Ain’t capitalism great?

‘I don’t smell!’ Meet the people who have stopped washing
A growing number of people are eschewing soap and trusting bacteria to do the job instead – and an entire industry has sprung up to accommodate them

Soap dodger’s money smells no worse than anyone else’s. Thus there are capitalists happy to make a buck out of soap dodgers. Anyone able to name any other socioeconomic system that would cater to minority desires in this manner?

13 thoughts on “Ain’t capitalism great?”

  1. At last, the Guardian finds something else they can differentiate themselves from others on, and thus feel smugly superior again. It is their raison d’etre.

    As soon as everyone else stops washing they’ll get the soap out again.

  2. Ooh, this is ‘activist’ bait. Next stop: people must stop washing to [insert modish reason].

  3. I can only imagine Mrs G’s reaction if I climbed into bed of an evening without first taking a shower.

  4. Venezuela’s economic model encourages its citizens to forego soap or even running water. With resource consumption so low, they can proudly claim to be the greenest government ever.

  5. The do smell they just don’t notice it anymore. When I regularly pass the check in line for the Guangzhou-Addis Ababa flight it reeks of BO but none of them realise they stink because they’re used to it. I notice the same when I have this misfortune to have to interact with a Nigerian here; they always stink of BO but have no idea.

    I’ve heard it said that Chinese think us Westerners smell of dairy; they notice it because they don’t really eat dairy but we’re all so used to it we don’t.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset


    Ditto Koreans and garlic. When I worked there I didn’t notice it because I love the stuff and indulged their cuisine whole heartedly. When I came back Mrs BIND and other gym users did, it would take a week or so to get out of my system.

  7. @Dongguan John
    I wonder how much that’s due to genetic difference rather than cleanliness. I lived with a girl from Sierra Leone, for some time. Couldn’t have got more fastidious than her. Actress spent half her life in the shower or changing clothes. When she first moved in I could tell whether she was home by the nose alone, soon as I walked in the door. Not unpleasant. Just different & noticeable. And it wasn’t diet. We were both eating the same.
    I get similar with the current incumbent. Brasilian mulata with a fair bit of Afro amongst everything else.
    Have to ask how much of this could be hard wired in. A preference for people smell like the tribe? Maybe other things. I like the smell of dog. A lot of people do. Particularly children. Shared by Indio crosses from S.America, far as I can tell..Lot of Africans/Middle Easterns firmly don’t. Don’t know about full genetic orientals. American indigenous are out the same gene pool. For some genetic lines the canine partnership goes back to the icecaps melting. Humans may not even have been viable in the northern forests & plains without the dog. How much of that is bred in?
    Horses & smell of?

  8. When I regularly pass the check in line for the Guangzhou-Addis Ababa flight it reeks of BO but none of them realise they stink because they’re used to it.

    If you think that’s bad, try taking the Paris Metro during the rush hour on a nice warm day.

  9. @bis

    I like dog smell too. Our dogs sometimes roll in dirt – they’ve dug a hole under hedge, one loves rolling in wood/bark chips from shredded trees

    I wash hands only when they’re dirty/greasy – eg cooking, gardening, mechanics

  10. I lived in France for five years. The only time I ever caught bad odour was a day in Switzerland. And, yes, I took plenty of public transport.

    There was a time when the French didn’t wash as often as they might. That was many decades ago.

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