From birth to twenty years old I was using bar soap. It’s what my mom gave me to bathe with. Except for a brief stint with Zest, my mom’s preferred brand was Dove. I actually never liked using Dove bars. I felt they were for women. When I found myself out on my own I decided to try different brands of bar soap, but in the end they all seemed the same, so I went back to Dove. Then one day I discovered body wash. It was one of the most profound moments of my life.
One evening my roommate, Jared, said to me, “I noticed you use bar soap.” ”Okay?” I thought, ”What of it?” “Yeah?” I said. “Well,” he replied, “have you ever considered using body wash?” ”Was he serious? Did I actually hear him correctly?” I had a hard enough time using a product called “Dove Beauty Bars”. Body wash seemed way too feminine for me. “That seems a little femmy,” I said. “No, seriously,” he replied, “it really gives you a refreshing feeling. Think about it. You use bar soap, and it sort of gets on your body then rinses off, but body wash lathers your whole body up and really gives you that tingly clean feeling.” He pressed the issue for days. I thought about it more and more.
Then next time I went to the grocery store I sneaked up to the body wash bottles on the soap isle. I didn’t want anyone to see me looking at body wash. There are body washes marketed towards men. It’s all the same stuff, it’s just soap, but I wasn’t about to buy anything with flowers on the bottle. Old Spice is marketed towards men. I grabbed a bottle and looked at it in contemplation. On the back of the bottle the text claimed, “Won’t wash away testosterone!” That was all it took. I was convinced it was okay to buy this product. I also got a loofah. This was a little more difficult for me to do since there wasn’t a label on the bath sponge telling me it was okay for men to buy it, but I knew I needed it for the experience Jared had described.
The next morning I used body wash for the first time and I was hooked. Jared was absolutely right. Body wash was like heaven in the shower. The tingly clean feeling was there, and I knew I could never go back. Not only that, I wanted everyone in the world to know of the joy of body wash. I wanted to go door to door asking people if they were using bar soap to bathe with, and if they admitted that they were I wanted to tell them of body wash. I never did go door to door, but I proselytized the philosophy of body wash to another guy, Brett.
I wasn’t as eloquent as Jared when it came to convincing Brett to use body wash. In fact, it was incredibly awkward, Brett was crashing at my apartment for the night, and I just blurted out, “Are you using bar soap to bathe with?” He admitted that he was, and I responded with, “Well you should consider body wash because soap goes on and soap comes off, but body wash gives you a tingly clean feeling.” As awkward as that conversation was, he was convinced. Or maybe he was just humoring my awkwardness, because he persuaded me to drive him the grocery store right then so he could get some body wash. I did. And as we were browsing the soap isles I was like, “Old Spice says it won’t wash away testosterone.” He didn’t really care. He bought something with flowers on it, and that was sort of that. Or so I thought.
Brett was a drama student with a very vocal personality. He was also a story teller, and soon after this, the body wash story spread like a virus. Everyone I knew, heard of the body wash story. They’d come up to me and say, “So, I hear you like body wash?” And I would be like, “Yeah, I do. Why do you ask?” They’d say that Brett mentioned it to them. I thought it was a little weird that Brett was telling people about so small a thing, but it didn’t bother me.
I’m not sure how Brett was telling the story, but people would imitate his style of story telling to me and I inferred that it went something like this, “And lo, Jack, came to me one day and said to me,
Dude, you need to stop using bar soap, because soap goes on and soap comes off, but BODY WASH!” And it seemed like that must have been the end of the story right there. No one mentioned to me the part about how body wash gives you a tingly clean feeling, they’d just end with saying “BODY WASH!” really loud. I honestly don’t remember screaming out the word “body wash” when I’d convinced him, but that’s how I’m told I said it.
Perhaps the most fascinating part is that people that I had never before met would come up to me on the street and say, “but… BODY WASH!” And I’d respond with, “Yeah! Body wash! Have you tried it yet?” I’d actually become famous in a small group of people. The small group of people that Brett knew. How they recognized me, I don’t know, but it was enough to give me a glimmer of fame, and I liked it. I didn’t even care that it was over such a silly thing. I never liked Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey, but I was beginning to empathize with them. Sure they play idiotic characters, but it doesn’t matter if you’re famous for something really deep and profound, being famous, being known by people you don’t know, is one of the greatest feelings in the world. I still use Old Spice body wash.