A towel is the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have.

Partly it has practical value, you can wrap it around you for warmth, wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat, wrap it around your head to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal or dry yourself off if it still seems clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value.

This is not just and esoteric HHGTTG thing. I spent a whole year on the road, busking around the world, and my towel was one of the most useful things I had. You never know where it will come in handy.

On the contrary, in NetHack a towel is quite useful and is usually preferred over the blindfold. A blindfold can only be used to blind yourself, but a towel can be used to:

  • blind yourself (see telepathy for why you would want to)
  • clean the grease (from your can of grease) off of your hands
  • wipe cream pie residue off of your face (often desirable after an encounter with the Keystone Kops)
  • Rub out the writing in the dust ('engrave' with it to get this effect)

Aside from that, you should always know where your towel is. Ask hoopy_frood for more information.


An oaken towel, a cudgel.
To rub one down with an oaken towel ; to beat or cudgel him.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

I've always been baffled by the amount women can wear and still not feel (or at least let on otherwise) naked. (Personally, being in public in anything that doesn't cover my knees is unnerving.) Now I come from a family of big towel-folk by which I mean all our towels are of the "beach towel" variety... well at least the ones I generally use to cover my nakedness, thus, with upper body exposed, they descend almost to my ankles. Now it may interest the reader now to know that I am currently in a towel, a big one at that, and I am about to use it to cover from my nipples down. Now this being, once again, a large towel, it goes down just past my knees.

I recently had the luxury of staying in a hotel which, like most, provides its own towels. They are short. I have one such towel.

I am wearing it now around my waist.

It goes down to my knees.

But if I use it to cover my chest and torso, it descends past my hip the length of some of the shorter mini-skirts I've seen. I am uncomfortable. Thankfully I never have to walk out of the shower like this, but most women do. Towels don't come in men's and women's sizes. Reader! I contend that the amount of leg one can display publicly with comfort is about equal the amount visible when a towel is draping from:

For men: His waist

For women: Her chest

To me it makes sense. Once you're old enough to be conscious of your nakedness, and learn to wear a towel properly, it will be the least you'll probably wear in public (unless your a nudist, whore, or at the pool) and therefore the basis for your comfort.

Not convinced? Try it yourself.

Tow"el (?), n. [OE.towaille, towail, F. touaille, LL. toacula, of Teutonic origin; cf. OHG. dwahila, swahilla, G. zwehle, fr. OHG. dwahan to wash; akin to D. dwaal a towel, AS. þwe�xa0;n to wash, OS. thwahan, Icel. þv&amac;, Sw. tv�x86;, Dan. toe, Goth. þwahan. Cf. Doily.]

A cloth used for wiping, especially one used for drying anything wet, as the person after a bath.

Towel gourd Bot., the fruit of the cucurbitaceous plant Luffa Aegyptiaca; also, the plant itself. The fruit is very fibrous, and, when separated from its rind and seeds, is used as a sponge or towel. Called also Egyptian bath sponge, and dishcloth.


© Webster 1913.

Tow"el, v. t.

To beat with a stick.

[Prov. Eng.]


© Webster 1913.

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