Ivory – Ivory


I can't remember what all soaps we had when I was a kid, but Ivory was the most prominent, most common, probably my favorite, if I had a favorite. As I got older I saw no need to ever use any other soap; Ivory was good enough for me—for life! My life is much better now—look at my soap list! It gets me thinking, are there other things that I'm kind of in a rut about, that I don't question, but if I'd decide to branch out I could enrich my life? Traveling is a good example; there's nothing I like more than staying at home, yet whenever I go somewhere new I think: how am I not doing this all the time? Maybe I need to see more bands, go to plays once in awhile, and shop at a different grocery store. It reminds me of when I was in high school—I used to only wear Levi's, t-shirts, tube-socks, and white Jockey underwear. Then one day, in my Senior year, I went nuts and got a pair of tan corduroys, and it opened the floodgates. The next thing you know, I'm wearing boxer shorts with hearts on them, a wide brimmed felt hat from LL Bean, sporting belt buckles with my favorite beer brands, dropping acid for 28 days straight, and having sex with scarf-wearing elderly gentlemen in the men's room of the Olde Dutch Tavern.

Some of that is actually true. A bar of Ivory soap brings it all back with the force of nostalgia. Of course, sometimes nostalgic and sad are two sides of the same coin—as memories are rarely only good or bad if you remember deeply enough. The first thing I thought of with the smell of this unwrapped bar of Ivory soap was my memory of it floating in the bathtub, and the discussion about how it floats while other soap does not. Legend says they came upon this by accident, like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups—but you know as well as I do that's bullshit. The company wisely chose to play up the novelty of floating soap rather than its cheapness. You won't lose it in the bathtub, and you can carve a boat out of it! In fact, one could make freighters and warships out of this soap, and leaks would be no big deal—of course it might not be environmentally sound—though seeing how corporations and governments care little about the environment, I strongly suspect that the reason ships aren't made from Ivory soap is that they would melt before reaching distant ports. Another interesting fact about Ivory is that when you scramble the letters, you can make exactly one other word: Vroiy. That's not a word; you can't make any.

The smell strikes me as rather harsh, even acrid (unless I'm not sure what that word means). It reminds me of grade school, I guess, though not as strongly as the disgusting odor of tomato based meat sauce flavored with the official spices of Ohio (salt, pepper). You'll notice that all the super-common soaps by the super-gigantic corporations usually come in 10 or 20 packs and are dirt cheap. That's because they know if any sane person ever decides to give something like Chandrika a try, they're never going back.

Soap Review No. 59