Food and bathing have a long shared history. There's the old wives' tale that placing cucumbers over your eyes will reduce puffiness. And the newer craze of consuming a beer in the shower has even spawned a few brews made just for that purpose. Now an internet meme takes hungry spa tricks to new levels on Shower Orange, a subreddit that promotes eating the perishable citrus while in the buff.
While no specific health claims are made by the sub (though it gestures at safety with its only rule: No Grapefruits!), users frequently proclaim that the scent of oranges is calming—and consuming them under a showerhead is sure to keep one's hands clean of sticky juices.
While the subreddit is over a year old, it has gained traction in recent weeks and now boasts more than 8,000 loyal and devoted orange bathers.
The original redditor who shared this simple yet elegant eating/bathing trick has since deleted his or her account, however Buzzfeed dug up the original post which read:
“Ok so this is going to sound real weird… but here it goes. Just think about it: Tearing apart a cold fresh orange with your bare hands, just letting the juices run over your body. Not worrying if your going to get sticky, or anything. Just ripping it in half, and tearing into it with your teeth like a savage cannibal who hasn’t eaten in a week! This is the most carnal, ferocious, liberating thing a man can do.”
While the act of eating an orange in the shower looks good on paper we thought we’d try it for ourselves to see if we really should impart this wisdom on you, our dear readers. Below, GOOD’s Associate Editor Tasbeeh Herwees and GOOD Food’s Editor Maxwell Williams hash out the internet oddity.
Maxwell Williams: Hi Tasbeeh. I’m sure you’re aware of the Shower Orange subreddit by now. It’s all over the internet! I’d like to discuss it with you. What other things do you think one might have success eating in the shower? A burger?
Tasbeeh Herwees: Burgers seem like a poor choice, I think, given bread’s tendency to get soggy under wet conditions. I think the ideal shower foods are things that are already wet, like, say, oranges, or all forms of alcohol. How about you?
MW: Apparently, the whole Shower Orange thing revolves around the texture, and the fact that you’re bringing a cool, refreshing thing into the shower. What other foods are cool, wet, and refreshing? My judgment is that the best shower food is carrots and celery (aka crudités). Maybe avocados are pretty moist?
TH: I was just thinking avocado! Not on toast, obviously, but you could easily bring a spoon to chomp on one. I read a ridiculous story recently about Jessica Biel, who says she’s so “busy” that she has to eat while showering. I call bullshit. Eating in the shower takes more time/effort. You have to plan out a meal. The food probably has to be handheld because eating a grain bowl in the bathroom seems problematic. If I ate in the shower, it would be more a matter of leisure and relaxation—something akin to lighting candles while you’re in the bath.
Is this healthy?
MW: Okay, so here’s a point that negates everything. It’s the whole eating-in-the-bathroom thing that makes the whole shower orange endeavor kind of gross. My girlfriend would never let me eat something in the bathroom, which is where our shower is. Is eating in the bathroom a total no-go for a lot of people, do you think?
TH: I could be making this up, but I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of Islamic edict against eating the bathroom (a kind of Thou Shall Not Shit Where You Sleep situation), or, at least, I was raised by my parents to find the notion pretty distasteful. Bathrooms are icky places, given the kind of activities one partakes in when they’re inside a bathroom. I’m sure Jessica Biel has a nicer bathroom than I do, but even the most tricked-out bathroom is still a bathroom you poop in. There is at least one other drawback to shower eating, which is how you dispose of the remains. There are a lot of photos of orange peels on shower floors in that subreddit. Some people appear to have overcome this challenge by eating the peel altogether.
I’m sure Jessica Biel has a nicer bathroom than I do, but even the most tricked-out bathroom is still a bathroom you poop in.
MW: Yeah, I mean, whenever I think of eating in the bathroom, I think of that SNL skit where they wear the “fecal matter” glasses, which are kind of like the They Live “ideology” glasses, but for fecal matter. If you could see it, you would see fecal matter all over your bathroom.
Plus, as far as the eating the orange peel goes: it’s not good for you. The white part of the orange is where all the nutrients are, but the peel—that’s not healthy. It’s also really really bitter. Livestrong goes into the negative effects of eating an orange peel here. Interesting to note, the white part of the orange is called the “albedo.”
What about religion?
TH: I did find an official-looking ruling on shower eating from a site called Islam Question and Answer, (where) Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid writes: “Bathrooms are for relieving oneself, not for eating and drinking, so it is not appropriate for the Muslim to enter them except for the purpose of relieving himself, and when he enters the bathroom he should refrain from eating and drinking until he comes out. If a person eats and drinks inside the bathroom when there is no need to do so, then he has done something which is contrary to sound human nature (fitrah).”
He does go on to say that “doing other things there requires staying there for a length of time that is not appropriate,” which makes me question his judgment a little bit because homie has clearly never had the pleasure of a long bath.
If a person eats and drinks inside the bathroom ... then he has done something which is contrary to sound human nature.
MW: I was curious about what other faiths thought of eating in the bathroom, and I found this ruling from the Jewish Posek: “Initially, one should not bring any food into the bathroom even if it is covered. However, the poskim say that if food was brought into the bathroom, the food may still be eaten. One may walk into a bathroom with a pill in his pocket. Some poskim suggest that, if possible, the food should be washed off prior to eating it. One is permitted to keep medicines in a medicine cabinet that is in the bathroom. One may not eat or drink in a bathroom. Based on this, no bedikas chometz is required in a bathroom for food. Some say one is permitted to drink water from the faucet in a bathroom (one should obviously recite the beracha outside).”
I mean, obviously!
Is this a fetish?
I want to change the subject a bit. The shower orange is at least as viral as Bread Face, the Instagrammer who smashed her face into bread, which had its roots in Korean mukbang—eating in front of a camera—which many say is based in fetish. Why do you think shower orange took off so massively? Do you think it’s based in fetish? Is part of the fetish that you’re eating while nude? There was the one Redditor who bragged about his boyfriend giving the dual pleasure of oral sex while shower-oranging.
TH: I’m not sure! My instinct is to say that everything on the internet is based in some kind of fetish (See: ASMR, pay pigs, et cetera). The internet has a weird ability to coalesce communities of people who wouldn’t otherwise find each other IRL—most people would never talk about a shower orange fetish at a dinner party, but under the cloak of anonymity, on the web, it’s easier to disclose that kind of proclivity. On the other hand, I think Reddit users love to troll the rest of normie internet, and I think this may be one of those times.
MW: Yeah, I totally saw, though didn’t click on it—so I can’t confirm—a post on the subreddit that said “Hook, line, and sinker,” and I assume that that’s an admission of lulz. If true, as a journalist, I hate being trolled—though my skeptic radar is pretty strong. As a human, I also hate being trolled and finding out that something I think is amazing and hilarious is totally faked for the purpose of seeing how many people, including myself, “fall for it.”
TH: Same, although it is part of what makes the internet great. Whether shower oranges are a “thing” or not, I will say this: As far as bathroom eating goes, I think I prefer eating while taking a bath. I’d eat a breakfast burrito in the bath, but can’t do the same thing while in the shower.