Feb 15, 2006

The Moderne Man

Remember back when you were a kid, and taking a bath was fun time? You had plenty of water, a good assortment of toys, you were easily excitable, fashion wasn't even a remote consideration, and above all you didn't have to choose your own fragrance.
Yup, you heard me right. Fragrance. And don't look all surprised, you know full well what I mean.

I took a shower this morning like I always do, but this morning I had to open a new bottle of shampoo. And I'm a guy who doesn't worry about his shampoo much past the question "Is it less than a buck?" This morning's new dollar bottle of shampoo was pretty far out of my usual realm, though. See, Suave is cheap and plentiful, which coincidentally is also what I look for in a good Chinese buffet, but that's neither here nor there. For some reason, the last grocery shopping trip landed me a bottle of VO5 shampoo, though, instead of the usual red or yellow or orange Suave. Little did I realise that I was opening myself up for some serious VO5 Tea Therapy.

Their words, not mine.

Why does everything you shower with have to smell? Back when you were that wiggly kid in the tub with your GI Joes or your rubber ducky or whatever, there was a plain white bar of soap, and one of those pear-shaped bottles of Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo, and that was it. It was yellowish orange, it didn't burn your eyes, and it smelled kind of bland, like, well, like that bar of plain white soap. And that was back when "smelling like soap" meant that it smelled clean and vaguely greenish somehow, and that was that. My soap now? Depending on what I've been given for the last holiday it either smells like the Pacific Coast, a breeze out of a Mountain Glade, or a Coniferous Forest.

My shampoo used to smell like strawberries, back when I was in the familiar if boring land of Suave shampoo. Before that I think it was Apple Mango or something, but this morning my high-and-tight smells like the inside of a Chinaman's teapot. My shave gel usually matches my soap thank goodness, or I'd have the odor of salt water and jellyfish on my body and the smell of a Fresh Meadow Zephyr on my cheeks, mixed with the Pine Woods of my aftershave gel, which would be trying unsuccessfully to blend in with the Etruscan Coast Green Tea scent from my hair, the musky smell of wet rope from my Old Spice deodorant and the wafts of Guatamala Antigua on my breath from my toothpaste.

What's really sad about all this is that my wife is about ten times as bad with the Scented Soap Sensation. She's got more products for more different parts of her than we both have parts together. The corner shelves of the shower shudder under the combined weight of forty-seven plastic bottles of ungents, creams, soaps ointments and oils. When she steps out of the shower she smells like Carmen Miranda's hat laying siege to a Tahitian Farmer's Market. I don't even want to know what she spends on a weekly basis on this stuff, but I know for sure that she's on a first-name basis with every employee of the Soap And Shampoo department at our local Target store. Just last week she received her Platinum Sponsor card at Bath And Bodyworks. It's gotten to where I can usually figure out what's for supper by how she smells in the morning.

But what do I know about soaps and shower products and scented powders? I use whatever is in front of me, and I figure I'm doing well if nobody checks the trashcan when I pass by. Hey, don't blame me, I still like Paula Cole.

Thank you, thank you all so much. I'll be here all week. Be sure and try the pork roast, and tip your waitperson or you're liable to get something foul in your drink.

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