Friday, April 16, 2010

Dirt could be good for you

In the morning I often wake up before boyfriend T. Although I don't want to disturb his sleep, once I'm awake I usually can't resist giving him a cuddle for a few minutes :-). After that I'll often get up, and check emails or write blog posts before getting ready for work.

A few days ago, I'm in my study as usual when boyfriend T gets up, but almost immediately he comes into my study looking terrible.

"I don't feel well :-(," he starts, with a croaky voice.

"Awww, what's the matter?" I ask, jumping up to put my arm round him.

"My throat feels very sore, and I've got a slightly runny nose :-(."

"Open your mouth," I say, trying to sound knowledgeable, "let me have a look."

Boyfriend T duly obliges so I peer into his mouth to see if I can see anything. However, the truth is that since I'm not a doctor, I don't really know what to look for! None the less, whenever I feel ill and someone offers to try and diagnose the problem, it always makes me feel a bit better because a problem shared is a problem halved :-).

"When did the symptoms first start?" I ask, continuing my doctor act.

"I didn't feel that good last night," he answers, "but it seems to have gotten much worse overnight :-(."

"Actually," he continues, "I often get this kind of thing at this time of year."

"Well in that case you need antihistamines :-)," I say authoritatively, "it must be an allergy to pollen or something like that!"

Boyfriend T nods, saying that he's got an old supply of antihistamines somewhere, and soon I'm telling him that if he doesn't feel well enough to go to work then the best thing would be to stay at home for the day.

Later, I find myself thinking about my underwear. A few days previously, boyfriend T had insisted that our underwear should be washed separately, because he didn't want underwear that I might have worn for more than one day to be washed with his!

Although boyfriend T's standards of cleanliness are highly impressive, I suddenly recall reading a news article a few years ago which suggested that too much cleanliness isn't necessarily a good thing. Thanks to google, I manage to dig up a version of the story on the BBC news web site:
Dirt could be good for you
Immediately I send the link to boyfriend T, with the suggestion that perhaps it's not good to change one's underwear every day! Although his reply points out that my argument is flawed because we're not children any more, none the less it's a fascinating piece of evidence.

So, I'm now wondering how many of my readers who insisted that underwear must be changed daily suffer from allergies? If anyone has any thoughts on this subject then please let me know :-).


Paul said...

I suffer from hay fever. It's fairly common, but it's too early in the year for it at the moment, especially with the late, cold Spring. Your boyfriend is probably suffering from the common cold. But what is this about not having his knickers washed with yours? If the wash is good enough to keep his undies germ free, it will be good enough for yours too. It seems like posturing to me.

Bill said...

I agree that this washing underwear separately thing is nonsense. Like T I find it pretty disgusting that you [still seem to] think it acceptable to wear underwear for multiple days, but provided you use a decent detergent and the recommended temperature it really shouldn't matter if your underwear is mixed with his, even if psychologically I can understand his feelings.

As for allergies, well I do suffer from eczema - which I put down to the harsh detergents used in the hotel I lived in for a year+ when I first lived in Viet Nam, until the house I had built (for the company) was ready for occupancy.

I do agree though that modern living may be too hygienic for our own good. So I often, quite deliberately, don't wash salad vegetables very thoroughly (if I'm the only one who will be eating them). I don't think a little dirt ever did anyone any harm and may help to keep one's immune system 'on its toes'. On the other hand I am scrupulous about washing hands thoroughly after touching raw meat, specially things like chicken or pork and using separate or thoroughly cleaned utensils to handle the raw meat and any handling that has to be done after cooking. I never buy loose cooked meats from any supermarket in the UK, because I am not happy with the fact that the same staff often handle raw and cooked meats (even if they make a show of washing their hands between handling the other kind - I'm not convinced), or at least work behind the same counters as staff who handle the other kind. In my experience supermarkets in France (and Spain) have completely separate counters and staff for raw and cooked meats; I trust their standards more. Some UK butchers and delicatessens do things correctly, so I do patronise them.

Now, please, do start changing your personal laundry more often ;)

Hedgie said...

I disagree with Paul, above - it's not too early to be suffering from hayfever. My hayfever is starting earlier than usual this year (although May - June are my worst months). It all depends on what plants are in season and how their pollen affects you.

GB I read that article too and it certainly seems to make sense but that doesn't persuade me to change my washing habits! Although I do think T's attitude to washing his underwear with yours is excessive. Where laundry is concerned I am more fastidious about keeping whites, coloureds and blacks completely separate, and perhaps adding a little bleach to the whites. I wouldn't wash kitchen dishcloths or tea-towels with clothing though.

