This particular day happened toward the end of my kitchen renovation. The light at the end of the tunnel beckoned – we actually had use of a sink after four and a half months and I needed a bottle of liquid antibacterial soap.
I was doing my usual power-walk up and down the rows when I spied a bright purple bottle that would complement my new decor. I snatched it. Next, I reached for the “summer green” colored bottle that I normally buy (or so I thought).
When I arrived home and unpacked my haul I found that I had embarked on a strange trip indeed. The purple soap’s label promised an “anti-stress” remedy! Pure essential oils of Lavender, Ylang-ylang & Patchouli pledged to cure the pressures of day-to-day life. The green liquid wasn’t my usual watermelon scent, but some “energy” boosting slime.
Okay, I’d give it a shot. Purple would go in the kitchen as planned, though now to battle germs and stress. (Stress, while renovating an old house? Can you say understatement?) The green, for energy, well, I’ve got teenagers who are in a constant state of groggy most mornings. The green would take up residence in the bathroom. Its pure essential oils of Mandarin & Ginger, with Green Tea Extract sounded as if it should be ingested, but we’d suds up with it.
As I placed the soap in the bathroom, much to my surprise, I noticed that my deodorant had also been affected. I hadn’t noted when, but, according to the label, it had morphed into an “ambition” enhancing schmear. Now, I’ve worked in a few competitive and uber creative shops and I’ve smelled ambition. I guarantee it doesn’t smell as flowery as the unidentified fragrance in my platinum underarm protection. I pondered the process... Is ambition absorbed directly into the pores or inhaled at inconspicuous times during the course of a day to intensify one’s life experience? I wondered when Shower Fresh, Spring Breeze, and Powder Fresh had become passé.
A few days later, I returned for another aerobic jaunt through the grocery. I stopped dead in my tracks in aisle number nine. It was everywhere – aroma therapy run-amok. Bottles and containers beckoned from the shelves. I stared at the deodorants. I couldn’t believe that my platinum protection could now not only supply a fresh dose of “ambition” but “optimism” as well. Optimism captured in an underarm solid? Look out Prozac!
The jewel colored purple and green ooze had apparently also been incorporated into a dish formula and bodywash with the same stress and energy promises. A new line of cleansing products with a brand name that sounded conspicuously like a meditation mantra… “ooohhhhmmmm” offered an assortment of soaps, bodymists, bodywashes and exfoliating scrubs with scents like citrus & ginger, sandalwood & chamomile, and jasmine & rose to name a few… promising soothing tonics and calming aromas. Yes! Goodbye yoga, pilates, and transcendental anything. I’ve found enlightenment in a bottle.
And then, there it was, at the very end of the aisle as if standing guard -- the mother of all scent seducers -- that herbal shampoo that’s over 99% natural and plant derived and comes oh-so-close to guaranteeing ecstasy using only Chamomile, Aloe Vera, and Passion Flower immersed in mountain spring water. How did that little blue pill ever come to be when twenty-five ounces of this stuff can be had for $4.89 (even less with double or triple coupons)?
I blame all of this on that age-old slogan -- “Calgon, take me away,” – promising tired and overwrought women a short vacation in the tub long before spa retreats were in vogue. Today, in addition to their perennial non-foaming formula, they’re marketing tiny two ounce bottles of take-me-away bodymist promising “A burst of well-being” and “A feeling of bliss” with directions to “spritz all over, anytime for an uplifting ‘take me away’ experience.”
What’s next? With promises in plastic everywhere, the possibilities seem endless. Can “Ignore the in-laws - the Holiday Scent” be far away? Lucky Lotto lotion? Romance in a roll-on? Pot-o-gold potpourri? We can only hope.