Time off at home does means shorts, T-shirts and thongs (yeuch) are the order of the day, every day.

Time off at home does means shorts, T-shirts and thongs are the order of the day, every day. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Are you secretly happy that the holidays are over? C'mon, you know you are. The messy hair, stubbly, scratchy chin, was all fun for a while but, really, how long can you keep it up?

After letting it all hang out for a few weeks, ignoring the routines that see me through the workaday week where the deodorant gathers dust in the cupboard and the daily shave's a bad memory, I'm finding that there's nothing better than ignoring the comfortable (albeit aromatic) clothes I've worn for days in a row and pulling on a crisp, well-ironed shirt.

My cousin, idler than I when we were younger, used to claim that he didn't need to wash his hair because, after a while, the natural oils - stripped away by daily shampoo use - kick back in and leave you with naturally beautiful, gleaming tresses. I don't recall how long he managed to keep it up, but whenever I saw him his hair just looked greasy. I just think he couldn't be arsed with washing it.

And though his hair might have looked OK now and then I suspect that it didn't half pong.

I've never tried the no-washing hair line for long enough to see if it works - by all accounts it takes weeks before it does, and I don't think I could go that far.

 But time off at home does means shorts (old), T-shirts (stained) and thongs (yeuch) are the order of the day, every day until - like a bird that knows when its time to head north again - some indefinable instinct kicks in.

Maybe there's a slovenliness disorder spectrum based on how long it takes you to go from enjoying a non-groomed lifestyle to actually craving the swish of the blade and the scent of something other than sweat. A spectrum with the workaday me in orange or yellow, holiday me in blue and students, drop-outs and my cousin (now a teacher) in ultraviolet.

I dust off the razor and the soapdish, abandon ideas of a freer, beardier me and get shaving. Trim the dirty nails I'd been admiring as I pondered a return to a previous career in gardening, rediscover other grooming tasks that didn't suit a summer of sloth. And find I really quite like it. Like the feeling of a smooth chin after a couple of passes with the old Gillette. Take pleasure in shampoo and conditioner and bodywash. Revisit personal epiphanies with regard to nasal hair and eyebrows. Not because others might have been offended, assailed or prickled. Not because I need to go back to work imminently. This is about me. Maybe it takes a few weeks of super-slovenliness to rediscover the well-groomed inner me.

 Do you like to let it all hang out in the holidays? And how long can you last before you revert to your normal grooming habits?

 

Maybe there's a slovenliness disorder spectrum based on how long it takes you to go from enjoying a non-groomed lifestyle to actually craving the swish of the blade and the scent of something other than sweat. A spectrum with the normal me in orange or yellow, holiday me in blue and students, drop-outs and my cousin (now a teacher) in ultraviolet.