Travelin' Hygiene - Do "Other" People Use Washcloths?

What person gets excited about going to a strange place and showering? I don't. I am plagued with anxiety about it. Why? Washcloths. Yes. I said washcloths. That miniature towel to wash ones parts with. Sometimes it is folded over. Other times it becomes that warped "rag" laid across the faucet. I'm more of a fan of fluffy rolls or bundled stacks. I'm a tad more classy about mines. I also like to conceal them after use. Then I boil mines with bleach and repeat. So when traveling I do wonder how am I going to stay clean? 
The strategies play in my mind. The obstacles glare in my subconscious face. All of this plays out much like figuring out how can I do my hair around people that don't understand my hair. Now I've done my share of stay away camp, outward bound, primitive camping, sleep overs and couch surfing - yet I am still unaware on how to deal with it. I am experienced in communal showering. I've even had timed military showers. I'm not above sink worthy birdbaths. I have had plenty of "Caress Expresses" in my day. I just don't fair well without my tool(s). I expect a washcloth. A pouf. A loofah. A back brush. Something!

Most (not Black) people do not use washcloths. Maybe this is an urban myth or something to keep us separate. However, I've never witnessed a white persons linen closet or bathroom lined with folded, white washcloths. Black people use washcloths. We use them daily to wash everything from our body, faces and all the crevices in-between. We also take a great deal of baths. Now most white people think of a bath as an occassional treat or something to be avoided. I've heard excuses about a bath being a waste of resources or a pool of ones sweat & dirt. Now to each their own about the method of washing but the tool should be universal but they aren't. They just aren't. When searching online for hostels there was always a disclaimer about linens and most offered sheets and towels. Therefore, you would be responsible for bringing items like a backbrush, a pouf, loofah or a washcloth. The dealbreaker is you are then stuck with carrying these dirty tools around and laundering them on your own. In the states, we have the luxury of washcloths being a thing. So some people may opt out of buying them here. However, they don't just cease to exist!? 

In Europe, washcloths are not a thing. They pretty much do not exist. I wondered what does one wash with? Ones hand? The actual bar of soap - like in commercials and movies? Actual body wash liquid rubbed upon thyself like lotion!? I brought brand new washcloths to Europe with me. I knew I couldn't use multiple ones for face and body on a daily basis like I am used to. So the goal was to use one every other day (in between I'd do the movie thing as best as I could) and launder the dirties once a week. If I didn't have access to laundry I could just toss them and replace them. I figured I would go to any old store and get new ones like we do in the states. I ventured to France's answer to Walmart and there were none. Surely, they had towels of different sizes but nothing in comparison to an actual pack of washcloths. I know some frown upon buying huge, generic packs of washcloths because retailers do offer more refined options. There are usually two or four packs of better quality ones or singles in higher end department stores; ones with colors and embroidery even personalization. Now there wasn't any choice.

In France, the smallest "washcloth" I found was a sort of hand towel for the sink or for kitchen use. Then I found something appearing to be a washcloth. Two rolls in a paper package for just under 2 Euros. Once back at the hotel I realized they were fluffy, little mitts with convenient little hooks on them. Now for the price this was phenomenal. So much so I bought more to go back home with. It was like I bought extra two sided hands to better assist me in cleaning my stinky now, very European body. I showed them to my friend and expressed my dilemma. She didn't share the same sentiments. Then we went to Paris where our Air BnB hostess left us two towels, two hand towels and one of these hand mitts. We're we to share the mitt? Was this her sole mitt? Had the mitt been used by others who had stayed in the flat? The mind reeled. I let my friend use the mitt. That was the first and last time in almost sixty days she used a so-called wash cloth or anything for that matter. I digress. No stress, she never smelled. However, I always acknowledged when and if I did and pulled out a washcloth, pouf and travel back scrubber!

I was able to return home with one of my classy mitts - unused and untouched - I gifted it to my mother who was equally fascinated.

More difficult hygiene situations and strategies to handle them to come...

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