How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Are you thinking in terms of minutes? Or is it easier to quantify in terms of how many episodes of a hit HBO drama someone could watch in the meantime? Do people make plans around you getting ready? This is a question that has been close to my heart ever since it came to light via party small talk that I take a longer time to get ready in the morning than my wife does. Significantly longer. How did I not know this prior, you might ask. Because I’m not a petty man, and I don’t keep track of things like these. Or put less kindly, I’m not the most observant person.

If you want to put labels on it, my wife takes 10 minutes to get ready, and I take 40. Math people will tell you that I take four times as long as my wife to get ready in the morning. But what they’re not accounting for is a difference in purpose in the getting ready process. My wife uses the act of getting ready in the morning to get ready in the morning; I use it to bask in mental and emotional solitude and rejuvenation. While getting ready, I ponder deep issues in life, like–is my cousin who just became a lawyer complicit in making America an overly litigious society? And, how come nobody uses the word “stooge” as an insult anymore? I also identified four specific (and incredibly essential) activities that may account for an extended time of morning ablution.

1. Using separate shampoo and conditioner. 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners are the enemy of humankind. Under their care, it’s completely impossible to discern when your hair is being cleaned of impurity and when it’s natural oils are being replenished, which is maddening because these two activities are polar opposites. As such, your hair will leave a 2-in-1 shower session feeling confused and frightened. Separate shampoo and conditioner (along with lines for crowded activities) are the only things that separate humankind from the animals.

2. Using beard wash and beard oil. Nurture your beard, and it will nurture you. A beard that isn’t washed with a generous helping of jojoba oil in the shower and conditioned afterward with a mild styling agent is a dangerous place. Dry, scratchy, and crusty hair abounds and provides a fertile breeding ground for just the sort of chaos that led to the Bolshevik Revolution and to a lesser extent the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2008.

3. Singing a personally arranged Vegas-Lounge-Act-Style rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Nothing more need be said.

4.  Brushing teeth for the entirety of the dentist-recommended two-minute time period. You only get one set of teeth in life, so you better take care of them. I’ve even gone a step further and divided my mouth into twelve sections on which I spend ten seconds each, thus ensuring that every part of my mouth is equally clean. Results speak for themselves; I have only four cavities.

After talking with a number of people, I think I’ve discovered another reason why I may take longer on my morning routine. The majority of people whom I’ve asked have admitted publicly that if they need to pee before getting into the shower, they do not wash their hands in between the discharging of waste and the entering into the shower. This, frankly, is heinous. They’ve assured me that “you’re going to clean your hands anyway” but your hands are what you’re going to use as the primary implement of cleaning in the shower, and you’ve just implicated them in the crime of peeing! If people washed their hands in between, like I do, to make sure they enter the shower with a clean slate, a clean slate, I think we’d see a bit more parity in morning prep times.

And really, we’re missing the point here anyway. When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, nobody asks it what in the world took it so long and can the rest of us please use the chrysalis now that you’re finally finished? And that’s all I’m doing each morning–retreating into the chrysalis of the bathroom as a foul-breathed unkempt caterpillar only to emerge as a glorious butterfly with a supple beard, warmed vocal cords, and only four cavities. You’re welcome.


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