Here in America, it’s hard to avoid the term “cold shower” as a euphemism for unpleasantness, disappointment, or complete sexual shutdown. Seeing a notice from the super that there’ll be no hot water tomorrow sends tenants into a rage. Indeed, you might be forgiven for thinking only psychopaths took cold showers. But ‘tis the sweltering season to embrace this very acquired taste.
I can remember vividly the first time I let myself love the cold shower: in college, I traveled to a rural spot in Bolivia. All the airline layovers and bus rides over bumpy dirt roads equated to a 36-hour trip. I can’t explain just how greasy I was when we finally arrived at the monastery in a remote village where we were staying. I was so excited to wash that I barely heeded the warning that hot water what not part of the plumbing situation there. I let the cold water shock me awake and pulverize 18 distinct layers of dried sweat, and I’d never felt better.
Now, when summer rolls around, a cold shower (or two) is the order of the day. Three seconds of initial discomfort? A small price to pay for refreshment when you live on the top floor of a building with a black tar roof. And the alternative—stepping out of a steamy shower and instantly beginning to perspire once more—leaves much to be desired. With a little practice, you’ll even start to appreciate your goosebumps. Personally, at this point, I might be ready to move onto ice baths.
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