Is being clean modern or primitive?

I’ve finished a day’s hard labour in my parent’s garden. At least it is a garden now, whereas at the start of the week it was simply an obstacle. In the shower, as I scrub my fingernails I wish I’d had a bath instead. Nothing is shifting the dirt.

Why I wonder do I NEED to clean my fingernails. Is this being civilized? An artifact of modern life. Or is this a more primitive impulse?

I’m not the only person who wants clean fingernails. How do most people clean their fingernails? Baths work well but when did we evolve out of a bathing species?

Perhaps needing to be clean is something that we were once able to do more easily with thicker fur and stronger fingernails. And then again, clean might really mean, smelling more of me than of whatever else it was.

Is primate behaviour primitive for that matter?


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