Illustration by Erin Taj

Five of the Best Reddit Showerthoughts, Explained By Experts

All those things you think about in the shower have real answers if you look hard enough

Now that our toilet time has been co-opted by smartphones, the only area of our lives still unclaimed by media is the shower, which has become so synonymous with strange, revelatory thoughts that it’s now a meme unto itself:

Shower Thoughts

It’s also why Reddit’s r/Showerthoughts has become so popular. For those not familiar with the immensely popular subreddit, it’s a place to share those questions and observations about anything and everything that strike you while you’re rinsing out the shampoo.

But why just read such questions when you can badger experts for actual answers? That’s exactly what we did — burning bridges with most of our useful contacts in the process.

Showerthought #1: “Whenever I see an inspiring story of someone who goes from 600 lbs to lean and fit, I mostly think, ‘Okay, I guess I can get to 600lbs and still recover, so I’m ok for now.’ ”

Obviously, this is a terrible idea. We reached out to personal trainer Sean Salazar to tell us just how hard it would be to lose all of that excess weight: He told us that he regularly sees people unable to lose 10 or 15 pounds, so to lose hundreds would be an extraordinary undertaking.

First off, even finding the right exercises that your 600-pound body can handle would be difficult (the stationary bike and the swimming pool might be your only options). Once you’ve figured that part out, the amount of calories you’d have to burn would be monumental. Salazar says that people he’s worked with who’ve lost 100 pounds or more “were able to lose 10 pounds a month on average.” Using this math, dropping from 600 pounds to 200 pounds would take more than three years of relentless hard work — in both the gym and the kitchen.

Even if you manage this, your problems aren’t over: “If somebody was able to actually get down to a low weight after being 600 pounds, there would be permanent damage that couldn’t be reversed,” says Salazar. The whole process would put a tremendous strain on many of your organs, most noticeably your skin. According to Salazar, your stretched-out skin won’t just snap back into place. Instead, to restore its original appearance “would require extensive surgery that leaves huge scars.”

So, no. Letting yourself hit 600 pounds is not a workable plan.

Showerthought #2: “When the cat watches me give a blowjob, he probably thinks that I’m helping my boyfriend groom.

“Knowing how an animal such as a pet cat or dog views the act of others copulating — especially when those in coitus aren’t the same species as the observer — is extremely difficult to determine from the observer’s behavior,” says Aaron Blaisdell, a UCLA professor dedicated to studying the behavior of animals (aka an animal psychologist). “The only way to know if the observing animal perceives the interaction as a sex act is if the observer itself displays signs of courtship or sexual arousal.”

In other words: Unless your cat starts acting horny, it’s hard to tell if he gets what you’re doing.

Blaisdell further explains that it’s not uncommon for dogs raised by humans to imprint sexually on humans, which is why the famous leg-humping is such a common phenomenon. For cats, though, their awareness is less clear. “They haven’t received the vast amount of domestication that dogs have, so my guess is that they would not imprint in the same way,” he says.

In short, even the experts are stumped as to whether cats understand human sex when they see it. But if your dog starts humping the couch, you can be pretty certain he knows what’s going on.

Showerthought #3: “The contents of your dryer’s lint trap is the average color of your wardrobe.”

While we were tempted to reach out to a laundromat for this one — their experience with lint, surely, would be unparalleled — we instead asked trend expert Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat, whose expertise specifically applies to patterns and colors and how they interact with each other.

In a general sense, Marcantonio agrees with the showerer’s assessment. “Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments,” she explains. “What accumulates is an amalgamation of all the clothes present in the dryer at that time.”

So if you wear a lot of black, expect dark gray lint — or if you have a young daughter, you may find your lint to be pinkish and loaded with glitter. That said, Marcantonio admits that the color of the lint isn’t exactly the average color of your wardrobe. “Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton and wool generate more lint than fabrics made of rayon or other synthetic materials,” she explains.

This means that the lint scales will always be tipped in favor of the cotton clothing you wear, rather than those neon-yellow Spandex yoga pants.

Showerthought #4: “I bet opera singers have beautiful-sounding orgasms.

This one has a delightfully simple answer: “Yes, they’re on cue and in tune — and in several different languages,” jokes acclaimed soprano Lisette Oropesa, who can be heard at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden. On a more serious note, however: “The best performances I’ve ever given on stage have been after sex earlier in the day. I guess it helps my nerves and relieves tension. I know if I have a performance the day of, I sing scales and make singer noises during [sex].” As to whether this is a common occurrence, she goes back for laughs: “Let’s just say I’ve shattered three wine glasses this week.”

Showerthought #5: “Every semicolon I have ever used has been a shot in the dark.

Is it more like a comma, or more like a period? Do I capitalize after it? How is it different from a colon? It’s true that the semicolon is the most intimidating of all the punctuation marks. Michael Burns, who has taught English for 18 years and holds a double master’s in English and education administration, says people often don’t even use it “because they probably weren’t taught properly.”

“Semicolons are tricky,” Burns continues. “Their purpose is to draw a closeness between the two clauses that is arguably tighter than the coordinating conjunction.” In other words, it’s kind of like welding two closely related ideas together, with the semicolon handily displaying their closeness. For example: Batman v Superman was a terrible movie; it should never have been made.

A comma would be wrong because these statements are both independent clauses. Confusingly, however, a period would work here, too: Batman v Superman was a terrible movie. It should never have been made.

The problem with using a period, though, is that the relationship between the two statements has lost its significance. It’s technically fine grammatically, but the semicolon makes it more dynamic, which is a word that could never be used to describe Batman v Superman.