Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance of Lotion Past

Dear The Makers of Jergens Lotion:

I have a distressing story to report. Apparently you've messed with one of my most cherished childhood memories. And you're lying about it. This makes me sad, enraged, and gives me something to write about on my blog. So at least something positive is coming out of my distress. I mentioned the distress, didn't I?

Let me back up and explain. I was a little girl in the 1970s, which means I owned a ballerina jewelry box.

Exhibit 1.
Actually, it belonged to my sister. But we both kept our plastic bracelets and cereal-box treasures in it. Probably because our mother, who was very practical and frugal, didn't see the point of buying two ballerina jewelry boxes when neither of us owned enough cheap trinkets to fill one up, and besides unless they were completely identical we would just bitch about which of us got the nicer one. Well, I would have bitched, because by default everything my sister had was nicer than mine. Also, if someone gave us each one of a pair of stuffed dolls or animals that were the same except that one was a boy and one was a girl whatever-it-was, I always got the boy. Just like I always had to be Bamm-Bamm when we played Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm paper dolls. Apparently I gave off a pretty butch vibe when I was five.

Not that Bamm-Bamm was all that butch.
Dear God, where are that boy's nipples?
I'm getting to the point.

My sister's jewelry box smelled like Jergens Lotion. I don't know why; I suppose at some point one of us had spilled our grandmother's Jergens Lotion in it, and the scent lingered. We were always borrowing  our grandmother's Jergens Lotion to pretend we were old enough to have dry grandmother skin. I loved that smell. I could totally identify the smell of Jergens Lotion from 20 paces in a blindfold while walking the plank with hungry sharks nipping at my toes.

I imagine this would tend to make a difficult task
more stressful, although I have no firsthand experience.
And throughout my life, long after my sister's ballerina jewelry box disappeared into the safety deposit box of memory, I could never smell Jergens Lotion without thinking about it, and my lost childhood, fondly.

Nowadays the smell of Jergens Lotion is pretty rare. There are approximately 12,000 froufy brands of high-end bath and body products that women can slather all over themselves, and from the smell of things many women use 80% of them at once. Really, ladies, back off. Pick a fragrance and layer it on judiciously. Don't mix and match, and don't consider a a 16 oz. container of lotion to be a one-time-use sample size. It's offensive, and makes women as a gender look stupid and crazy. We have the Republican Party to do that, we don't to help them along via intemperate use of toiletries.

My point is, you don't catch a whiff of Jergens Lotion as often as you used to. Which is why I was thrilled when I opened the latest issue of my women's magazine and found a sample of Jergens Lotion inside. And not just a sample, but one that was proudly labeled "Original Scent."

I ripped that shit opened and put in on my hands, my neck, my legs. Hey, it's November, and I'm getting scaly, OK?

I brought my freshly lotioned hand up to my nose and inhaled. It smelled...all right. Not unpleasant. In fact quite reminiscent of the Jergens Lotion I remembered.

But original scent? I don't think so.

I'd know it anywhere.
I will remember the scent of Jergens Lotion for the rest of my life, long after I lose my capacity for sight, taste, sexual stimulation, and other less important sensations. I loved the smell of Jergens Lotion. It's as much a part of my 1970s upbringing as burning incense and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer on my daddy's breath when he kissed me good night.

Unforgettable, is what I'm saying. And the sample you provided wasn't it.

How disappointing.

Also, my dog licked my hand shortly after I put on the sample and had kind of a weird fit. His tongue kept darting stiffly in and out of his mouth, and eventually he had to go in the backyard and lick rainwater off the grass. And then my left wrist got sort of rashy.

This is not the original Jergens Lotion that I remember from my childhood. And that makes me sad.

Yet you're advertising that it is. And that makes me a little pissed off.

So I won't be purchasing any Jergens Lotion, based on this episode of three-pronged disappointment. Believe me, if it actually smelled the way I remembered it, I would say screw a little skin irritation and whatever the hell was going on with my dog after he licked it. Those things are minor annoyances if I can relive the memory of my younger years in lotion form. Otherwise, you know, not so much.

Maybe you should test-market your product to some 40-something ladies like me and see if it really passes muster as Original Scent Jergens Lotion. Until then, please be more careful how you advertise to women who may go She-Hulk if you bullshit their memories.

I think I'll burn some incense now.

Chuck Baudelaire


  1. I was just sure you'd bring up Rose Milk Lotion - the smell of which could launch a thousand memories....

  2. Weird that our sensory memory can be so accurate.
    I can't do the super scented lotions these days, makes my skin and nose burn. If I were to touch any I might have to get all over some rainwater grass too:P


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