Wednesday, November 22, 2006

That Clean-Baby Smell

Love's Baby Soft

Love’s Baby Soft keeps cropping up lately. After I mentioned it in a comment on Tinarama, Tina immediately sent me an e-mail to let me know how much she used to love it and that it can still be purchased, approximately 30 years after what I had presumed was its hey-day. Then LeLo, totally independently, brought it up in the comments to this post about phallic packaging. Then today, as I was getting my hair colored, my stylist happened to mention it (as well as the overly astringent, vaguely Janitor-in-a-Drumlike Jean Naté, yet another fragrance of a bygone era).

What is it about Love’s Baby Soft that so resonates with all of us? Surely, the freak-ass ad campaign featuring a JonBenet precursor had nothing to do with it?

As a kid of about 11 or 12, I remember hanging around the drug store perfume counter trying all the testers of grandma perfumes (White Shoulders, Emeraude, Tabu), and then discovering Love’s Baby Soft—the only one that didn’t knock me off my feet with its cloying sweetness. Perhaps, I really did think, “Yes. Innocence is sexy!” or maybe I just liked that “clean-baby smell,” as they chose to describe it in the ad copy. Anyway, I bought a bottle when I was in junior high and I think I kept it (the same bottle) until I was in my late 20s. I sure know how to nurse a bottle of perfume or cologne or whatever the heck it was!

I got the photo above from this Web site, and I was shocked to discover that I have used just about every product shown on the page: Midol, Stayfree MaxiPads (ugh!), Herbal Essence shampoo, Lip Smackers (I had the Hires Root Beer flavor!), Noxema (ugh, again!), and Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific. I must have been a lot more susceptible to the advertising in Seventeen magazine than I realized.

One thing the site showed that I didn't fall prey to was Farrah Fawcett shampoo. Oh, how many girls at my school tried and failed to achieve that Farrah look! Smart move on the part of Faberge to start marketing that shampoo—as if Farrah's hairstyle had anything to do with shampoo and not everything to do with hot rollers, blow dryers, curling irons, and professional show-biz hair stylists. I’m sure the shampoo sold like gangbusters anyway, at least for a while.

Coincidentally, I just happened to find out today (while reading People at the hair salon) that Farrah has anal cancer!* I didn’t even know there was such a thing as anal cancer, but there is (I looked it up). It’s fairly rare. How grim. I have to hand it to Farrah for even letting the press know she’s got such a disease. I think I would have tried to keep it quiet or at least been vague about the type of cancer. (I’ve had to recast the previous sentences about three times to avoid any turns of phrase that might be taken the wrong way.)

Speaking of the ‘70s…it’s time to for me to come clean about Chuck Mangione. Ha, ha, ha! I was lying!!!! I do not now nor have I ever owned any Chuck Mangione albums. That’s not to say that my father didn’t own every single album Chuck ever put out nor that our marching band (of which my dad was the band director) didn’t once do a show that featured “Hill Where the Lord Hides.” I may or may not still have the alto sax part memorized.

Mangione factoid: The VH1 Web site describes Chuck’s music as “purposely lightweight.” Who do they think they are? This is the man who wrote “Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor”!

*Everyone else has known about this for months, right?

Today’s Random NaBloPoMo blog: Open Vein


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