Lowering the Bar


Bar soap. I know that back in the 50’s, bar soap was very cool. I remember the clean, white bars of Ivory that would float in the tub. And the pretty pink Cameo bars that Grandma had. Then soap started to get “fancy”, and we had the Dove commercials claiming that it was ¼ cleansing cream. Zest offered “shampoo lather”, and you could cut a bar of Irish Spring and see the “double deodorant” inside. Yes, bar soap was delightful, and taking that clean, smooth bar out of the box, and being the first to use it was the best. If you lived alone, bar soap was great, but if you had to share the bar of soap with others, it could get mighty sketchy. (Spoiler alert here…this could get ugly, and definitely not for the squeamish!)


The thing about bar soap is that after its first use, there is ALWAYS something stuck to it, or dirty bubble marks left on it. Once the virgin bar has taken its first voyage, there is no going back. It’s not so bad if it’s your own bubble marks, or other residue left behind, but when there’s a chance it belongs to someone else, that’s where I draw the line. OK, I’m not a sharer!


What is surprising is to observe how many people will continue to use a bar of soap in a public place, even after such residue is deposited on the bar. I recently witnessed a situation where there was a rather long hair immediately left behind on the first use of a bar of soap. Since then, the hair has moved to a different location and configuration on the bar each time I’ve visited the bathroom. So, my conclusion is that not only did the person who donated the hair not notice it, or care to remove it, but the subsequent users went right ahead and washed up with this hair-laden bar again and again.


Growing up with bar soap did not prevent me from growing to loathe it. For my younger years, it was all we had. We didn’t know any better. And then, enter the liquid pump soap! What a concept! Suddenly, you could wash your hands without exchanging germs with the person who used the bar of soap just before you. You could pump yourself some shower gel, and never again have to navigate around whatever mysterious item was stuck to the bar of soap used previously by your roommate. Ahhh…liquid soap! I’ll take the pumper over the hair every time!


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