Rock Life Realities: Outdoor Showers

Outdoor showers have to be one of the most brilliantly executed marketing ploys of island living. I have no idea how the ruse transpired, but the evil genius behind it has managed to transform the general public’s perception of a bare bones camping concept – cleaning yourself in the great outdoors – into a sought after luxury feature of high-end houses in tropical settings.

I, too, will admit to being fooled by its smoke and mirrors allure in my early island days. I think so many of us find ourselves on a rock, marveling at almost everything that is worlds away from our past lives by comparison. So the mere idea of being able to shower outside all year round – because the temperature is *magically* never too cold – is enchanting, to say the least.

But after living on a rock for so many years now, having had most of my paradise fantasies crushed, I was justifiably wary when I noticed that the house we were considering renting had an outdoor shower only – no indoor option available as a back-up. All I could think when I peered out from the safety of the screened in portion of the bathroom was: mosquitoes. But we were desperately in need of a new place, and the house had an overflow of redeeming qualities, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and roll with it.

- Welcome to my outdoor shower -

– Welcome to my outdoor shower –

Two and a half months in and I’m relieved to report that, for the most part, this whole outdoor shower thing is not as bad as I had feared. There are parts of it that are just as I had anticipated, but it has also been chock full of unexpected surprises. The one definitive I can give (take note all you future island home builders) is that as beautifully constructed as my outdoor shower may be, there is nothing glamorous about it. Perhaps if I was merely here on vacation (and had a housekeeper faithfully wiping lizard poo off my shower walls on a daily basis) I’d revel in the novelty of it for a week or two, but The Everyday, famous for its inescapable slaughter of the nouveau, leaves you with no choice but to exist in the much less sparkly Land of Reality.

Here are my current pros and cons of the Outdoor Shower Lifestyle:

PROS

Gazing skyward and seeing the stars (if you’re showering in the dark) or the puffy clouds and trees (if you’re showering in the daylight), is a bajillion times better than staring up at a boring ass white ceiling. Full moon showers are pure magic.

Early morning shower scene

Early morning shower scene

Depending on the time of day and the length of your shower, you may be able to get a tan, sans tan lines. Consider it your personal nude tanning booth. Sunglasses may be required (though good luck keeping soap splatters off the lenses, friend).

Frogs and lizards on the hunt are fantastic sources of entertainment. All too often, you may catch yourself dwindling away your allotted shower time, rapt in their patient stalking, cheering like a fanatical sport’s fan when they finally manage to snatch a roach.

Being forced to go immediately outdoors first thing in the morning is actually really refreshing and good for the soul.

 

CONS

Even though you are in the shower and already wet, rain is not as innocuous as you might think. Yes, Caribbean rain is warmer than the kind that falls in other regions, but it’s still colder than the temperature of a comfortable shower. And if it happens to be one of those times when you’re not planning on washing your hair, you’re forced to abandon ship mid shower, huddling indoors with one leg shaved and one still covered in cream, and wait out the downpour.

You will go through a shocking amount of soap. The outdoor elements manage to disintegrate your bar faster than you can make suds, so prepare to buy in bulk.

Unidentifiable noises are far creepier when nude.

The wide open bush lurking behind my shower wall...

The wide open bush lurking behind my shower wall…

If your outdoor shower doesn’t have a door or curtain, you can expect to be intruded on at the most inopportune of moments. It never fails that the random times my boyfriend drops by to ask me a question (something insignificant when you have the privacy shield of a curtain), he finds me in awkward positions that are anything but flattering: one arm flung above my head, neck twisted, face focused, shaving my armpit, looking like a monkey. And while it has yet to happen (probably because I do my best to schedule my shower time accordingly), I imagine it’s only a matter of time before I get walked in on by some random maintenance man or friend popping in for an unannounced visit.

No door, no curtain - come on in!

No door, no curtain – come on in!

Island water is precious (read: expensive as shit) and island girls take navy showers. When you’re standing around wet and naked, even in the daylight, any passing breeze feels like a blast of arctic chill. Cue: goosebumps (have fun shaving!).

