The Corner has tackled many unconventional and controversial subjects, but one area that remains largely taboo is that of personal hygiene. I say largely because I can think of a few moments where we crossed some lines, but it’s best not to recap them all here. Still this lacuna needs to be filled. I shall make a small contribution to that effort here and now.
Like many of you, I have found the use of bar soap increasingly wearying; if not physically exhausting, then at least contributing to a certain level of spiritual ennui. There was a time when that smell of Irish Spring lifted the cold, leaden, curtain that enshrouds my days with dread. But now I find that not even that aromatic candle prevents me from cursing the darkness.
And this is why I have resorted to liquid soaps, body washes and the like. Perhaps it’s the novelty of the experience, perhaps it’s something more. But I have yet to find a gel douche that has that certain je ne sais quoi. After all, I am conservative, happily married, fellow. These commercials for Axe Body Wash are intriguing in a prurient sort of way, but I don’t need to attract young women with Chinese tattoos they cannot decipher, which if truth in advertising were the norm would read “I have crabs.” I prefer a cleansing body unguent that conforms to both my cerebral tastes as well as my less exotic repasts. Where is the product that fits if not the lifestyle I have than the lifestyle I want?
I need something that conveys the exhilarating thrill of the possible — the possibilities of a day not yet conquered! — yet is rooted in the simple pleasures of workaday life and the comforts of home. Perhaps not as robust as a night stick deployed against a hippie who refuses to comply with legal requests, but maybe something along the lines of listening to Brahms while drinking a vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon.
I think I’ve found just such a scent. My father was an Old Spice man. And I’m loyal to the brand, if not necessarily the cologne/bathroom-comb-disinfectant. And so when I saw Old Spice Swagger body wash, I had to take a look. Here’s what it says on the back label (and I’m not making this up):
“Swagger body wash from Old Spice is for the man who holds the complete works of Aristotle in one hand, and a delicious sandwich in the other. Swagger’s subtle scent transforms your skin to feel like a smooth and hydrated playing field where confidence scores the winning touchdown.”