Typo or am I not getting it?

Is good personal hygiene a recent invention? (Did the days of old really stink?)

600,000 baths out of 700,000 is a good proportion of the people for 1819, is this a typo?

Choice number two, Tola. That’s not number of bathtubs purchased, just the actual bathing itself. Note also the stat refers to the total for the YEAR 1819. Viewed another way, about 85% of Paris had ONE bath each that year, while the rest had none. Makes you wish it was a typo, at least for their sakes. And you wondered why the Parisians have a history of perfume-making…

Bear in mind that those figures, accurate or not, tell you nothing about the actual cleanliness or otherwise of the people of Paris. A trip to the bath house then would have been something equivalent to someone today going for a turkish bath or a sauna – hardly an everyday occurrence.

There are other ways to keep clean, remember. I’m quite sure there are people on this board who haven’t had a bath in years – because they prefer to shower. The majority of people in Paris in 1819 wouldn’t have owned a bath, but it’s perfectly possible to keep scrupulously clean on a day-to-day basis with nothing more than a basin of water and a washcloth, and many people around the world in the present day do exactly that.

That is true, WotNot. Please note your statement “the present day”, however. I was giving some clarification on the factoid part. There may well have been many clean people in Paris at that time, but the article in question disagrees with this being the status quo; partly from lack of facilities or methods, but partly from lack of concern. The gist of the original article, to me makes use of this data to underscore the general “stankness” (scientific def.) of the era. The other poster (as new as me) seemed to be vague on this; my only motvation for the post.

Wow. How do you (meaning me) come across as a real person in these forums? When you think and write the words the tone is perfect. Read it, and you can sound pompous and arrogant. I can easily see how things get misconstrued. If I stay here long enough, and type enough, will enough of who I am and how I write come through to represent me accurately? Or does the medium in general lead to odd misunderstandings over small points? I don’t mean this thread (big as it is). Just a general wondering…

Thread aside, I would like to say that I have come across the Staight Dope on the Internet a few times. I enjoy the (mostly) intelligent discussions that arise from even the most asinine questions. Thanks to all here for letting me know that I am not the last English-speaking human who can actually communicate in English.

It’s a bugger, isn’t it? :smiley: For what it’s worth, I can’t see any problem with your post; it seemed concise, polite, accurate and good humoured. If anyone came over as pompous and arrogant, I’d guess it was me – but that’s because I am. :wink:

I certainly didn’t intend to disagree with you, or even with the column in question really – I’m quite sure that at various times in the past most people would have seemed a bit whiffy to modern American sensibilities. I just came up with an idea that I thought was worth mentioning.

And welcome to the board. I hope you stick around.

Welcome aboard Nanook OTN! :slight_smile:

Someone once released stats on toothbrush purchases and France had the lowest ownership of toothbrushes as well.

Nanook OTN writes:

> Or does the medium in general lead to odd misunderstandings over small
> points?

Yes, and I think that there’s only so much one can do about it. Over the years as I’ve posted to this message board and other online discussions I’ve become increasingly careful in making sure that my points were as relevant to the matter being discussed and as free of controversial statements as possible. Despite that, I still find that I’m occasionally misunderstood.

I was in England in 84’ and there was a public service campaign to get guy to bath more than once a week. Seems that girls were up to 2 - 3 times and they were trying to shame the boys into keeping up.

P.S. Nothing beats body over covered up with perfume and powder for the retch factor.

Michael once a day Posner

I worked in a well known city in central Europe the summer of 1958. There were two secretaries in the office. One went to the plage for a dip every warm day. Any day over 65 deg F qualified. Didn’t really take a bath just a dip in the water and wiped dry, and with a bit of perfume was passable.
OTOH the 2nd one never went near water for a whole body experience as far as I ever knew, but applied perfume with a heavy hand. The only thing worse was a workman I encountered in the work shop. He would puke a dog off the gut wagon.

I recall reading in a book about Vikings that the English ladies preferred the Viking men because they kept clean. The local boys were understandably upset. I wonder if they figured that the act of bathing was somehow treasonous.

Glad to see that 1000+ years later, nothing seems to have changed.

Also, welcome aboard!

Call me cynical, but “Cite?”. I do not recall any such campaign, and I was here then. I cannot believe that the average Brit was bathing only once a week in the 1980s. The only bath-related public ad campaigns I recall from that era were the “share a bath with a friend” ones introduced during the water shortages.