you have 3 hours of hot water at night, but a big problem when you only get 1 hour of hot water in the am.

  23. I am astonished at the notion that Chinese people shower every day. What?!?!?! Maybe Beijing and Shanghai people indulge in a daily shower, but those of us living in the rest of China don’t even expect such a thing.

  24. I like to shower when I’m good and ready, which is usually when I remember that I haven’t showered for a couple days, which is usually when my hair develops a special, musky odor.

    Another filthy westerner habit? We wash our underwear with other things, like socks, pants, or, in my case, everything. Evidently our underwear has lots and lots of germs. Did you know that? Therefore we ought to hand wash it separately, otherwise our crotch germs will get all over our feet and legs and torso.

    (I’m not sure if this is just my girlfriend’s own special habit or a China-wide phenomenon.)

  25. I agree with Peter etc, showering twice a day is perfect harmony.

  26. It took you until you were nearly married to figure this out? Heck, I learned this within the second week that I had a Chinese girlfriend.

    Anyhow, here in Taipei in the summer, I’m up to 3 showers a day: once in the morning; a second at night; and a third after, um, nightly exercise.

  27. My girlfriend is super-clean but she’s never insisted I shower before bed. I’ve taken a shower every morning since I was like 13 and it’s mostly to help wake me up. If I’m really sweaty I’ll shower at night just to be courteous to her but she’s never tried to modify my personal hygiene habits, which I think are adequate anyway but in south China everyone gets a little sticky. From the humidity I mean..

  28. LOL:

    Matt Says:
    In America we wash the sheets! Problem solved!

    Everyone here at my bachelor pad showers in the morning. I shower at night because the water pressure is strongest, hot water is at max, and schedule problems in the morning are less. The sheets get washed weekly anyways.

    This showering at night concept is new though. Because how do you explain when many Chinese wear the same clothes three days in a row and how “filthy” clothes on clean bodies are any better?

  29. I’ve managed to convert someone the other way round – we’re living in the West and my girlfriend has become a morning-showerer, though night showers still get a look-in pretty often. When there’s no night shower, she carefully washes her feet – a habit that struck me at first as quaint, but when you think about it’s pretty hard to take a stand in the pro-dirty-feet camp. If I’m in need of a shower at other times she’s not to shy to let me know, probably a common experience among today’s posters.

    Because of my work situation (working from home at early hours) I’ve now moved into a twilight zone where I take a shower in the afternoon or after work. I guess the moral of the story is, whatever works for you.

  30. Hmmm why don’t w just solve the little problem by taking a shower at night and a shower in the morning. Screw environmentalists.

  31. I’m surprised nobody has brought up what some people do in lieu of showering. Maybe it’s just the Chinese folks that I know, but if they happen to skip the shower they don’t go to bed with giving the under-carriage a good cleaning, especially in summer. Ever seen a nondescript bucket or basin in a person’s bathroom? Now you know why.

    It’s not limited to China either; I understand that it is common in Greece where you sweat pretty much the entire day from the heat. Many bathrooms are equipped with fixtures not unlike a bidet for that very purpose.

  32. I think this is an interesting topic – I’ve encountered bed is a clean zone rule with Chinese girls before and agree with it to some extent (dirty clothes, etc.). Of course many, if not most mainlanders still don’t have the luxury of a nightly shower, or even think it’s that important. I suppose the Shanghai girls are different though. I believe that the morning vs night thing is very closely related to what you do for work and of course the climate. White collar workers who sit in a air conditioned office and drive their air conditioned cars home don’t really get all that dirty during the day. On the other hand they believe that looking and smelling presentable are important for success at work, so we really need to shower in the morning. Showering twice a day is nice, but is a waste of water and time.

    On the other hand, anybody who does manual labor or outside work is going to be sweaty and grimy at the end of the day. Add a humid climate and public transportation to the mix and showering at night in China becomes a necessity for someone who wants to feel clean.

    I remember that when I was staying in a village in Guangxi that even though there were no showering facilities, the villagers where very particular about washing your feet before going to bed and were pretty surprised when we didn’t even consider it. It makes sense of course – working in the fields all day means dirty feet. However, at some point it becomes an ingrained routine and people think its important even though they have stopped doing that kind of work, or happen to be clean that day.

