One of the amazing revelations that has come out of the coronavirus pandemic for me is that fact that a stunning number of Americans weren't washing their hands before the virus hit.
I'm not exactly sure how we know this, but all the experts have been on TV for months telling us how to properly wash our hands, something I thought was self-explanatory or at least something our mothers would taught us when we were little kids.
I wash my hands on a regular basis, and I'm proud to say I did so even before the pandemic. I wash my hands after I go to the bathroom. I wash my hands many times while I'm cooking. I think we all know to wash out hands after handling raw chicken. But I wash my hands after chopping celery and onions, too. I wash my hands after I take Milly out and pick up the little indiscretions she leaves on the ground, even though I use a plastic bag to pick them up.
Since the pandemic, we've been very serious about cleanliness at work. We wipe down the news studio, where we anchor our newscasts, and other shared workspaces. There's plenty of hand sanitizer around. And management always makes sure there is an ample supply of soap in the restrooms and the breakroom.
But at the beginning of the pandemic – and here's the point of today's column – I had an issue with soap in the men's room. It smelled. More specifically, it smelled like blueberries and coconuts, which, come on, you must admit is a bizarre combination of scents.
I don't want my hands to smell like coconuts, and I don't want my hands to smell like blueberries. And I can't fathom a scenario when anyone would want their hands to smell like blueberries and coconuts.
That's the problem with soaps today. Every kind of soap you can imagine, from the bar soap you use in the shower to the laundry detergent you use to wash your clothes has to have some kind of scent. For instance, the detergent I use in the dishwasher is lemon-scented and the dish soap I use is grapefruit-scented, although for the life of me I can't understand why I want my dishes to smell like citrus fruit. Is that really a refreshing scent?
The bar soap I use is spring-scented. Whatever that means. It was the least offensive scent I could find.
Laundry detergent is the worst. I don't want my clothes to smell like a mountain breeze or a tropical paradise. One brand I often buy now has a geranium-blossom-and vanilla-scented version, another odd combination of scents. I'm glad I didn't accidentally pick up a bottle.
The truth is, I don't want my clothes to smell at all. That's why I'm washing them.
And I feel the same way about my hands. When they are clean, they shouldn't smell at all.
We finally used all the blueberry-and-coconut soap, and I was intrigued by what would replace it. I was sorely disappointed. The new soap is fresh-basil-and-lime scented.
"That sounds like the ingredients in one of your cocktails," a coworker said.
Actually, I've never used basil in a drink, although I do frequently use fresh mint in them. But I don't want mint-scented soap, either.
Maybe I'll just keep a bar of Ivory soap at the office.