The Corner

Swagger By Any Other Name Would Smell As Complete

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.”