As the generation born with Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, we youthens (youth+heathens) have always been taught the power of imagination, the transformative magic of creativity. Of course with a pubescence heralded by the incendiary social criticism of Limp Bizkit and the deeply intricate feminist lyrics of Avril Lavigne, we were also taught –at our most crucial gonad-developing moment–that all our all-important creativity did not necessarily have to used to any sort of productive end.
And thus our generation’s creative talents and our ability to tap into technology are used to absurd ends: retrofitting crap 70’s bicycles into multi-colored “fixies”, paying for “mixology” classes, starting t-shirt websites to cover the “ironically un-ironic ironic feeling of superiority” niche market.
I myself prefer the “smug life experiment” dead end for my energies, much like this guy, who has forgone soap for a year and proclaimed himself to smell even better without the soap, and declaimed soap as a capitalist lie perpetrated by the Man, (whom I took to be Mr. Clean.). The article rightly cites one Richard Nikoley, who “inspired” Mr. Anti-Clean, making him the NoSoapma Gandhi of this burgeoning movement, a stinky Messiah indeed. Our B.O. Buddha lays all arguments in favor of soap to rest (because clearly we only use soap for scent-related purposes and not for its anti-bacterial elements) by saying his wife compliments him more often on smelling good. Case closed. Of course, there is such a thing as “context” and “hints”, as in, any slight improvement in scent of a man in the context of never using soap would be regarded as miraculous by the woman doomed to share the bed (but not the shower) of such an individual. Furthermore, the wife’s effusive compliments could very well be an attempt to hint at how much she would appreciate regularly bathing.
Luckily, the author of this article underscores the power of this undisputable source by jubilantly capitalizing “WIFE,” indicating her surprise and unbridled glee that we no-showering minimalists, too, can interest a woman long enough to trap them to our unwashed bodies in matrimonial bondage.
Of course, the St. John the Apostle of this movement-the wandering evangelist of the no soap is stylishly scent-y movement-is one “Homeless Hipster of Bushwick”, once an elusive figure, our high priest of anti-hygiene is to be found on the J and M trains in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, and has most recently been spotted traveling the J train.
Do not misunderstand me: I do my best not to judge people panhandling for change on the subway-whatever got them there, be it bad luck, bad decisions, or bad health is a sad situation, and I do not envy nor mock them for glee. I may envy the homeless hipster, as part of me is admittedly suspicious that he may be doing this deliberately, and then have chosen a minimalist existence more ascetic, and thus way more smug and awesome, than my own.
My suspicions lie wholly in the fact that he is better dressed than I, complete with designer jeans, fitted cap, and bright shiny shoes. The only thing that’s missing is a fixed gear bicycle and a scarf. I admit, too, here, that I am not un-resentful. Homeless people were the only group of New York that in comparison made me look consistently stylish and well-dressed, and thus I do carry some slight resentment towards the homeless hipster. Not enough to not feel empathetic, but enough to pretend that a)my phone has angry birds, and b)it is really that engrossing.
Speaking of creative asceticism, my own exploits have allowed me to figure out a way to make myself homeless and still pay rent. Indeed, the taking on of a new roommate (who we attracted in the same way we got our apartment, by saying we had a “two bedroom” in “east Williamsburg”, not a partitioned studio in Bushwick) necessitated some rearranging of space.
Leaping at the opportunity to attain a new level of ascetic minimalism and superiority, I eagerly offered to move out of my room. Unless you count the decorating I did with my orange peel-and-dental floss Mick Jagger tribute and my booger wall, the fact that I am without bed and furniture meant that I was under-utilizing the bedroom space I ceded to the new resident of our apartment. And so I moved out into the common space, rolling up my little camp mat every morning. Here is my newly nomadic (better than yours) life: