Submarine showers

This one is easy in summer, not so much in winter…

Submarine (or military) showers equate getting wet, turning off the water while soaping up and then rinsing off–quickly. My husband does it by habit, but I’ve had to train myself. And on those winter days, when the bathroom remains nice and chilly, it isn’t too pleasant. It does make you wash a heck of a lot faster!

In Basic Training, the showers were so short, we couldn’t always get clean, just thoroughly soaked with water, until we “earned” the privilege to take showers long enough to rinse the soap from our hair. I remember two girls with super thick locks unpinning their wet hair at night only to discover it remained damp when they awoke. They both swore their hair had mildew by week three because it never had a chance to dry! Once we graduated into technical school, and had to rise and shine at 3:00 a.m. to cook breakfast for the masses, I had trouble “hurrying.” I can still hear my friend Laura say as I stumbled around trying to tie my boots, “Pretend like you’re in Basic! Pretend like you’re in Basic!”

When I’m in the shower and it’s cold, it’s Laura’s voice that pops into my head. “Pretend like you’re in Basic!” And it works. I wash quickly in the winter months. And in the summer, I take my time lathering up while the water is off.

In the dark.

And I have no qualms about it…it isn’t really extreme. It’s simply not wasting water. And anyone that’s ever spent any time in a 3rd world country would agree to that.

Thanks for the reminder, Jeremy! (For Jeremy who spent the past year working an internship in India and washing from a single bucket–I think about that every time I get in the shower and it MAKES me turn off that water. You’ll never realize the impact you’ve had on my life.)

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9 responses to “Submarine showers

  1. My husband showers this way but he was never in the military. I’ll have to ask him about it. I’m not so sure I could do it. I get in the shower, do my job, and get back out. He spends much more time in the shower than I do!

  2. We take navy showers too – when the well is running low and we don’t want to go without water. I have to admit the rest of the time I take regular, but short, showers. I don’t like standing around in the unheated upstairs without some warm water running over me. It’s only about 10C upstairs at our house in the winter.

  3. 3:00 AM?? Girl, you are one tough cookie! I think I would have been like Private Benjamin! I hear what you’re saying about the water conservation–I surprised myself by wringing out a wet rag into a flower pot this summer.

  4. Haha. I read this yesterday, and it came to mind this morning when I was taking a shower as hot as I could stand, trying to ease sinus pressure/pain. I must have been in the shower for half an hour. Usually, though, it’s a quick in-and-out deal, and I’m trying to teach my kids not to be wasteful with water. Not quite on your level, though! I applaud you!

  5. i never knew how “expensive” the water bill was in france, but i never forget that my mother always said “shut the water off” then as a mother in the desert regions, i said ” save that water…so a navy shower is a luxury under any circumstance and i use a bath only under health concerns..
    the dish water, laundry water and the bath water go down to the garden as spot watering to essential plants for a bit of added soil nutrition..did i mention, i love water?
    mmm? that long hot shower sure sounds good to my ragweed itchy nose and eyes…

  6. Jody Thompson

    You are always an inspiration. But, I don’t take navy showers… Perhaps I will get creative and try this tactic tomorrow?

  7. You all inspire me. 🙂

  8. Last week, the place I was staying in didn’t have anything that could properly be called hot (or even warmish) water – so I showered submarine style despite my lack of training. It never even occurred to me to do that at home, where the warm water flows. Great idea.

    On a barely related side note, you got me thinking about a Jerry Lewis movie I haven’t seen in years, Way…Way Out. It’s about the first couples on the moon, and lathering strategies played a role in the plot if memory serves. Will have to watch it again – though I suspect that I won’t like it as much as a grown-up.

  9. Jean-Francois–you made me so proud!!!
    I’ve never heard of this movie. Will have to look it up!

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