Monday, September 01, 2008


When I get into the shower every morning, there is a certain reassuring Comfort Factor that arises from the familiar presence of the orange bar of Dial soap in the soap dish.

I don’t mind a little variety in my morning soap, but the Missus is a confirmed Dial acolyte. Not just Dial, but Dial Orange. None of those fancy-pants multicolored updates for her: it must be Dial Orange. Only then has she the self-confidence to face the day secure in the knowledge that she is protected against the dread Pit-Stink.

So important is that daily Morning Communion with that orange-colored bar, that She Who Must Be Obeyed will take a bar with her when she travels. No skanky little bars of Hotel Soap for her. Only Dial will do.

Every type of soap has its own peculiarities and its own army of adherents. I remember Ivory, its snow-white color and distinctive aroma, its sharp edges and corners, from small-kid days. And Dial - for we were also a Dial family long before I met SWMBO.

The Dial bar was a straightforward object back in the day, a blocky rectangular prism with slightly convex faces and beveled edges. In more recent years, it has changed somewhat, its faces now being slightly concave. Novelty for the sake of novelty? A recommendation from marketing focus groups? Is it easier to grip?

There seems to have been yet another redesign lately. The last package I got contains bars with a dramatically scooped-out underside, almost like a soapy airfoil. Art for art’s sake... or a sneaky way to make each bar a little lighter?

Regardless, we’ll continue to soap ourselves with Orange Dial. I’ve tried others, never with much success.

When Irish Spring came out - was it in the early 1970’s? - I tried a bar or two in spite of the ridiculous hyper-ethnic advertising that featured a horde of riverdancing bogtrotters dressed up in Kelly green, soaping themselves while leprechauns hopped around in the greensward. I don’t know what the hell they made that stuff with (potatoes? poteen?), but it melted away like butter on a hot griddle. No staying power whatsoever... just 99 and 44/100ths percent blarney.

Jewish Spring was just as disappointing. The bars were durable (like the Jewish people themselves, perhaps), yet despite the advertising (“Now with the moisturizing power of pure chicken schmaltz!”), I never felt especially clean and moist. Maybe a little nearsighted.

So it was back to Dial... and having been married to SWMBO for 31 years, I guess Dial is here to stay.

At least the new aerodynamic shape makes it easier to wash them nasty little hairs off of the bar so the Missus doesn’t find ’em.

What’s your favorite soap?

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