The things you notice when showering in daylight will make you cringe thinking of all of the other showers you take in the dark. While you may have a light in your shower for the non daylight hours, it’s still the outdoors, and you can’t see everything. Things like the bird poop seeped into your scrubby pouf (you know, the one you rub all over yourself to get “clean”) or the dead termites between your comb’s teeth will haunt you and make you a bit of a paranoid early morning showerer.

Exhibit A: Thrashies pooed on my pouf

Exhibit A: Thrashies pooed on my pouf

Exhibit B: I guess that's why they call it shamPOO

Exhibit B: I guess that’s why they call it shamPOO

Exhibit C: combs - where termites go to die apparently

Exhibit C: combs – where termites go to die apparently

The Bugs. Yeah. You knew this one was coming. Indoor island living is pest-ridden as it is, but heading outside, on the bugs’ turf, is a whole other ball game. Things you can expect to land on your naked body include: flying cockroaches, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, spiders (SPIDERS), grasshoppers/crickets (both green and brown varieties), lizards, frogs, scorpions, and an array of creepy crawlies you do not know the names for. Take it from me – a panicked lizard running up your leg is much less cute and much more alarming when you’re not wearing shorts.

Shaving cream cap and shaving cup holding the bigger spiders of the morning, waiting for David's relocation services

Shaving cream cap and shaving cup holding the bigger spiders of the morning, waiting for David’s relocation services

–   –   –

Where do you stand on the indoor vs outdoor shower situation? If you had the choice, where would you be sudsing up?

In or out?

In or out?

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This entry was posted in Chrissann Nickel's posts, Creepy Crawlies, General, Health & Beauty, Island List-icles, Lessons Learned, Lifestyle, Photo Posts, Price of Paradise, Random Funnies, Reflections by Chrissann Nickel. Bookmark the permalink.
Chrissann Nickel

About Chrissann Nickel

Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the tropics, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps but these days, any activities that require a bra and shoes go under careful, is-this-even-worth-it consideration. If island life has taught her anything at all, it’s that few things are more rewarding than time spent in the pool with a cocktail in hand.

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends her days working from home with her blue-eyed sidekick, Island Dog Diego, writing, editing, and cultivating content in the hopes of bringing some laughter and lightness to her fellow island souls. She recently published her first children’s book, When You’re a Baby Who Lives on a Rock, and is pretty pumped to share it with all of the island mamas out there. Her days off are typically spent boating, hiking, and meeting up with the neighborhood's imperious roadside goats, who she shamelessly bribes into friendship. While normalcy was never listed as one of her special skills, Caribbean life may indeed be responsible for new levels of madness. She attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people.

If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous website, www.chrissannnickel.com, or follow her daily escapades on Instagram @womanonarock.

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28 thoughts on “Rock Life Realities: Outdoor Showers

  1. I have an outside bath tub on my deck and an indoor shower behind a sliding glass door. That way I can enjoy either one according to my mood and the weather at the time. Bathing outside and staring at the Caribbean sea sure makes stress disappear. I don’t mind a few geickos sharing my bubbles.

  2. Being one of those crazy state siders who LOVES the outdoor shower, this made for a wonderful read. Not to mention it provided a giggle as well. Two things I learned for our future time in the islands… Keep cups in the shower to hold over the scary bugs (excellent idea) and invest in one of those baskets the dorm kids carry their shower essentials in (soap, comb, shampoo etc.) I, too, would rather not have poo or bugs in my personal cleaning products. 🙂

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  4. “The Everyday, famous for its inescapable slaughter of the nouveau, leaves you with no choice but to exist in the much less sparkly Land of Reality.” As mentioned above, I think this quote is genius! Great article! We have a partially enclosed but covered outdoor shower on our veranda. No warm water so I skip that and shower indoors! We use the outdoor shower as a bug or sunscreen spray booth! LOL!

    • Thanks so much, Ellen – I appreciate the note! That sounds like the perfect use for your outdoor shower – I can’t even imagine having to shower outside without warm water!

  5. I was just thinking about the pros and cons of outdoor showers late last night while I was showering. I am privileged in that my shower looks over Jost Van Dyke and the skies were clear last night. The view was spectacular, but the lack of hot water didn’t outweigh the good!

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