It was actually my wife Liz who saw the promo, and she waved her iPad under my nose. “Jay,” she said, “look at this thing we can do to help the environment. I want to try this.” I pointed out that the last time we showered together she slipped on the loofah and chipped a tooth, but she said she didn’t mean us—with our work schedules, that wouldn’t even make sense. She said we should shower with other people. I considered the pros and cons, and agreed.
Liz signed on to my Facebook account and worked everything out in a comment thread on the AXE page. The following Monday morning, I had just hit the sleep button for the second time when the doorbell rang and Liz kicked me out of bed. “That’ll be your showerpool,” she mumbled into her pillow. I started lurching towards the door, and Liz looked up. “Put on a robe for Chrissake, Jay!” she cried. I pointed out that we were all about to see each other naked, but she insisted. I was meeting these people for the first time, she said, and anyway Betsy across the street would be watching like a hawk.
At the door was a chubby, balding guy in his early 50s. “I’m Chuck,” he said, extending his hand. “Your wife make you do this too?” I nodded and pointed Chuck up to the bathroom. He was carrying a shower caddy with a bar of Irish Spring and a jumbo-size bottle of Head & Shoulders.
Before I shut the front door, I noticed a taupe Campy pulling into the driveway. It turned out to belong to Loretta, who I remembered from the lunch line at my high school. “You’re still a lunch lady at Central?” I asked her.
“We say school chef now,” she grunted as she pushed past me carrying a tote bag full of bottles, sponges, and electric appliances including a hair crimper and a pink electric razor.
I followed Loretta up the stairs and stuck my head into the bedroom. “One of the showerpoolers you arranged for me is a lunch lady from my high school!” I hissed.
“They prefer school chef now,” my wife said without looking up from her phone. “Hurry up—I gotta pee.”
I sighed and turned down the hallway, but the doorbell rang again. I went back downstairs and opened the door to see Betsy’s husband Donny from across the street. “You’re late,” I told him.
“Whatever,” he snapped. “You still have my weed whipper.”
By the time we got up to the shower, Chuck and Loretta were already in the shower. “That’s too damn hot!” Loretta was barking.
“You can choose the temperature on Tuesdays, all right? Jeez!”
Eventually we all squeezed into the shower, and Chuck—as the closest one to the showerhead—took the lead in working out a system by which he’d tilt the flow of water back and forth up and down the line of us twice. “You wet,” he said, “then you lather, then you rinse again. Capiche?”
I was shampooing my hair when I heard a loud slap. “Get your prick off my ass!” yelled Loretta.
“Hey, I get morning wood!” said Donny. “It ain’t for you, honey, believe—ow!”
By the time we’d all shampooed, Loretta had a bloody nose from when Chuck accidentally smashed the back of his head into her face, I’d been repeatedly whacked in the thigh by Donny’s still-erect penis, and Loretta had slapped Donny again when I lost my balance and accidentally grabbed her tit to steady myself—she was rinsing, and assumed it was Donny getting fresh.
Eventually we all stumbled out of the shower—Chuck stayed an extra few minutes to scrub himself with my wife’s loofah, which I deliberately didn’t go out of my way to tell him not to use—and toweled ourselves off. Loretta complained that we didn’t have enough power outlets, Chuck cut himself shaving and bled all over my monogrammed “World’s #1 Golfer” robe, and Donny asked whether we’d mind if he pinched a quick deuce. All in all, it was almost 9:00 before I finally got them all out of there.
That afternoon, I was in the copy room telling Jeff about the whole debacle when Louie, the muscular and mustachioed janitor, waltzed in and told me how much he’d enjoyed his noon showerpool with two women—one of whom, it turned out, was my wife. “She’s right,” said Louie, “it’s the right thing to do for the environment. Did you know that in just a year’s time, we’ll have saved enough water to make a new Great Lake?”
- Jay Gabler