Aap Naam (Taking a Shower)

What's that smell?
by Bangkokmouth


‘Baay Aap Naam’, ‘Baay Aap Naam’. If there’s one Thai sentence that really drives me up the wall then it’s baay aap naam – to take a shower, or the instruction to tell someone to go and take a shower. I personally think that life is far too short to take twenty showers a day, but the Thais would most probably disagree. There’s the pre-breakfast shower, the post-lunch shower, the just got home from work shower, the before-bed shower, and the wake up in the middle of the bloody night shower.

My own personal hygiene is certainly not in question. I use quality deodorants, and I shower twice a day (three if the weather’s particularly hot). I do not need to take anymore showers than that. I’ve visited Thai people’s homes, and the first thing they’ve said is ‘would you like a shower?’. If you said that in England to your guests, they’d reply with “Sod off you cheeky git”, and put your lights out. I got so sick of being asked this question that I now react to it by sniffing my arm-pits and saying “Why? Do I smell?”. That usually kills the conversation stone dead, and there are certainly no more references to “baay aap naam”. I can turn up the next time smelling like a blacksmith's armpit and it won’t get a reaction.


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