    One thing that i think is annoying is this whole Asian people don’t smell thing that gets repeated. Although smell of their sweat is sometimes not as strong – and this really varies by individual – when they don’t shower they start stinking as bad as anybody else. The unholy oder of the Beijing subway during the winter, when people haven’t bathed or washed their clothes for two weeks straight is testament to this.

    And seriously, the whole wearing the same shirt for three days straight has got to stop – I know my coworkers have plenty of shirts and a washing machine – use it please!

  33. It took me a while to see the light on this too. But while I agree with the Chinese way on hygiene front. The dirty foreigner habit is still superior in that 1. a morning shower washes away the bedhead (which is exacerbated by evening showers), and 2. a morning shower is as effective as coffee in waking me up.

  34. Maybe because I’ve never really needed a shower to wake me up, I almost always take showers at night and very rarely in the morning. It does seem a sensible way to do things and I never really thought about the dirty sheets thing.

  35. My wife says my sweat smells D-licious so I don’t need to. Really!

  36. KMM… my family and many of my Chinese friends are the same… no mixin of the undies and regular clothes in the wash. Now I completely understand if the underwear’s stained with brown skidmarks and other things but… it’s just odd. Also, no mixin, ever, of men’s and women’s under clothes in the wash, unless you wanna get someone pregnant. Really!

  37. We’re limited to 4 minute showers here in Brisbane, the council sent out little 4 min egg timers with suction caps for everyone to stick in their showers. We used to shower morning and night in China but now that we’ve had to choose my wife and I both go for morning showers.

    I also don’t get the brushing teeth before breakfast thing. I thought it was only my wife’s family. Is that China wide as well?

  38. Yokie Kuma Says: August 22, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    If you would drink more, this issue goes away !

    Coming home in order to pass eliminates the option of taking a shower (and breaking your neck).

  39. HA! You’ve been married for a few weeks and you’re already giving in to the Chinese Wife Dictatorship (ISO abb: CWD) in aspects that you believe to be rather irrelevant. You will see after a few years. Be her boyfriend, you’re the boss, marry her, it’s 50%-50%, have a child, and you will forget what freedom of speech and freedom of action mean. You’re doomed, just like every other Westerner married to a Chinese girl. HA! Hahahaha… hahaha… ha… err, wait, I walked the wrong path too…

  40. My bedmate is a morning showerer; uses the ‘wake up’ excuse. I prefer the evening shower. It allows me to go to bed refreshed — & the sheets stay cleaner longer.

    If you need to wake up in the AM, splash cold water into your face — & onto your head. That will wake you up & then you can comb your wet bed-head hair into proper alignment.

  41. HAHAHA. LMAO!!
    Why not just SHOWER IN AT NIGHT, AND THE MORNING?!

    Sometimes, I shower when I come home from work, because I want to feel I left all that baggages behind, but I almost always shower at night before sleep. It just makes sleeping far more pleasant than feeling itchy all night. If you believe morning shower, then shower in morning too! I shower twice a day, just like I brush my teeth 3 times a day. It is no biggy. πŸ˜€

  42. @Ultra,

    I prefer to shower once per day. Saves water and saves time.

  43. jun,

    Heh, thanks for the warning. I’ll try to hold off on having children until I grow tired of my 50% freedom.

  44. This is exactly what I experienced after my wife and I got married last year. How could my mother and father be so wrong and so different… for such a long time. Of course we wash the sheets…but still. I do waste a lot of water though since I’m used to the morning shower. So I’m one of the cleanest foreigners in Shanghai. HA HA… check out my website JOHN. You think just showering is a cultural adjustment, my website is our experience becoming pregnant and being pregnant and our hospital visits and everything. Have you guys talked about a child soon?? check out the website.

  45. lachinoise Says: August 29, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    let a Chinese enlighten you –

    1. about the shower:
      going to bed without shower is gross – don’t you sleep more comfortably on clean sheet?? besides, showering at night also washes away fatigue. besides, girls really should shower at night to wash away their makeup otherwise v bad for skin. Asian ppl typically sweat less than laowai, therefore generally not really stinking after a night’s sleep (so morning shower isn’t that necessary, generally speaking). so if you can only take one shower a day, night shower is healthier.

    2. about the tooth-brushing:
      you don’t want to eat breakfast with filthy teeth/mouth, right? to think you gulp down a night’s filth with the breakfast? yeww. again, not healthy.

