My toiletries comprise: toothbrush; toothpaste; one of Sweet and Sours sickly orange bars of soap; disposable razor; and a towel the size of a tea-towel. Cleanliness being next to Godliness (a useful phrase in that you need only recite it once a year or so to discharge all of your parental pastoral care obligations) it should be apparent to all but unsalvable heathens that you’ve either got to pack a sponge, or at least a “special flannel”, before you reach de minimis in the essential travelling kit.
I found myself in dire need the other day. I’d developed one of those conditions whereby you don’t realise that the odour you’re enduring is your own. Not so much in the nether regions per se, more the corners close to them where limbs meet abdomen. Suddenly, I became aware that I’d carried it with me to the bathroom. That smell borne of heat and nylon upholstery, or in my case, carpet. At first, I thought that it was a symptom of too few items of underwear, but on checking I saw that the blow-holes in my last serviceable pair had enlarged to such an extent that they had been rendered more mini-skirt than underpant. It couldn’t have been them and I was forced to conclude that the problem was flesh-based and had settled in.
Now, not so much out of a propensity to make the most of a bad situation, more, a long-served apprenticeship in making hardly anything at all stretch as far as possible, I came to see the opportunity in my privations. “What if?” I thought, “the open-bottomed underpant was to become a duster, or a cloth, like those that Dolly used to keep under her sink?” A face-cloth, even?
Say what you will about the shoddy, disposable, third-world construction, of modern artefacts, but try breaking the remaining seams of an already disintegrated under-cracker in a hurry. More than once, Sweet had to chase me along with an impatient rap on the door, “what is it you do in there?” then, “do you need see doctor man?” No comma. But eventually I breached the most intransigent corner of the breeks by deploying teeth and razor in a sort of shuttle-tandem.
I was laughing as I finally got the ablutions underway. Relieved I suppose at having created the special flannels, happy to have the source of the diseasey smell finally dealt with – the traction provided by the former waist band proving particularly efficacious at removing established filth – my thoughts jumping this way and that, in a happy, positive way, that they hadn’t for weeks. First, recalling all those strange remnants of clothes that Dolly kept for household cleaning, and the way that some of them, in the pocket of a gusset I fancied, were used as packaging for bars of Lemon Zest; then the absurdity of the act itself – man washes groin vigorously, unseen by others. It’s strange isn’t it, that these thorough acts of cleaning don’t take place several times a day? I mean, sex is generally spontaneous, so no one cleans thoroughly before embarking, but who would otherwise plunge into that fetid morass of pathogens? Woman rises from fellating and wants to kiss – “but that thing hasn’t seen a special flannel all day.” Isn’t it wise to take a conditioning rinse a few times per day, just in case?
Sweet runs out of patience and bursts the door open. I greet him fully extended. He looks at it, ‘I’m preparing for sex,’ I say, but he doesn’t seem to think that it’s as funny as I do.
Hold on. Homo Erectus. Does he… eye to eye – you know? Hampton winks, man-boy thinks, mutual thanks? If he insisted, would I be obliged to agree? Added to which, he who comes to iniquity generally comes with dirty hands.
I’ve done it again, I was enjoying a perfectly nice day, then I went too far and spoilt it, as usual. Again, my instinct is to make the most out of the limited facilities at hand, and I hang the unused half of the special flannel over the offending member.
It seems to bring the curtain down on the show and eventually Sweet points to the befouled jogging pants indicating to me to put them before he escorts back to my quarters. I obey, carefully wrapping my bar of soap, now in two thin slivers, in each of the pant-cloths; only disappointed that men aren’t furnished with capacious, functioning, gussets as are women.
Hey, I wonder? Do women keep fragrant bits and bobs down there, so that they can remain open to romance should the mood strike them? Men could do something similar with Brillo-Pads perhaps? When I get home, that’s going straight to the top of dickiewhiteenterprises’ Projects to Change the World.
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