Robin Harper, an administrative assistant at a preschool in Martha's Vineyard, grew up taking a shower every day. "It's what you did," she said.
But when the pandemic forced her inside and away from the public, she started showering once a week. The new practice felt environmentally friendly, practical, and liberating – and it's stayed.
"Don't get me wrong – I like showering," said Ms. Harper, 43, who has returned to work. "But it's one off my plate thing. I'm a mom, I work full time and it's one less thing that I have to do."
The pandemic has turned the use of zippered pants on its head and changed the eating and drinking habits of many people. And there is now evidence that some Americans have become more Spartan about ablutions.
Parents say their teenage children don't take daily showers. After the UK news media reported a YouGov poll showing that 17 percent of people in the UK had given up daily showers during the pandemic, many on Twitter said they did the same.
Heather Whaley, 49, a writer in Redding, Connecticut, said her shower use fell 20 percent over the past year. After the pandemic forced her to lock down, she began to wonder why she showered every day.
"Do I? I want you to say." Taking a shower was less a question of function than a question of doing something for myself that I enjoyed. "
(In a previous version of this article, the city name was misspelled.)