    3. about the laundry:
      to seperate the laundry is becoz they might contaminate each other. not just the undie germs contaminating shirts/socks, it’s more that the socks might contaminate the undies! duh. obviously a contaminated undie is going to cause you big trouble (more than contaminated socks!)! and it’s a known fact that the washing machine is actually much dirtier than it looks (that’s why I also wash my washing machine using special powder)! that’s why you should handwash your undies. it’s advice from doctors, seriously.

    4. and…
      what’s the deal with laowai eat/prepare food without a, say, container? e.g. you can put a bare bread just on any table and eat it there…you have any idea how dirty that table might be?

    and lick your fingers after eating? yeww…you know how many germs are likely to live on any given finger?

    …..etc.

  46. lachinoise Says: August 29, 2007 at 2:09 pm
    1. oh and about the feet washing thing, together with the bidet thing, it’s the ancient habit from those days when ppl can’t afford a daily shower. besides, chinese medicine thinks feet washing (usually in very hot water, esp. in winter) is very good for the overall body circulation.

    2. about wearting same shirt for days? again, the logic is that chinese ppl sweat less than laowai (therefore shirts cleaner). besides, less wash will make the fabric last longer time πŸ˜›

    I always suspect that the western tradition of changing shirts daily really came from just to let your co-workers know that you slept at home last night instead of at some stranger’s place πŸ˜€

  47. Hey John, why don’t you agree with your wife and also keep your habit by showering twice, morning and night?It doesn’t take that much time. I also had the same discussion about this with my European friends.. well I guess it’s cos in the Europe generally it’s cooler and cleaner.. so people don’t get that much sweat or dirty.. but in China, it’s …hotter and perhaps not clean enough, it’s reasonable to clean yourself when you’re back home from a hard-working day. And.. I found lachinoise’s Chinese habit analysis reasonable too… haha. Perhaps cos I have Chinese bones.

  48. Wow, I can’t believe how many responses there were to this post. Seems that people really have strong opinions about this. I might as well throw mine out there too:

    • Some Chinese just don’t stink much, but some stink as much as Westerners. I guess there’s a gene for that and some people get lucky.

    • Showering at night makes the most sense to me. But in the morning you should just throw some cold water on your head, it’ll wake you up and flatten the bed head.

    • How do you deal with fluctuating heating conditions throughout the day? Easy, just take a cold shower every time! You’ll get used to it over time, and it’ll save you tons on your heating bill. BTW, once you get used to it, it won’t make you sick, and you won’t feel as cold in the winter.

  49. ShanghaiSands Says: September 6, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Some really interesting comments. Seems we all have an opinion, including me.

    A woman really doesn’t want to get into bed and cuddle up to, or …..hmmm, exercise, with a dirty, smelly, sweaty man, well, at least that’s my opinion. I can understand not washing jackets or jeans for a couple of days, but t-shirts, undies and socks must definitely be washed daily. And for those who don’t want to spread their germs, buy a bottle of Dettol or Walch, works wonders and makes your clothes smell good too.

    My Chinese husband and I brush our teeth at night, and then again after waking up. Its not at all strange to me, growing up, my family has always brushed their teeth before breakfast! Makes you feel fresher and actually the food tastes better (maybe its just me?!)

    On the bathing/showering topic, well, each to his/her own. I like to shower twice a day. At night, because going to bed clean and the feeling of clean (regularly washed) sheets is good, and in the morning, to start the day off feeling rejuvenated (sounds like an advert for body wash, hahaa). But yes, we are rapidly running out of fresh water sources, and from an environmental point of view, don’t waste water.

    Oh, and most people are smelly if they don’t have good hygiene or wash regularly, its a sweat gland thing. And, some like me, have a hightened sense of smell, and are sensitive to the bad odours around them. The hot and humid climate obviously does not help body odour. I’ve often wondered if its because we, as foreigners, eat more dairy products and usually follow a different diet that makes us smelly? any ideas on this one?

    Most foreigners have a different take on the whole hygiene issue, like washing your hands before you eat, so you can lick your fingers after a meal (and I’ve seen plenty of locals doing that at KFC by the way), and use soap and disinfectants to wash things, which isn’t commonly done here. I carry a bottle of soap around with me, because most public toilets do not have that luxury, and it gives me a false sense of security knowing that I’ve been able to wash my hands after touching a germ hot-spot.

