In case you’ve missed it, the Internet has been collectively freaking out over the act of eating oranges in the shower. But why? Serious questions call for serious journalism. So I did my research, bought a naval orange and stripped down to my birthday suit. Below, the full report.
First thing’s first: What are the claims?
Basically, the Internet says that shower oranges alter your senses and taste next-level delicious. Eating an shower orange is the most liberating act of food consumption ever, and will bring you pure, unbridled joy.
OK, listening. Backstory, please…
Like many bizarre Internet phenomena, shower oranges were born on Reddit. In the winter of 2016, a Redditor (whose account has since been deleted) posted a comment calling shower oranges “the best feel-good thing you can ever experience.” That post has since generated tens of thousands of people sharing snaps of their peels in the shower, and affirming its transformative powers.
Weird. How does science feel about this?
We know citrus scents are thought to have calming properties. And we also know that heat can amplify smell—so it would make sense that orange peels become more fragrant in the shower. In NPR’s investigation, Johan Lundström from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia posited that “heat makes the orange odors more volatile and this, merged with the increase in mucosa humidity, makes the orange odor smell more in the mouth." OK. This guy seems smart.
Money question: Did it work?
Yes. And no. Contrary to science, the shower dampened the citrusy scent—the orange was actually way more fragrant when I took a bite outside the bathroom. (Face palm.) Maybe my olfactory system is flawed. Maybe I psyched myself out. Maybe it’s all hogwash. Whatever the case, that much was clear as day. However, the sensation of eating something cool and juicy while standing under a hot stream of water was pretty heavenly. And for someone who hates sticky fingers and general mess, it was remarkably satisfying to eat and clean up in a single step.
Sadly, shower oranging did not change my life or morph my taste buds into superbuds. But it was delicious. And fun. Highly recommended for those who love eating, showering, being ridiculous or any combination of the three.