Most Read


Redditor Who Grew Up Poor Makes Awkward Realization As An Adult That They've Been Showering Wrong This Whole Time

Redditor Who Grew Up Poor Makes Awkward Realization As An Adult That They've Been Showering Wrong This Whole Time
Peter Cade, via Getty Images

Upward mobility is an overwhelmingly positive thing.

When the circumstances allow it, people can actually move out of a low-income life to enjoy new comforts and securities.

But the old ways of life aren't shed overnight.

For one person on Reddit, the old money-saving shortcuts take AWHILE to even notice, let alone change. That goes for even those workarounds encountered literally every single day.

The story, appearing in the subReddit "Today I F'd Up" or TIFU, begins with a simple account of a childhood with less means than others.

"Growing up my family was pretty poor. My mom was a single mom and always did her best to try to make ends meet, but it's tough."
"We lived in a small apartment and didn't have much. We rationed a lot of what we ate or used. This included soap!"

The narrator offers a longer explanation of how soap, or the lack thereof, was used in childhood.

"My mom always bought the cheap '3-in-1' soap bottles that have shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in one. We had to limit how much we used, so she always just washed my hair with it and told me the soap would run down the rest of my body."
"I learned this growing up, and continued it into my teen years when I would shower myself. I only ever washed my hair, and let the soapy water flow down the rest of my body."

But since that time, the narrator has gained some more means and can now afford the good stuff.

That, however, took a few years to come into focus.

"I am now 27 years old with my own place and doing much better (and my mom is too!)."
"But I never really thought about this way of showering since it's literally the one way I've ever known. So even with making more money, I still only washed my hair and let the soapy water run down."

In fact, they have Reddit to thank for the discovery, an existential blow at the time.

"I only realized I've been doing this all wrong when I came across a post that talked about whether or not people wash their feet with soap in the shower."
"Then someone mentioned you wash everything else with soap why wouldn't you wash your feet."

jon stewart mind blown GIFGiphy

"I was so confused and realized I've been a dirty person as long as I've been alive."

The post left Reddit with A LOT to talk about.

Some of the most common responses were assurances that soap is actually not such a no-brainer after all.

These comments pushed for a light use of soap even after the new discovery.

"I have sensitive skin and I know about soap but almost never use it." -- nudeninja101
"Your old method was probably better for your skin health. It's really only in the last century we started showering and soaping up daily." -- DrewF650GS
"If you clean thoroughly with water, you will get the bodily discharges off with no problem, including any oil on the skin, sweat and everything else smelly." -- minesaka

One person, a self-described "master," even dusted off the Latin.

"Actually, you should only be washing your 'stink' areas because soap can cause other issues like keratosis pilaris, or some sort of dermatitis because of the soap drying your skin out."
"I'm a master esthetician, and I've been given this advice from a dermatologist. Soap isn't good for your skin, necessarily, only the parts that really need the cleaning." -- rhianmeghans89

Another comment didn't exactly advocate minimal soap, but definitely selective.

"Please for the love of God wash between your a** cheeks. People don't really get in there enough and it needs to be spoken about." -- pineapplepizzalife

Most other responses centered on the good news that the narrator's life has changed for the better.

Discussions of low-income upbringings abounded.

"Everyone should be poor for some amount of time just to see how dramatically different life is."
"Even if you think you're a very compassionate, open-minded person that's well-versed on a lot of issues... things are a lot different in practice than they are on paper." -- Jorycle
"Congratulations on both of you being in a better place in life."
"Now, go get a pair of exfoliating gloves, lather them up with good soap, and use them all over your body in the shower..and enjoy your new life." -- someonesomewherewarm
"You just didn't know. And your mom was doing the best she could. I'm glad you're both doing better now." -- ProfessorAnusNipples
"Don't be ashamed of where you have been, be amazed at how far you have come and welcome all opportunity to grow. You are awesome!" -- Trustmemeimadoctor

And then there were the few who empathized with the cluelessness, if not the class element.

"I really wish that someone would just sit down and compile a list of all the essential 'adulting' skills that everyone should learn then publish the f*ck out that sh*t for free." -- rork_paaltomo

It's nice to know that in times like these there is someone out there genuinely stoked about showering with soap and water. Even running water is a luxury many in the world don't have.

The book Growing Up Poor: A Literary Anthology is available here.