As a little girl, my favorite part of grocery shopping was hitting the detergent and soap aisle. I would hold each bar of soap up to my nose, inhaling deeply, going back and forth before finally selecting the set of three that was to come home with us and accompany me into my suds filled world. Truth be told, it got so bad that I used to try to take a bite of the soapbar. I distinctly thought that anything that smelled that good should taste that good – but, alas, every taste of various soapbars did nothing but confirm that soap bites the tongue. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t ever able to tolerate even a corner of a soapbar. Which, nevertheless, did not stop the urge to want to take a bite. Even still, I pick my favorite smells when I hit the aisle, inhale deeply, and throw it into the cart with a satisfied grin. That’s usually as far as the obsession goes…at least, until lately.
Lately – and maybe it’s my pregnancy super-smell that has triggered this – but I have been searching for the perfect bar of soap again. Recently, I bought a package of Dial, even though I still had a few bars of Ivory left, because the orange deodorizing bar reminds me of my father’s mother – it was the soap that she always used. The house was filled with the smell of Dial soap. I would catch a whiff on my skin and get excited about hopping into the tub again. I even thought about tasting it – I may have given it a lick before deciding that "Yup…it still tastes horrible!" And it lathers so well! That’s the best part! I lather, rinse, repeat….and then I start the process over again a couple of times until my nostrils are so full of soapy smell, and every inch of my body is covered with bubbles and I can rinse off with delight. Adding shampoo into the mix is simply too much – suds on my head, suds on my skin…it’s suds heaven.
But it hasn’t stopped with the urge to lather up during bath times. During one of the prepared childbirth classes, I discovered that one of the bathrooms had sinks that DIDN’T have that horrid pre-foamed soap – but instead had a creamy liquid soap that created mounds of lathery goodness. Despite my full bladder, I would run to this bathroom, which was not as convenient, just so that I could wash my hands a couple of times with this soap. I get really excited when I find lathery soap in bathrooms at grocery stores and hotel bathrooms (I’m here for a comic convention! Don’t judge me!) and even, squee, the teacher’s bathroom at school.
I’m running out of Dial soap – and I’ve been thinking that maybe this time I’ll go out and pick up some Tone or Caress, or maybe even some Zest…that’s what my mother’s mother used to use. And, even though my soap addiction is weird (I occasionally wonder if I need to see someone about this, but it doesn’t really impede my ability to live life, so…whatevs…) the connection that I have to the smell of my loved ones – especially my deceased loved ones – that is connected to my sense of smell is so strong that surround myself in their scents, their favorite scents and smells (I still get all misty-eyed when I catch a whiff of my grandfather’s favorite Obsession. And I cannot resist inhaling deeply when someone passes by wearing the distinct smell of my first love’s Old Spice…and I cannot help but gag at the smell of the cheaper deodorant he switched to…Speed Stick)
So yeah, I guess it makes sense that as I’m about to bring my own little one into the world, a world without the help and support and love of my grandmothers, that I would go back to what is comfortable, and seek solace in the embrace of their smells, even if not their corporeal forms.