June 18, 2014

The Rules of Soap

The late Andy Rooney once complained on 60 Minutes that bar soap comes in too many colors. He said soap should be white because when you take a shower you don't want to look down and see a lot of colors running off you. (That reminds me of those gas station car washes that charge you extra if you want "tri-color" soap.)

I can live with soap that comes in different colors. But what I have a problem with is what soap smells like. Whether it's bar soap, shower gel, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap or even the soap that comes out of the little dispenser in a public restroom, soap should smell like nothing.

Why? It's simple. Soap is supposed to clean. So if whatever you've used the soap on is now clean then there should be no reason to need fragrance to cover odors.

I have no loyalty toward any particular brands of soap. All I ask for is soap that doesn't smell "girly." When I take a shower, I have no desire to smell like, "a fresh blend of golden apricot, pink peonies and a hint of praline that captures the romance of warm days that linger into cool autumn." Nope, I just want to be clean and smell like nothing.

Yes, I know that many soap products are marketed to women who may want to smell like a pink peony, whatever that is. But soap makers put all kinds of crazy fragrances in men's soap too.

I'm probably a little over-sensitive about this ever since I had an incident at work several years ago. My skin was dry, and right before I left for work I saw a bottle of my wife's moisturizer lotion on the bathroom counter. So I squirted some and rubbed it on my forearms then left for work.

As I was driving I was nearly overpowered by the strong perfume smell of the lotion. I figured the smell would quickly fade away, but I was wrong. Over the next couple of hours I was self consciously smelling my forearms. I even went to the men's room and splashed water on my arms.

Later I found a couple of alcohol wipe packets and rubbed them up and down my arms which finally helped diffuse the strong perfume odor. When I got home from work, I took a Sharpie and drew a skull and crossbones in the bottle of lotion. (Luckily, my wife is a good sport!) So you can see why this important to me.

If you ever see me sniffing the soaps in the grocery store now you'll know why.


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