Friday Follies

Blog Post
How Clean Were They?

Mail Call

‘Easy Company’ took umbrage with my comment yesterday to the extent that people didn’t bathe (much) in the Middle Ages. In medieval Japan, they bathed at least once a day. In Scotland in the 1200’s, not so much and clearly not during the winter. (maybe a sponge bath intermittently) The Romans did have sophisticated bath houses but they were largely not used in Britain unless the aristocracy/landed gentry used them.  Some cultures did take steam baths and then jump into the ocean. I expect that cleanliness, particularly during winter was a function of class, location and overall culture. 

From my travels in the Middle East, in many places hygiene hasn’t improved since the days of Mohammed…and dental care may not exist beyond extractions.


It might help the donkeys if they put a ‘collar-of-shame’ on Slow Joe to keep him from biting himself.  Feel his hairy legs if you dare.

The circus continues as Elizabeth Warren announced that she will be the only ‘woman of color’ on the donkey’s debate stage. You can’t make this stuff up.

Their only hope is that President Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term and that is very unlikely to happen.


I’m traveling, trying to earn a few Zlotys to rub together, making the world safe for democracy and all that jazz before the holiday season shuts me down for the remainder of the year.  So forgive the spotty blogging.

Unique Shopping Strategies

There are some holiday/Christmas parties with white elephant gift exchanges (stealing allowed) coming up and I’m trying to find unique, strange and desirable gifts to add to the mix.

What is the most unique and desirable (should be both) gift that you’ve managed to grab at a gift exchange? 

There will also be a party for charity up here in the high country that will include a slave auction. I realize that is politically incorrect in many parts of America, but not here. There are no black people living here to object. It’s sort of a highlight of the year, along with a prime rib dinner. People volunteer their skills at cooking a custom pie, housecleaning, doing woodwork, chopping wood, custom ammo loading, etc., and they are bid on by others in attendance. No, it’s not a “swinger party”, Woodsterman…

18 thoughts on “Friday Follies

  1. How Hygienic and Clean were the Middle Ages?

    Most of what we know about the MA is nothing but Hollywood fantasy.

  2. My maternal grandfather, who participated in both world wars, once commented about the hygiene of the inhabitants of north Africa when he was there. He was not impressed.

  3. I had two great uncles who were in Operation Torch. They weren't impressed either. And near as I can tell, next to nothing has changed between 1942 and now.

  4. A few comments, if I may:

    1. "'collar of shame." Also referred to as the 'cone of shame,' all of our animals have had to endure this at some point in their life. Plugs can endure it, too, what with his lunch bucket at the ready, he's up for it.

    2. 'Woman of color." When it comes to Pocahontas, I've seen more color in a tub of Cool Whip. Yes, slightly modified version of some of my older stuff…

    3. Mouth guard: I'm sending you a gift basket from Aunt Sally, full of her freshly baked Christmas cookies. Accordinlgy, that mouth guard will come in handy, keep you from chipping a tooth…Merry Christmas to you and yours, if you stop blogging between now and then.

  5. I was gonna tell some "gift" stories, but then I decided to not self-incriminate. I knows my Rights.

    No, it's not a "swinger party", Woodsterman…

    Well, maybe not yet… there's still time, LL!

    Good fortune on your zloty-rubbing expedition, and safe returns.

  6. Damn, you can read my mind now. But if it does go there I'll be invited?

    There is one thing missing from your story. What service will you be donating?

    The most unique gift I received at an exchange was a Bowie Knife.

  7. Stay safe "out there among the English…" (don't forget the highly intimidating scuffle-preventer mouth guard)

  8. I can attest to poor hygiene in the Middle East as late as the late 1970's.

    The Technicians, Engineers and Managers I worked with were clean, but WHOO-Boy….most of the others weren't.

    Made my eyes water a few times…..

    The only gift exchanges I've been a part of were at the Christmas Dinners for the various radio clubs I was in. Tools and booze were the most popular, most stolen items.

    Chocolate was the next most popular.

    Be careful out there, LL, and have a very Merry Christmas if you don't post again before Christmas.

  9. Well, bathing in the middle ages, yes and no.

    Early on, when it was warm, 10th, 11th and 12th Centuries, bathing was reasonably regular, and shorter hair was common amongst males. As the world got colder, longer hair, more facial hair on men and fewer baths. Why? Because heating and carrying a metric boatload of hot water was expensive.

    By the 14th century, when the big freeze was in, yeah, personal cleanliness wasn't too great, because it was farking cold (same timeperiod that Greenland finally froze over) and people huddled together in larger bed groups to stay farking warm at night (which, curiously, helped spread… the Plague.)

    When the world warmed again, bathing and personal hygiene was more popular. When world chilled in the 16th and 18th century, bathing was cut down. When it warmed up, like the 15th century and parts of the 19th and 20th, more bathing.

    Bathing is much like clothing. The warmer it is, the more bathing occurs and the lighter the clothes are and more skin is exposed. Colder temps, less whole body bathing, more clothes, skin disappears.

    We see this in people who live in cold climates vs warmer climates. Just people don't acknowledge wading in cool water and splashing around or going to a swimming hole or pool as bathing (though swimming in a properly chlorinated pool will leave you cleaner than just soaping up.)

    So. Well. High Middle Ages (when it was farking cold) bathing not so much. Italian Renaissance, when it warmed up, bathing back on.

    Curiously, the Normans of William the Conqueror's time kept their hair short for cleanliness on the campaign trail. Moderate length hair on top, but really short to shaved on the side. Almost acceptable to your typical US Marine DI. Almost. While the Anglo-Saxons of England at that time kept shoulder-lenght hair and facial fur, because England was, just like today, colder than mainland Europe.

    And even so, Europeans were still cleaner than the cameljockeys and Ottomans.

  10. Well, if there is light blogging, I can guarantee light reading and commenting.
    Ask me how I know.

  11. Do what you gotta. Best White Elephant was an unopened box with a bottle of 'something' inside. Turned out to be 12 year old Glenfiddich! đŸ™‚

  12. I gave a $100 bottle of Pomeral (Burgundy) one time and the people who received it were talking about mixing it with 7 up and ice – not really understanding what the gift was. Lesson learned.

  13. There are tales of Knights Templar, who didn't cut their hair or beards and never bathed… and the Arabs could smell them before they heard their Andalusians thumping down the track. Maybe true. Hunting deer and elk, I have often smelled them before I saw them. (particularly if they had bedded down).

  14. I'm not donating a service. I'm like that. I'll bid on a pie or something and throw money at the problem. I'm not like you, Odie. I'm not good at anything.

  15. I'm late. But Warren? Is she a Black Indian now? I really need to get my ancestry thing done. Maybe I can be a black Indian, too.
    All I know for sure is Polish and English;and my great grandfather wouldn't let his kids speak Polish.

    God bless and keep you safe; and a blessed Christmas to all who will be at WWM.

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