Comments: 551 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

willnate657 karma

But why?

NumerousPast1373 karma

Money. The same reason people agree to spend six months in bed for NASA. I was paid rather well for the ordeal.

wowwweeeee22594 karma

Were you allowed to brush your teeth?

NumerousPast913 karma

Yes. Thank god.

Hotpaws464 karma

Did you wear out your socks? How are the armpits in your shirt?

NumerousPast787 karma

That shirt is disposed of due to how horrifying it became. And the socks ended up with holes in the heels and crustier than a 14 year old's jizz tube.

AlterEggnog391 karma

Firstly congrats on completing this. I know that after some time your hair naturally cleans itself, so did you experience any sores or irritation to your skin and sensitive regions? How did you deal with this? Also I read your closest friends even booted you from socials until you finished, how did this social exclusion affect you?

NumerousPast768 karma

Oh yes.I got rashes and massive outbreaks of acne. Sebum buildup is insane. Rashes grew in areas that collect a lot of sweat, like the armpits and groin. My back and shoulders got covered in acne after a couple weeks, but by the second month it had all disappeared. The rashes remained though. I needed a cream to treat them.

So, socially, this is easily the worst thing I've ever experienced. Dealing with random strangers who like you're homeless is one thing, but knowing that you've reached a level of disgusting that even people who love you cannot bear is another. I'm not equipped to comment on the finer details, as I'm not one of the scientists analyzing the results, but living it was hell. I understood why they didn't want me around. I was literally a health hazard. But there's something about knowing that people's tolerance of you is conditional that's deeply unsettling.

radiogorilla368 karma

How was your first shower after the experiment ended? How did it feel? Did you still smell afterwards?

NumerousPast868 karma

I was waiting for this one! So, the first thing you notice when showering after going without for so long is this slimy feeling. That's because the dead skin that's been building on you combines with the water to create this goo. Once that layer is scrubbed off, it starts to feel like a normal shower. However, the process takes a while. I showered for an hour, waited for the hot water to come back, and then showered for another hour. Probably overkill, but a shower at that point is as much psychological as it is hygienic at that point. It goes without saying though that I've never taken a better shower in my life. And no, I didn't still smell. But I imagine a routine shower would not have accomplished the job.

AwesomeMixTape-6262 karma

Did you have to throw out your bed sheets? Wash your couch?

Did your residence smell even after the study ended?

Did the researchers ask you to record your diet?

NumerousPast497 karma

I actually developed a strategy to avoid ruining my furniture. I simply placed plastic wrap over my sofa and chairs. I also wrapped my bed and bough a sheet specifically for the two months to place over that wrap.

Since I took precautions against the lasting effects I'd have on my place, it smells alright here. But I might need to have a another person come over to check. I grew so accustomed to my smell that I'm not sure I trust myself to know.

I had to monitor my diet, yes. The bacteria that live on a person's skin are affected by a number of things, and a consistent diet was required to control for that.

No_big_whoop231 karma

Were you allowed to wash your hands?

How old are you?

Did the researchers gather samples (eww) or data along the way?

God almighty dude, how fucking miserable did it get?

NumerousPast482 karma

I was allowed to wash my hands due to the overwhelming evidence that hand washing is directly associated with avoiding illness. I'm 24. And yes, they did take skin samples and make sure that I was not violating the terms of the contract. However, I don't actually know the results of the tests they took. The exit interviewer informed me that I would get some kind of informational packet in the mail though.

As for how bad it got... Bad. You naturally devolve into a person who cannot have even basic interactions without feeling completely ashamed. Interestingly enough, though, that shame is due to how others react to you, not how you feel about yourself. After two months, you adapt to the grossness on a purely physical level.

No_big_whoop135 karma

How long did it take you to return to feeling normal after it ended?

NumerousPast626 karma

I'll get back to you after I start feeling normal again.

