Which cultures have an inherent reluctance to bathe?

Armenians are well known for this. Armenian men view daily bathing to be effeminate and conceal their body odor with a strong cologne or perfume. I was just discussing this with somebody who once worked in the ER at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and she said that she has observed this in other cultures as well, particularly South Asian Indians, Russians, and some Jewish movements. What are some other examples of cultures in which regular bathing, for whatever reason, is considered undesirable?

Science fiction fandom.

Not every basement has a shower.

Teenage boys
the world of canines
My wife says several old people in her assisted living job have to cajoled into their weekly bathes.

I have no idea how true it may be today but I have read that the Inuit rarely, if ever, bathed prior to the coming of Europeans.

Aw, c’mon—I was hoping for at least a couple of serious answers before we got to the joke posts. :stuck_out_tongue: But I do have to concede that that was a good one. Alright, I’ll throw my hat into the ring withmy all-time favorite scene from any Woody Allen movie.

What, have you not smelled the Funk of a Thousand Cons?

I shower daily and so do all my American male friends. So I don’t know what the OP is on about.

I mean, maybe on a lazy weekend where I haven’t done much more than lay on the couch and read or watch tv all day, I might skip a shower…

He’s claiming it’s Armenians, not Americans, who have poor bathing habits.

Oops. My bad. Apparently this American needs to start reading for comprehension.

A lot of places have limited fresh water available, especially hot water. So is it a cultural thing or a matter of practicality?

Russia has a thriving sauna culture, sounds odd to me that they wouldn’t care to bathe.

It’s that soap in your eyes.


As recently as the 1950s, a daily bath was rare in the Midwestern United States. Weekly would be the norm, but if the winter was cold enough, even less often than that. Heating water for bathing was considered a luxury, that few working class people could afford. Many people who grew up then still bathe much less often than daily.

Since they live in a much milder climate, have traditionally bathed more frequently than midweserners.

Cultural attributes are usually acquired largely by the dictates of the circumstances they find themselves in. I recall an anecdote from a Peace Corps worker in Sahelian Africa, trying to convince the villagers of the benefits of hygiene, and encouraging people to bathe. A woman, who carried a jug of water on her head several miles to her house every day, said “If I caught my kids wasting water that way, I’d beat them within an inch of their lives”.

But in wetter parts of equatorial Africa, I noted that people bathed very often if they lived near suitable water. They spent a lot of time in rivers bathing, if for no other reason than to cool off in the tropical climate. Houses modern enough have running water always had a convenient shower facility, sometimes with the only tap in the house being high enough to serve that purpose.

I come from a South Asian background. The only people I know who don’t bathe at least daily are ones that don’t have access to running water. My relatives take a full bath after defecation.

So far as I know, what South Asians are known for is not shampooing their hair daily or for using underarm deodorant or other odor-suppressing or perspiration-suppressing stuff. I’ve heard people say that it’s bad for your health to suppress perspiration.

W.O.W “gamers”.

Isn’t this usually a sign of advancing dementia?

When I was in that field the excuses I heard were that they were scared to fall or didn’t get dried fast enough so were very cold for a long time after (often not much body fat on the elderly); I think the lack of privacy if they needed help bathing or getting dressed was also a big factor.