If you are with a man with outdated expectations of female beauty and cleanliness, be warned – this article is going to shatter everything.
As one half of the population, we are not immune to being smelly, sweaty or messy. In fact many of us can be all of those things. At once.
We are not always the clean mirages of feminine perfection that are shown breezing through Galaxy ads, sleeping in silken bed sheets and sighing delicately over a tiny little slab of chocolate.
In real life most of us would stuff those chocolates into our mouths so fast we may inhale the last piece. We don’t waft through rooms and often our sheets are in need of a good wash. On a bad day they can be stained with everything from mascara tears to period blood.
How do I know all this? I am, dear reader, a woman.
There is a general societal stereotype that women are not dirty. A recent study by Initial Hygiene sums this up. It found that 89 per cent of men believed that all women in the office were fastidiously clean and always washed their hands.
They didn’t. What’s more, while 77 per cent of men said they cleaned the loo seat before sitting on it, only 59 per cent of women did the same. When it came to cleaning the seat afterwards, 52 per cent of men said they regularly would do so while only 42 per cent of women bothered. To conclude, women were dirtier than men.
This research will not surprise women. Though many of our sex are pretty clean, a number of us are clearly not averse to a bit of bacteria. But as the study suggests, it will come as a great shock to the 89 per cent of men out there who genuinely believe that women are hygiene angels.
These men are the ones who believe the tired old myths that ‘women smell of roses’ and don’t have bowels. A male friend of mine recently told me he was shocked when he went to the bathroom after his girlfriend and found the broken flush had meant her droppings were still floating in the bowl.
Part of him had honestly believed that women wouldn’t have ‘as large poos’ as men, nor would they ‘be so smelly’. Seriously.
I hate to break it to him, but women do defecate and break wind. On top of that, they don’t always shower. Earlier this year a study found that four out of five women don’t wash every day, a third said they could go for three days without washing their body and two thirds didn’t bother removing their make up before bed.
Many of these dirty traits were displayed in my single-sex school. No detail was too gross for us to share – from bad thrush to bowel stories (one girl missed the toilet bowl when squatting on an EasyJet flight and her excrement landed on the loo seat. She pushed it back in with tissues.)
Our common room was feral. Food would be snatched up with grabbing unwashed hands; birthday cakes would be eaten through fingers and during exam period, we’d proudly share stories of how many days it had been since we’d last washed our hair (the record was two weeks).
This is the reality that boys don’t like to accept: girls are downright dirty.
As with both sexes, there will always be people who are committed to being squeaky clean and those who aren’t. But what men need to realise is that gender does not come into the equation.
Women won’t naturally love tidying up just because their mothers and grandmothers were forced into the kitchen during the 50s – chances are they’ll feel the same way about it a man does.
Don’t believe me? Try going into any public women’s toilets. The state of the loos will attest to the true range of female hygiene. Good luck.