I don’t feel awake in the morning until I’ve showered, combed my hair and brushed my teeth. I can’t imagine going a single day without doing each of those things, let alone an entire year.
Of course, our ancestors from medieval times and the Renaissance era had slightly different standards than we do. Before the advent of modern plumbing, electricity and the medical expertise we have now, personal hygiene was, um, slightly gross (to put it lightly).
No wonder the average life expectancy was a mere 30 years. This was the time of the plague, after all.
Prior to the modern conveniences we have today, people had to resort to some pretty strange practices for cosmetics, dentistry and even feminine care. If you think port-a-potties are gross, wait until you see what we used as toilets back in Victorian times!
Scroll down for some truly shocking, terrifying — and often hilarious — hygiene and medical practices from the past.
Please SHARE if you’re SUPER happy to live in modern times!!
1. People used to pee and poo in pots kept under their beds.
If you were to wake up in the middle of the night realizing that you had too much water before going to bed, you wouldn’t run down the hall to the bathroom. You’d reach right under your bed to pull out the bedpan. When you were finished, you’d just stash the bowl right back where you got it.
In certain cities, the bedpans would be emptied out the window and right onto the street. Blarf!
2. If you had a toothache or a cavity, you'd just pull out your tooth.
If you think going to the dentist is a scary proposition in our modern age, imagine visiting one in the era before anesthesiology.
Dentists didn’t even exist in the middle ages; you would have to visit a barber. The barber was responsible not just for cutting hair, but pulling teeth, letting blood and performing some other minor surgeries. If basic, non-invasive treatments of toothaches didn’t fix the problem, there was one solution: that tooth was coming out… without the help of novocaine.
3. Someone was paid to wipe the king's bum.
If you think your job is bad, just be grateful you aren’t the “Groom of the King’s Close Stool.” This position carried the responsibility of following the king around with his portable commode and washing instruments. The groomsman assisted the king with his personal business and the, um, cleaning afterwards.
It may sound like the least respectable position in the court, but it was actually a coveted role given to the sons of nobility. The Groom of the Stool was often one of the king’s most trusted advisors and confidantes due to the nature of his position.
4. Peasants had to use LEAVES for toilet paper.
Peasants obviously didn’t have it as good as the king. Instead, they resorted to using dried leaves as toilet paper.