Lifebuoy – Total

“Shore Leave”

This is a Lifebuoy made in India, with the familiar Lifebuoy logo and a picture of an Indian family on the package. The soap bar is a deep, unnatural pink with some indentations molded in the back for handling. When it's wet and a little used, there is a deep red band across the middle, like the top and bottom part of the soap bar were molded together. The smell is strong, intense, and initially repulsive to me. It makes me think of a used car salesman's cheap aftershave. But in some odd way it grew on me—I am surprised by that. Often things go the other way, toward increasing dislike. I can only think it must be the nostalgia factor at work, and some kind of old-fashioned scent—and it recalling some childhood memory of some relative, an old guy, like a great uncle twice removed who would always give you a nickel. Where this scent ever originated, I have no idea, but sailors—who needed something strong to hide the stench of their fungus ravaged bodies while on shore leave—wouldn't be a bad guess. There's a commercial where a woman and her kid are in a park, approached by a creepy doctor who uses what looks like an iPhone to show the woman a magnified portion of the kid's hand, crawling with germs. The woman looks terrified, and the doctor then suggests Lifebuoy Total.