A New Kind of Soap Problem

There’s something happening over here, and it’s new. Not new, like how we all have to stay home. Or new, like all the kids suddenly have Zoom meetings and WebEx conferences. And not new, like we don’t have to buy gas anymore.

New, like, we’ve got a soap problem. A new kind of soap problem. A new kind of hand soap problem, to be specific.

We’re not out. But we’re going through it quicker. In that, we’re like everyone else. 

“Wash your hands” is the first thing we say whenever the kids stream through the door, whether they just returned from running errands (rare) or just returned from a game of neighborhood kickball (almost daily).

And they do. 

And when they emerge from the bathroom, the tips of their fingers are universally in front of their noses, standing upright, so the scent of their freshly-cleaned hands is within immediate reach of their tiny olfactory receptors.

“This soap smells sooooooooo good. So good! Soooooooo good.”

That’s what they say. Every time. This is new.

It’s because of this thing we’re going through — this season of isolation, this period of grocery-shopping hysteria, this phase of hoarding. I just buy plain old Dial. Normally. Because on some days we have three kids who sleep here, and on others we have five. On a quiet day when times are normal and weather is nice, we could have double that number of kids running through the house, jumping on the trampoline or figuring out a game of capture the flag.

It’s busy. And loud. And totally fine.

But, buying anything fancy for mass use is not in my DNA. It doesn’t seem to make sense. So, Dial. Plain soap with a plain scent that simply gets the job done at a cheap price.

Too bad other people decided to take that same route when they thought they’d never be able to wash their hands again and bought allll the soap so no one else would be able to wash their hands, too. 

Too bad for my wallet. Too bad for my habits. Too bad the kids now love a soap scented as “Smells Just Like A Citrus Grove.”

That’s the name of the scent. And it’s true to its word. And it was, like, five bucks. FIVE BUCKS. It was the only kind of soap left — the fancy kind. 

And there’s a “Mandarin Ginger” soap pump in my bathroom, which only found its way there because it was the only bottle remaining on a nearly naked Target shelf. That was it. 

“Huh. Not bad.”

That was me, the first time I used it, putting my hands up the same way the kids did. The upside, I suppose, is that this odd scent seemed so exotic to a chick who never buys anything other than scents that sound clean, like “Fresh Water” or something equally as boring and earthy as that.

That citrus soap, though? So good. It smells so good. It’s a problem. We may not want to go back to boring. We may not want to not smell citrus-y for the long haul — when we all emerge from this thing, free to again buy whatever we want whenever we want to.

And that’s fine. I just can’t remember where I bought it, which is kind of the biggest problem with the new soap problem.