Soap is nice to have around. It cleans skin and dishes and clothes, and leaves all three with a pleasant scent. Pleasant in mild doses, at least. If you stand in the soap aisle too long, it can knock you out with a powerful blast of olfactory overload.
Have you ever taken a good look at the soap aisle?
Cold water this, unscented that, color coordinated other. For something with such a basic purpose, soap is a pretty impressive industry. For women, at any rate. A woman doesn't just choose a soap; she does a background check. "Does it contain moisturizers? I can't touch shea butter. Aloe is fine, but lanolin leaves me greasy. Hmm... No, I don't think I like that scent. I take my showers in the evening, and grapefruit is too invigorating. Isn't there any lavender? Oh, I like this kind, but it doesn't go with my bathroom wallpaper."
And so on. Guys have a much more practical approach to buying soap. "It was at the end of the aisle when I was going by. Whaddaya mean, what's in it? It's soap! There's soap in it."
I decided to give soapmaking a try. Not having the cash or kitchen space to do the real thing with lye and lard, I settled for a nice melt-and-pour glycerin soap base. A few essential oils to make it smell nice, a little cornmeal to give it scrub power, and a brief wait. Soon there were six shiny white bars lined up on the counter. I gloated over my newfound do-it-yourself prowess. Think of the money we'd save! Think of the nifty Christmas gifts these could be!
Think of the fact that my husband was on his way home, filthy from a day of hard work. I put a fresh bar of my homemade soap in the shower.
Greetings and kisses exchanged, the man of the house headed to the bathroom to scrape off the day. I had told him that very morning that I would be making soap, and I waited to hear the exclamation of surprise and delight that was sure to be forthcoming.
Shower running... Sounds of sputtering as he rinses his hair... More shower sounds...
By the time he was re-dressed and rubbing his hair with a towel, I realized that he must be too impressed to say anything. I decided to be subtle.
"Whadja think of the soap I made?!
He paused. "Oh! Well, it's... really soapy. It made bubbles and everything!" Noticing my level gaze, he continued his praise. "It, uh... made me feel really clean. My skin is very happy." We stared at each other for a moment, then burst out laughing.
Can't complain about happy skin, I guess. I'm glad he's not allergic to shea butter...