Friday, August 15, 2014

Underground Showers

The average Swedish male is 182cm tall. That’s five feet eleven and a half inches. The average Hairy Swede is 189cm tall. That’s six feet two and a half inches. I am not a giant. However, I’m apparently too tall for my shower. Not the shower head, mind you. The actual room in which the shower is located.

I’m living in a very old building. It’s a nice building. It’s one of those historically marked buildings, which makes changing anything a challenge. It has character is probably the euphemistic way of putting it. But most things seem to work. The apartment itself is nice. Very few complaints. Except my apartment does not have a shower in the actual apartment. It’s in the basement. A very musty, very creepy basement that can only be accessed by stepping outside. Something I am very much looking forward to come January.

I knew all of this in advance. Or at least that the shower was in the basement and that it could only be accessed from outside. The creepiness and mustiness were not entirely unexpected. It’s an old building. What I did not expect was the height of the ceiling in the showers. Of which there are two for the ten apartments in the building. I’ve had a private shower in every place I’ve paid rent since my first year of college. Even then, it was just a short walk down good old Sweetser Hall. It’s a privilege that I suppose I hadn’t ever thought about, but one I thought I could live with. It’s just a year. I showered every day in the dorms, just fine. Four days later, I’m already changing my tune.

I can’t stand up straight. At all. I either bow my head awkwardly for the length of my shower or squat. Both are not fun. I’ve jokingly been told to do wall squats. I sweat easily. That would defeat the purpose of the shower. I’ve been told to buy a shower stool to haul down to the basement with me every day. I’m already hauling my toiletries down there everyday and am hesitant to add another item to the list of things to forget.

I’ve taken four showers since arriving in Stockholm. I was met by a clump of hair that looked like a small mouse on the first day. Since then I have scrubbed the shower room down, trying to remove some of the disgusting that has worked its way into the walls. I have scrubbed the bench down with thoughts of sitting on it to shower, only to think better of it. I have showered in the dark, as the light turned off on me mid-shower. I have forgotten my soap and shampoo down there, bringing back to my days as a first-year student in college.

In somewhat related news, I’ll be joining a gym soon. Where there’s a shower. I’ll either be in the best shape of my adult life or I’ll be paying for a very expensive daily shower. It’s so going to be worth it.

Welcome to Sweden. And expensive showers.


  1. When I was a kid in Stockholm, my mother had a friend who would visit us monthly so she could have a bath. I remember I thought it was very strange. I don't know if they had a shower, people mostly had baths then. Later they bought the apartment next door also and installed a bath. She was married with kids but only she came. I am old, a little older than your parents.
    My son who is 6'6" just bought a house with a built in steam shower in the ensuite, he does not fit but has other ordinary bathtubs with showers.
    I think you will enjoy the the gym showers, hope you get into fantastic shape too.

  2. That does seem strange, maybe she was just trying to get away from her family for a bit!