Caswell-Massey – Newport

“Gay Langland”

I just love this soap so much I'm almost prepared to just settle down with it for eternity and give up this life of fooling around. I said almost. If I ever do a soap ranking, though, this one will make the top ten—though, of course, as time goes on—ten becomes 100, Citizen Kane (1941) doesn't even make the list. This does smell like the soap Charles Foster Kane would use, though—it's a rich guy, manly soap. Please never tell me certain rich guys who shall remain nameless scum use it and ruin it for me, thank you. It reminds me of the cologne this older guy I used to work with would wear, though some days (or maybe too close) he smelled like Old Spice (which I used to wear, I admit) and sometimes that smells pukey. I just watched Hard Eight (Sydney) (1996) on TV (they replaced all the “fucks” with “freaks”—really weird, and so dumb!—maybe in the future, whenever you have to remove a “bad” word in a movie on TV, replace it with one of the advertisers' (“I'm going to Chevy Truck you up!”)—that would work, right?—and be funny, and maybe then they could not have so many commercials otherwise. Right. Anyway, the Philip Baker Hall character in that movie, that guy just totally smells like this soap. It's Masculine with a capital “M”—not always a good thing, but when we're talking soap, why not. It reminds me of my Dad, or an uncle (I had and have some good ones!)—I was lucky to grow up with some very classic 1930s, 1940s, good-smelling, nice guy, positive-influence men in my childhood, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I do believe the fragrance here is somewhat dated, and they have a cologne by the same name, and it's all going back to like the 1800s, so it's beyond dated. Named after Newport, Rhode Island—meaning it's got a nautical theme going on (which just made me remember, did I have some cologne, as a kid, with a sailing ship on the bottle?)—sailors are a definite reference here. It reminds me, maybe, of some soap-on-a-rope I had as a kid, or maybe my dad had—maybe it was this one! This does come in a soap-on-a-rope version, I believe (and I have a birthday coming up, hint, hint). So the nostalgia factor here is out of control. I'll admit that—but as far as nostalgia goes, when it's this strong and intense, then, yeah, bring it on! (I just said that because that expression seems appropriate, somehow, in this case). The soap comes in one of those big oval or egg-shaped Caswell-Massey bar soap sizes, which retains its shape as it diminishes, just smaller and smaller. I'm as sorry to see it go as anything. It's a really lovely but intense, aggressive, dark green or blue color, depending on your gender (like the green or blue light on the top of the Seattle Space Needle)—it was brought to my attention that there's a certain in-between blue and green color that women see as one, and men see as the other, (and Mark Twain sees as indicative of something). I'm not sure which is which, but does it really matter? It might, in this case, since I would say this is a 100% manly man's soap—which isn't to say a woman couldn't use it—and in fact, if I met a woman who smelled like this soap, I'd ask her to marry me right then and there, even though I don't believe in marriage any more than I believe in the Easter Bunny—speaking of whom, if you're reading this today, you can skip the jelly beans, peeps, and dyed hardboiled eggs, and just put an egg of this soap in my Easter basket—and I'll leave you a complimentary pint of JTS Brown whiskey.

Soap Review No. 60