Thursday, April 7, 2011


My towel ritual was developed out of necessity.

Drying off after a shower, I would find long hairs from my head now stuck to my torso and legs. I realized that it was my technique which was causing this. I was using the same part of my towel to soak water from my head as well as my body. Something needed to be done.

Luckily, towels are oriented. Or, maybe more accurately, towels are orientable and have a canonical orientation. Every towel manufacturer sews a small tag onto one end of one side of the towel. This tag provides the orientation for the towel and determines the "head" of the towel.

Lemme 'splain.

Towel Diagram

The tag tells me which part of the towel to use to dry my head. From there, I can algorithmically determine which part of the towel is good for my face, arms, and anterior torso fairly easily. 

For the rest, I flip the towel around, like so:

Towel Diagram 2

This way, none of those pesky head hairs will be spread over the rest of my body. The head of the towel is used on the head, and nowhere else.

I should mention that even though my long-haired hippy days are behind me, I still have maintained this drying system.

A couple of notes about these diagrams: First, the waviness is to indicate the towel is pliable, like all good towels are. (If you got suckered into buying a non-pliable towel, I weep for you.) Second, the little white square in the first towel diagram is to indicate the tag (my test audience didn't, and presumably still doesn't, think that it looks like a tag. Meh.) Third, in the second towel diagram, the tag is blue, suggesting that the tag is actually on the opposite side of the towel than the visible side. (Towels are two sided.) Nth, I didn't mention my butt or crotch in these diagrams in an effort to keep this post G-rated, but I suppose I just blew that goal. (N+1)st, if nothing else, I have just increased the Google image results for the search phrase "towel diagram". 

How does this relate to math? It doesn't.

How does this relate to art? Well, it is my theory that every person has their own towel ritual. Each of us has our own unique method of drying off after taking a shower or bath, and it's an experience which is typically not shared with anyone else. My diagrams don't do quite a good enough job of relating this experience to you, but I'm interested in exploring way to better do this. My first instinct is to create some sort of video piece, but I have to overcome some personal obstacles before that can happen. Eventually, I'd like to have some framework through which others could effectively share their own towel rituals with the rest of us.

Or maybe I should stick to my math research. We'll find out.

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