#905 Using all the different soaps and shampoos in your friend’s shower

Shampoo doesn’t travel well.

First of all, you can barely get it on the plane. Nope, no liquids in your carry-on, so unless you’ve got a little travel bottle or you’re checking in a big suitcase, you can’t really take it. And even if you do check it in, you’ve got the packing problem. I know my terrible method of putting a big bottle of shampoo in a couple plastic bags isn’t the answer. But what is? Travel bottles are more trouble than they’re worth — you have to play sloppy scientist to refill them and they’re small and easy to forget everywhere.

No, shampoo just doesn’t travel well. Like fireworks, katana blades, or colicky babies, it just wasn’t meant to fly. So if you’re like me, you just don’t pack it. You swallow hard, zip that suitcase, and trust that your hair will make it home.

When you hit the road without shampoo a few things could happen:

  1. You might have to slum it, oily style. Just work that comb and pray for no dandruff.
  2. You might have to use one of the little hotel bottles of shampoo or tear into one of their tiny little shampoo samples with your teeth in the shower. If you’re like me, you’ll probably use the lotion in your hair too, thinking it’s conditioner.
  3. Best case scenario: you’re crashing with friends and you get to take a shower in their shower and go wild using all the different shampoos and soaps they’ve got in there.

Now, we all know the last option is clearly the best. However, it only works if you actually are staying with friends and if you shower in their real shower — not their guest shower, not their basement shower, but their actual shower, the one they use every day. That’s where you peel back their crinkly, mildewed curtain and open up a fantasy world full of half-used bizarro-products filling all the corners of the bathtub, piled high in bright pinks and neon greens, just like a candy store.

So go ahead: lock that door, strip right down, and get right in there. Just make sure you follow the unspoken showering in other people’s shower rules:

  1. Bar Ban. The bar of soap is completely off limits, no questions asked. You don’t know where it’s been, they don’t know where you’re putting it, so you just have to stay away. The last thing they want for a thank you gift is nest of your coarse n’ curlies stuck to the Ivory bar.
  2. Watch the clock. Definitely enjoy the moment, but don’t take too long. You don’t know their hot water situation or if they need the bathroom, so get out before you get the place too steamy. And leave the fan on.
  3. Sampling is encouraged. If you’re staying with a couple, chances are good they’ve got a his and hers sections. Try both! What’s this? New scent of AXE body-wash? Squirt! Weird kiwi-grapefruit face wash? Squirt! Forty-dollar a bottle salon conditioner that looks like it came from a science lab? Squirt squirt squirt!
  4. Don’t finish anything. Squirt away, yeah. Just don’t drain the last of anything. You never know. They might have been counting on just one more use of their favorite conditioner, and you don’t want to rob them of that.

So that’s it. That’s the perfect traveling shampoo situation and there’s the rules for living by it.

Now, is it just me, or does using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower make you feel like you’re in some kind of focus group? You can just see the end of it, too: a few folks in white smocks hold clipboards waiting for you outside the bathroom door. It flies open and steam shoots out in all directions. You emerge in a towel, your skin still damp, your feet still wet. And quickly, there are questions: “What did you think of the blue bottle? Did it give you the lather you were looking for? What about the scent?” They keep going, too, writing furiously as you spit out your first impressions. Then they ask the big one: “What was the shower experience like overall?” They wait expectantly, heads bowed, pencils hovering just above the sheet, eyes peering up at you over their glasses.

And you smile and you nod and you know what to tell them.


Photo from: here

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