Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Philosopher's Bathroom

When I came out of the changing room in Virgin Active today I was confronted with a large poster advertising L'Oreal Men Expert "Hydra Energetic" skin care products. I couldn't miss it because it was right bang in front of me when I came through the door and I had to turn left to get past it. I gawped for a little while because I honestly couldn't see any difference at all between the two featured pictures that I imagine were intended to represent some sort of before and after syndrome. Can anyone enlighten me?

My personal hygiene regime doesn't really extend beyond shaving, brushing my teeth and showering regularly enough for folk to be able to stand downwind without risk. Moisturising and exfoliating are not for me I'm afraid.

Coincidentally, when I was over in Whitton for the Twickenham Beer Festival a couple of weeks ago, Bondy asked me if, in my newish single status, I had reverted to Wright's Coal Tar soap. I have of course, but I was amazed that he would enquire. Apparently - back in the 90s - I had told him that it was back in my life as one of the few small positives in the fallout from a previous romantic implosion.

Reassurance: friends that know you well and a handy lump of yellow carbolic that evokes a lost world of old school, uncomplicated, Alf Tupper masculinity.

Women in my life have gone for things like Dove. Well the reason that the "Dove beauty bar with 1/4 moisturizing lotion doesn't dry your skin like soap", is because (despite comprising Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, and Trisodium) it doesn't contain any soap.

For me, the nihilistic negation of Dove - a bar of soap with no soap in it - is intellectually untenable.

The Hegelian dialectic (thesis - coal tar, antithesis - soap, synthesis Wright's) implicit in my favourite surely offers more to the philosopher's bathroom.

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