Hot or cold? Yes or no? In or out? Up or down? No, this isn’t a play on Katy Perry’s hit pop single, but it most definitely does involve the argument of hot versus cold, specifically in the context of showers. Yes, the menial, clockwork task of cleansing one’s body. Go ahead, read on to amuse yourselves as we, the writers of Echo Media, attempt to sell you the idea of washing yourself in hot or cold water as if you would change the kind of temperature your body is suited for at the drop of a hat. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but you should still read on anyway, because why not?
Dearest Reader, let me ask you to take a deep breath.
Breathe in through your mouth and inflate your cheeks. I will count to ten and you will release the biggest breath you’ve ever held.
Release. Considering however long you have counted in your head (given that you actually indulged me and followed along with this breathing exercise), you would have released quite a breath and ideally the less noticeable tension in your shoulders, that knot in your neck, lower back, and maybe even the stomach full of knots you had been harbouring the whole day, week or month.
Point is, you are stressed. Okay, maybe in an ideal world with flying cars and equal rights, you WERE stressed because you would have miraculously exhaled about a kilogram of your woes and that large serving of McDonald’s fries you had to eat said woes away. But it’s 2022, so there’s always something new to worry about every 13 seconds. The thing about stress is that it’s very hard to actually solve but very easy to forget with the right kind of steps. Now you may be thinking, what on earth does this have to do with hot showers? Well, the easiest, reasonably cheapest, most straightforward thing to do, after a stressful day of hearing from world-class lecturers talk about how important calculus is in your life even though you fully depend on your early Kumon training and trusty calculator app to budget your weekly Starbucks orders, is to take a nice hot shower.
Depressed, but can’t afford therapy? Take a hot shower. Better still, SIT in the hot shower. Let the steam make your eyes water and clear your airways with the humid air. Some people say that the pressure of warm droplets on your skin mimics the feeling of an embrace, sort of the way a weighted blanket would feel, only this time it would feel a lot more warmer and pleasant. If it’s to fully enjoy the feeling of a toasty hug felt under the hot blast of a shower, I can definitely attest to taking a couple of minutes longer on those really bad days. Like I said, the perfect way to escape any negative emotion. At least just to forget about it for the time being. Can you do that with cold showers? NO. In fact, cold showers do the exact opposite of providing a temporary band-aid to your daily unease. Imagine taking an ice cold shower on a particularly tiring day and forcing your entire body to convulse in shock, making it tenser than it already is. Imagine this: Your hair standing on every end, contorted limbs trying to hastily rub body wash on yourself in an attempt to rush out of the shower as quickly as you have jumped in. Doesn’t sound very comforting, does it? If your goal was to numb yourself to the pain of everyday life, then having an icy downpour would probably do the trick.
Okay, fine. Maybe you’re thinking: “Hannah, how long have you been holed up in your room to not realise the scorching temperatures right outside your door?” In my experience, I’d say generally about 5 months, but that’s beside the point. The solution I’d pose to that sticky, slick feeling you get from daily heatwaves is simple. Boil the feeling away. Sounds crazy I know, but I have a “fight fire with fire” kind of ideology that actually works. Just think. When you take a hot shower, you succumb yourself to an even hotter experience than you already face in daily life, so when you step out of the bathroom, you are a changed person feeling fresher AND cooler than ever. Temporary discomfort for sturdier armour towards Malaysia’s humidity.
If after reading all of that, you still decide to put yourself through a freezing torture method for fun, then I really don’t know what to say. Like, I am actually at a loss for words. To each their own, I suppose.
– Hannah, who really enjoys basically cooking herself in the shower if you couldn’t already tell
Before I even begin to describe the utter bliss that is a cold shower, let me pull you into the fantasy.
It’s sometime between 5 and 11 in the evening. You’ve just arrived home after a long day at university located in Sunway City. And what a beautiful city it is, right?
And that’s when you remember. Sunway City, or rather Malaysia as a whole, has a 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) climate all year round. Now, our 10000 readers or so from the Northern Hemisphere might be wondering why us Southeast Asians fuss about the heat when they easily get 45 degree Celsius heat waves during the summer seasons.
See, that’s the thing. Seasons.
We don’t get them.
Northern Hemisphere people get to chill and/or freeze in the winter months. We have 33 degrees Celsius for our afternoons. Every day. Every month. And what does that do to a person like me? It makes me sweat. Poor sweaty Haikal now has to navigate a 9 hour school day without having people realise he’s sweating up a storm. I know I’m not the only person who’s like this.
As of now, it’s unlikely that an effective sustainable outdoor HVAC solution will be found anytime soon. Even if a solution was found, the level of energy consumption would be through the roof and of great concern. That means, unfortunately, I’ll still be heating up and sweating all over for years to come.
Let’s finally get back to my main point. You get back, tired from having to face the heat that floating glowing orb in the sky pumps out. You enter your room, mind empty and dead inside like the typical university student you are.
That’s when you decide to take a shower.
Taking off all your clothes (something I will not describe to you readers in any amount of detail), and stepping into the shower, you’re faced with a decision. Your naked body faces the temperature valve (that handle that controls the temperature). Turn it to the right, you get cold. To the left, it’s hot. Now, does Hannah make good points in her argument for hot showers? I don’t know. I actually literally don’t know; we’re writing our arguments separately. But let’s be real, people. Are you really going to endure a whole day of heat, and after all that, step into a confined area that’s not only hot, but at times even scalding? Like, really? Are you absolutely sure? If it’s not the water that makes you feel the heat, it should be the steam that makes you feel like a lobster being boiled alive.
No, 10 out of 10 times, I’m turning that knob all the way right. The water hits and it freezes you instantly. You feel the sting of the water’s coolness rush through your body. But then you just sit there for 5 seconds. 10 seconds. 15 seconds. And suddenly, the sting is gone. Your body gets the chance to cool itself down. Your body gives the cold a chance to ingrain itself into you. By the 30 second mark, you feel refreshed. Suddenly the cold water isn’t so scary. Ironically, the coldest option brings you the most warmth. After a 15 minute shower, you step out feeling clear. Your mind is still empty of course, but now you feel elated instead of stress.
There’s only one other thing equivalent to the cold shower experience, and it’s the theme to Snowpoint City from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. The first 10 seconds of its theme sounds straight from a horror movie, but once you let it play, its inner warmth creeps out (on an unrelated note, I wrote Echo-pella this month with Erika. Give the article a read for more music reviews if you’re interested).
So the next time you take a shower, turn that handle all the way right. Remember folks, you can’t go wrong with right.
– Haikal, who tried to make this way more funny than what was required
After reading both sides, which side are you feeling more in line with? Are you Team Hot or Team Cold? Comment below! Yes, I mean it. Our website has a comments section, so blow up our comments section now. See you all next time on another edition of Yay or Nay!
By: Hannah Rahel and Haikal