There was a programme on tv on a related issue which was fascinating. A doctor has developed a cure for Crohn's disease, which entails giving the patient a tapeworm. Apparently the worm releases chemicals which calms the gut down! again, they think it's our overly hygienic lifestyle which has resulted in diseases like Crohn's increasing.

al said...


I didn't comment before, but I think it is digusting that you wear your underwear more than one day, no matter how clean a guy you are:-) Having said that I do have sensitive skin. I have breakouts all the time, so I have to wash my cloths in free and clear detergents

I think boyfriend T is just suffering from common cold because of his soar throat!

Yes, I am an Asian who grew up in Hong Kong and am now living in San Francisco. I guess that explains why I change my underwear every day:-)

Take care of boyfriend T

Anonymous said...

Too much swallowing the pork sword?

the happy go lucky one said...

lol at gorq's comment, i do change my underwear (and yes im an asian), im pretty fine, hardly suffer from any allergy problems.

Auntie Septic said...

My dear GB, your postings do appear to suggest that you are indeed a Man of Means... failing to wear fresh knickers each day is NOT social climbing behaviour.

As they said in old public hygiene campaigns, the last one to notice is you...

Big hugs from the (thoroughly cleansed) bosom of your Auntie xx

SubtleKnife said...

GB, you dirty boy!

I guess I'll have to 'fess up to my dirty secret: I don't always change them every day either. It's just laziness.

Adne said...

This is a wonderful example at clutching at straws!

No matter how much you try to throw an intellectual spin on it, you're a bit of a skank in the hygiene dept, aren't you?

Change your kecks every day, love. The last person to notice, as the previous poster says, is you.

Antony said...

I don't really have any allergies and change my underway everyday, lol. Seems to me that your just looking for an excuse lol.

Love every post you write about boyfriend T and you, sounds like you have a very loving relationship and are very happy together.


A xxxx

SJC said...


How do you explain this? I am a tidy person, showers everyday, and more importantly, change my underwear daily.

But why do I find the smell of worn underwear simply intoxicating? However, only slightly older mature GWM applies.

Confused asian looking for answers ...

Ps. Boyfriend T needs attention and you're great. Be a skank, don't change the underwear if you don't want to. Just post it to your fans :-)

Jos said...

GB I meant to write after your last post about not chainging your underpants every day, I was taken by surprise at your lack of awareness. You seem such a good sensitive and caring guy, yet this simple matter or personal hygene seems to have passed you by. I do not understant boy friend T being so fussy, but that is his choice.

He has a common cold by the sound of it.

Please keep writing, I love reading your blog and must be one of you top fans even if I do not write to tell you that often

Anonymous said...

who wears underwear? Nothing better then roaming free...

Auntie Septic said...

I take it Anon above lives in California or somewhere else that's permanently warm - Springtime in Blighty without bloomers can be Baltic...

AS xxx

p.s. I do hope you wash your trousers every day if you're going commando dear...

Mercutio said...

As noted by Adne there's a rather desperate note of clutching at straws to justify your rather strange preference. What I don't really understand is why not change your underwear daily? As long as you're not using harsh detergents it should have little to no effect on their longevity. And it's not like they need careful ironing or anything, so they're not like shirts or other laundry. I'm sure you don't smell but I'm sure you'd only benefit from a clean pair of pants daily. You're as much as admitting that a less clean pair will be less sanitary if you're saying it will toughen immunity.
If you want that then scrub your potatoes rather than peeling them or eat more yoghurt - a pair of underpants with a day's more piss stains isn't going to do it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god.

I would never DREAM of wearing my underwear more than 24 hours.. I have been known to change it when I get home, but I do agree that the overly clean lifestyle is actually unhealthy for us.

I am a white South African who spent many hours outside playing in the dirt and mud as a kid, and very seldom wear a jacket/scarf of any kind. I dont suffer from allergies. Though I invariably get a cold as soon as I work somewhere that doesnt have access to fresh air.

I am definitely sicker now as an adult working/living a sterile encapsulated London life than i was when I lived in Oxford even

Latelygay said...

Hyper-cleanliness is the road to much bigger problems. For example, one of the worst inventions I know, is hand sanitisers. The problem is that it's vital that we experience low grade exposure to the bugs that out there. This is so our immune system can update it's lexicon of known problems. This is not just some childhood necessity but a requirement that must be met throughout our lives.