    Washing your feet, even if you don’t want to have a shower before getting into bed, is a necessity if you’ve been out and about and worn sandals. Have you ever looked down at the pavement or under your shoes to see what you’ve stepped on? I quite understand why Chinese people do not wear their shoes in the house, neither do I.

    • Giving an Indian take on wearing vs not wearing shoes inside the house. I’m from Delhi in northern India which is very hot (40+ degC) in summer and very cold (5-10 degC) in winter so we wear slippers indoors, frequently even the outdoors shoes.

      Coastal Bombay in western India is wet and muddy during the long monsoon (rainy season), so people there leave their shoes at the door and always stay barefoot inside.

      Calcutta in eastern India is near the coast, and is also wet and muddy during the monsoon, so people leave their outdoor shoes and slippers at the door. However, most people wear home slippers that are NEVER worn outdoors.

  50. Yes, this is so very true and I thought I was the only one !!!

    I, too, take a shower in the morning to wake up, be refreshed for the new day, and to clean my naturally oily hair. When at home here in California, I rarely take a second shower at night, unless I have some other event to go to and/or I had activities during the day that caused me to sweat a lot.

    However, when I visit Lao Po in Guangzhou, it is a different story !! I still take my morning shower, but when it is time to go to bed I must take another shower, or I will immediately hear about it, from my lovely wife. This is the only time I have ever been scolded in our two year relationship. Moreover, she has a real thing about me washing my hands, multiple times, during the day and before I lay them upon her. LOL

    Ahhhhh, but all I get in return from this absolutely incredible woman, more than makes up for having to endure that second shower !!

    BTW, I am off to GZ again, tomorrow, for her birthday, the Mid-Autumn Festival, my fix of Cantonese cuisine, and two showers a day πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  51. Washing the sheets isn’t the answer, I guess for Chinese to take a shower before going to bed is like having to clean yourself after going to the bathroom, regardless of the fact that you do change your underpants everday.

  52. […] a look at The Filthy Foreigner Flaw over at Sinosplice for a beautiful explanation of this […]

  53. Fortunately, I prefer showers at night before I go to bed, and then I brush my hair right before I mess it up again when my head hits the pillow, and then repeat the hairbrushing in the morning. I like being cleaner when I go to bed, so if I do marry a Chinese man, then I guess he can’t complain about that.

  54. Any man worth his salt will shower before going to bed. I mean who
    wants to sleep with a guy who goes to bed filthy.

    If you must, of course, you may take a shower in the morning too. After a loving night in bed, why not?

  55. Shower night and day is the way to go. Especially if you are sharing your bed with your love.

    I have a flat in Chongqing, the manger rang my bell the other day to tell me an interesting stat. I USE MORE WATER THAN ANYONE IN THE BUILDING. I didn’t realize my water use was being monitered.

    Now I have quickie in the morn, and more so at night before sharing my bed with laopo.

  56. I came to your interesting article via another blog that was discussing “Icons For Understanding Eastern and Western Cultures” by Liu Young. Worth a Google if you haven’t seen it.

    I spent many years in Thailand and my wife it Thai. Thais bath 3 times a day…and consider those who don’t to be “filthy” whether they’re foreign or not.

    They bath in the morning, upon arriving home from work before dinner, AND before bed. It made sense, especially in that sweltering climate and especially before air conditioning.

    Having been back in the states for 13 years I (and my Thai wife!) have reverted to filth…we only shower twice a day…morning and before bed.

    And doesn’t it go without saying that showers always follow “energetic activities” in addition to the times described above? (-:

  57. Personally, I don’t usually bathe at night especially if I’m too tired. But when I do, sleeping is a bliss. Coming from a South East Asian country, it’s highly recommended to bathe twice a day. I don’t share a bed with anyone so I don’t bother with night showers. In the mornings, it’s a great way to feel fresh and awake after bath. Moreover, you meet with many people throughout the day until you get home so it means you have to pay attention to your smell. Filipinos and Thais use deodorants on a daily basis because of the hot climate because just showering isn’t enough to last the whole day.

    My friend once noted that most fair skinned Asians (like most Chinese and Japanese) deceive us from looking clean but actually smell as opposed to us who look dirty but smell nice.

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