Silverlight42217 karma

As an unemployed hermit with depression, how can I get in on this action? Do they need a longer term study case?

How'd you find the study you participated in?

I think it'd be interesting to try something like that, but i'm in Canada and not in a huge city so I don't think there's anything local.

NumerousPast164 karma

I'm in the US, so I'm not sure if there's anything comparable in Canada. But as far as I know, I was the only person in my area doing this. Could they have been testing others? I assume so. Most studies require multiple participants. I found it by answering an online recruitment offer.

IoSonCalaf185 karma

What do you do for a living that you could have a job and do this experiment?

NumerousPast373 karma

Great question. I am a software engineer. So, basically, my job does not require me to interact with customers or clients or do anything a person would need to be well-groomed for. God have mercy on my coworkers though. I imagine the hospital who paid me for this would not have been able to get someone in food service or retail to do the experiment.

RedDirtPreacher148 karma

How did you decide what clothes to wear for the duration? I would assume a lot of thought would have needed to go into that decision.

NumerousPast284 karma

Well, I decided that durability was important, so I went with jeans for the bottom. It's also cold right now where I live, so knowing the tail end of the experiment would be winter weather meant I needed long pants. My shirt was just a normal t shirt, but I also had a jacket. I also bought the clothes for the experiment specifically. I wasn't going to ruin clothes I actually liked.

LivingInTheVoid142 karma

How much did you get paid? During the second month, what was your daily schedule like?

NumerousPast380 karma

I received $10,000 and had to sign a contract stating I would complete the entire two months or earn nothing. I've never made that much money in two months before in my entire life. As for my schedule, I still went to work and did my routines largely unchanged. People just avoided me. Though for the final two weeks, I used my vacation time to stay home it had gotten so bad. I did eventually stop going outside unless necessary. You can't have a healthy social life when you look and smell like that.

AlphaSarcastic111 karma

Your employer was okay with you coming to work like this?

NumerousPast294 karma

Lol no. But since the study recruitment was filtered through them, meaning the research group reached out to them for participants, this was all sanctioned.

wowwweeeee22104 karma

Did they offer any emotional support or therapy during the study? How did they assess your emotional state?

NumerousPast212 karma

When the researchers collected samples and checked on me, they brought a psychologist along. She did weekly sessions with me. It wasn't really therapy though. More like an assessment, like you mentioned. I did break down in one session though, and she was definitely qualified to be a therapist.

cey24100 karma

Personally, I would have just went commando. Anyways, how long was it before people started to really notice the body odour? Were there any awkward social situations where someone in public noticed you weren't bathing and made it clear they could smell you?

NumerousPast196 karma

I have a shaved head, which helped considerably in the early days. However, people begin to notice body odor in close proximity after about three days. And that's when it's invariable. Some people reacted after just two. After a week, it became almost impossible to go out in public without also explaining (to various degrees of success) that I smelled so bad due to the experiment.

cey2475 karma

I can assume it gets very uncomfortable after a while. Itchy, sweaty, sticky etc. Was the money worth it? Did it pay well

NumerousPast119 karma

It did pay well, and financially I'd say it was entirely worth it. In others ways? That remains to be seen. But yes, it gets almost unbearable after a few weeks, then towards the end, you adapt and begin to feel "at ease" with the filth you've accrued. Though I did develop rashes that became progressively worse.

cey2448 karma

As a part of the test, were you allowed to treat those rashes with ointments or was the study more about the social aspect of hygiene rather than what effects it has on the body?

NumerousPast138 karma

Yes. They even gave me a cream for it. The contract specified that any health risks would be dealt with. The aim was to test the effectiveness of the body's natural bacteria along with social aspects, but they didn't want me actually in danger.

Irraydescent65 karma

Who orchestrated the study? I am currently 10,000 dollars in debt from student loans, is it still going or can you only talk about it now because the study is done? If that is the case how did you find this study I would love to see if there is something I could do.

