Yesterday I had once again a conversation about the alleged habit of Westerners to take a shower in the morning.
I was surprised when, a few years ago, a Chinese friend asked me for the first time the question: “Do Western people really take a shower in the morning?” I had never thought about this before. But apparently, a lot of Chinese/ Taiwanese notice (and disapprove of) this habit.
When you live with a Chinese family (which could for example be your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s family) you might have noticed that they are not very happy with your going to bed without taking a shower or bath first. It seems as though they considered it disgusting, and they wish you had brought your own bed sheets.
First of all, I don’t think every Westerner takes a shower in the morning. I guess it depends on the person and the mood. I, for example, usually take a shower in the morning, but when it’s hot outside, I prefer to take a shower immediately after coming back home in the evening. I have no clear rule, just rely on my feeling. Basically, I think it’s nice to go out and start a day still fresh from a shower. On the web, some Taiwanese have described this as “一種禮貌” (a way to be polite), though I have some doubts if this is the right way of explaining it.
One of the reasons why Asian people might take a shower in the evening is something that quite surprised me. In Europe, I usually change my bed sheets once a week, in the summer even twice a week. So, I had never thought in my whole life that I should take a shower in the evening in order not to make the bed sheets dirty. But apparently, Chinese/Taiwanese tend to keep the same bed sheets for a long time. Even for months (that’s what I’ve observed, but I might be wrong). I wonder if this could be one reason why they avoid going to bed without having taken a shower first. To be honest, I feel very uncomfortable with having the same bed sheet for so long…