I uttered a silent “fuck” at 5:30 a.m. this morning as I bent over to pick up the sad sliver of shamrock-green bar soap. For the second time, I reached down to retrieve my cleansing tool out of the filth that is centimeter-deep liquifoam which undoubtedly occupies the polyester floor of every apartment shower ever. To be honest, I really had no reason to be upset. Sure, it was 90 minutes pre-sunrise and maybe I had a few cocktails with a Bumble date the previous night, but it was Friday and I think we can all identify with the cheerful pep that coincides with the weekend being a mere 10 hours away. Nonetheless, multiple soap drops after a few alarm snoozes is comparable to a papercut, stubbed toe, or God-forbid an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Simply put, a third drop was the only thing standing between me and a bullet. It was at this instant, just moments removed from a whispered expletive subconsciously silenced due to an envious respect for my roommate’s additional hour of dormancy, that I questioned my lifelong hygienic habits. A quarter-century of faithfulness to personal bodily sanitation suddenly up-in-smoke in the blink of a heavy eye. The looming question hovering over me was this: am I an asshole for using bar soap?
The facts are alarmingly obvious. First, I don’t know one other person that uses bar soap to wash themselves. Dishonorably exiled by my peers, I am the last of a dying breed that prefers this form of hygienic practice. Much like Hollister jeans and reading for leisure, the service of bar soap is becoming a neglected custom. Tight-roping extinction like non-flatscreen televisions, the usage of lye and oil formed into a rectangular prism with rounded edges as a bathing utensil is nearing societal abomination.
Sadly, a stick of Dial will likely be unrecognizable to the next generation, Our nation’s youth has become brain-“washed” by ridiculous ads promising bigger muscles, possible centaurism, and false guarantees that cougars will inevitably begin to jump all over you. All things considered, the majority of the blame for bar soap’s fickle fight against bathroom tyranny is simple geometry. Fault lies on the dirty hands of disingenuous designers who mold a malformed product. In that same light, the upper human appendage is equally responsible for the occasional erroneous performance. You squeeze too hard and it evades your grasp. Not enough grip pressure and it delicately slithers through the clutches of your fingertips. Classic America…square peg, round hole – a catch-22 if you will. To be human is not to be the alpha and omega, and bar soap serves as a prime advocate for exploiting our flaws. It’s those who recognize this human frailty, yet choose to press on and face the demons of the rain closet, who are truly admirable. My passionate hope in bar soap seemed to be in serious jeopardy.
Let it be known, though, I’m no casualty of ignorance here. I understand the allure of the only existing alternative, bar soap’s most threatening adversary – body wash. It performs the same duty, requires less effort, and is much less likely of being dropped mid-wash like silly bar soap. Even more glaring are the perks in regards to convenience and shelf life; throw in the sexiness of a loofa and there’s really no logical argument to be made here. Feeling more and more discouraged as I finalized my morning soak session, I began to consider the possibility of hopping on the bandwagon that’s been sweeping the population since the late 90s. This was uncomfortable to fathom, as I like to think of myself as a pretty smart individual, and the majority of my consumerism is based solely on low-cost efficiency. So what is a young millennial to do when he alone represents Team Bar Soap as a pitiful army of one? Should I give in to contemporary governance and conform to the ongoing trend that is body wash? The decision seems undeniably clear, right?
Nay. This patriot for nostalgia will not go quietly into that good night. Just as my father and his father before him, I am dedicated to the craft that I’ve engaged in twice a day ever since I graduated from baths (sitting in a hot pool of your own grime – gross, btw). A bar of soap is as much a sure thing to be included in my toiletry bag as a toothbrush or deodorant. Just as the sun will rise in the morning, every time I get out of town and stay at a friend’s place for a weekend – there’s a half-used bar of Irish Spring still occupying the shower caddy from my previous visit. Washing indecency off your body takes much effort and attention to detail, and having a faithful old friend you can count on serves as a lone bright spot in a world of darkness. Consistency is big for me, and I’m just not the kind of guy to whore myself out to whichever brand of body wash is preferred by my host at the time. I’d rather die fighting for something I believe in than see myself fall victim to worldly ways.
Indeed, I may be intolerant of change – scared perhaps that one compromise will lead to another compromise and so on until I become a craft beer snob who shops at Whole Foods and exercises on Sundays. That being said, don’t mistake me for some pilgrim who still burns CDs, has too much pride to use Google Maps, or insists that a crabmeat eggs-benny and carafe of ‘mosa at a high-end brunch place isn’t worth the $37 I willingly fork up. Admittedly, some change is good, but I remain devout to what has proven the test of time in reciprocating unwavering loyalty. Steadfast and uncorrupt, that’s my Irish Spring, motherfucker. In this day in age, I stand firm in my allegiance to the tried-and-true foundation that I was cleansed by.
Take your stabs, people. Call me foolish. Call me stubborn. Call me primitive, old-fashioned, and stuck in my ways. You go ahead with your Walgreen’s loofa and Suave For Men 2-in-1 shamp/b-wash – I’ve got no qualms with you. All I ask is to be left at peace and free of unjust judgement for how I hygiene. Don’t worry, I’m not hard to spot. I’ll be the guy reading a paperback, sucking back Bud Light cans, and smelling of the flowing founts of Eire..
Image via Shutterstock