NumerousPast102 karma

So, this is a somewhat complicated situation, but the university hospital I worked with was apparently in a partnership with a Japanese research group based in Tokyo. I'm not sure if the study is still ongoing for other participants, but I was informed of very little regarding overhead and whatnot. I answered an online recruitment offer that was filtered through my company. I was the only one who volunteered due to, like you, student debt. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to "advertise" the specifics of who administered the testing because they want to control who and where they take their research to.

Loravik37 karma

Why did you start bathing again?

NumerousPast110 karma

The experiment ended. It was the very first thing I did. You have no idea the havoc with plays on you after a while.

Loravik24 karma

Why did you undertake the experiment?

How did your family and friends react?

What did your social life look like?

What do you think you achieved with the thole thing?

NumerousPast183 karma

  1. Money

  2. Very negatively at first, then uniformly sympathetic, and then finally unable to cope.

  3. My social life started out fairly normal, but eventually even my inner circle banned me until the completion of the experiment. Outsiders just figured I was a homeless person.

  4. Other than a paycheck, I definitely learned a lot more empathy for the homeless and those dealing with extreme poverty. I also discovered that people require one another to meet basic standards to allow socialization. In other words, if you do not conform to the minimum ideals of society, you are ostracized or feared.

_ser_kay_37 karma

How was your first shower? And I’m assuming you straight-up burned the clothing after?

NumerousPast72 karma

Amazing. Words can't really describe how good it feels to shower after that long. The clothes are never going to be worn again. It's worth noting that wearing the same clothing for two months straight effectively destroys the fabric. Modern clothes just aren't designed for that level of abuse.

joper9021 karma

That’s a really interesting point about modern clothing. What clothes did you choose?

NumerousPast30 karma

Just answered this, so I'll copy and paste:

Well, I decided that durability was important, so I went with jeans for the bottom. It's also cold right now where I live, so knowing the tail end of the experiment would be winter weather meant I needed long pants. My shirt was just a normal t shirt, but I also had a jacket. I also bought the clothes for the experiment specifically. I wasn't going to ruin clothes I actually liked.

kiddmacliaz31 karma

How long before you felt like you couldn’t take it anymore? And what kept you going? Also, did you have any social interactions during this period of time?

NumerousPast63 karma

The paycheck kept me going. And it began to get very tough during the second week. That's when you first begin smelling truly awful, beyond just BO. The toll that takes is real. You eventually habituate to your own scent, but others can smell you literally across a room. So yes, I had social interactions, and they were taxing. People in my circle and job knew what I was taking part in, but strangers are difficult. Most people assume you are homeless.

jackychan0717 karma

Thats really gross... how much did it bother you?

NumerousPast67 karma

It bothered me immensely. Imagine sitting with that. I cried at one point. But I like to think I ruined other people's days as well.

campbelljaa17 karma

What was the experiment you took part in for?

NumerousPast53 karma

It was for two main objectives: one, to test the effectiveness of the human body's natural layer of bacteria at warding off odors and grime. The second was to determine the effect of habitual disregard for personal hygiene on society's perception of the individual.

scott6056111 karma

I am having trouble conceptualizing a thesis for this experiment.

What was theirs?

NumerousPast16 karma

I mean, I have no idea about that aspect. I know the purpose and whatnot, but I can't imagine what their abstract or whatever will say.

MrsLangley7 karma

How much did you get paid? Was it worth it?

NumerousPast28 karma

$10,000. And it was completely worth it financially. But in other ways, I might say no.

thekeeperofkeys3 karma

Did they not allow you to wipe after using the bathroom? Cause nobody’s boxers should look like that, even after an extended period of time!

NumerousPast39 karma

First, you'd be surprised what builds up. Second, I was able to wipe, but that stain is due to the fact one's anus is a very unsanitary place. The moisture, the particles, it all congeals in there. If I hadn't lived it, I would have been inclined to agree with you.