Have you been to a soap store? Yes a soap store. Chances are that you have been. I was in one just last week. These alcoves of bubbles and smells are filled to the brim and shopped by some of the best sniffers around. Not just by ladies either. Big burly he men also have been seen in soap stores. It’s really quite a foo foo-y experience. In other words your nose is bombarded with scents from all over kingdom come. And I’ll admit it, it was fun. ‘Course I am a girl!

In days gone by soap was made and use to clean up with, period. Cleanliness was not as prevalent in olden days as it is now. That need for soap to have a fruity or flowery or island breezy smell was not as important as just getting rid of the scent of sweat and the long horse ride home that would cling to bodies in those golden days. So soap was sometimes made with lye. Yes lye. The same stuff they put down in a newly dug outhouse to kill the smells that would soon be emitted from said hole. Just one of many reasons that makes me really glad I live in today’s world.

While I shopped and sniffed during my hour in that store I took time to notice some of the other shoppers. There seems to be as many different kinds of nose-aholics as there were scents to whiff at. Singular shoppers seemed to know what they wanted. They wasted no time in finding a sales person, asking for their preferred scent and they went on their way… Unless the sales person just happened to remember that there was a newer version of what was being asked for. Oh and now not only was that particular aroma in a soap, now it came in a lotion too. Oh goodie. Cha-Ching another sale!

Then there are those out shopping with friends and or family. These are the most fun to watch. They open and whiff and call over other members of the clan to each and every bottle or tube or jar in the store. Then here comes the sales gal again. She explains that one is like six bucks, but if you buy six it is only like twenty nine bucks so what a savings if everyone in the clan buys at least one or two. Then off they all go to pick and choose. Cha-Ching-a-ling.

This one bubble store had a new twist. They merged with a candle store next door. Truly. They banged out a hole in the wall and now you could just float on an air of spiced island and white tea scrub infused with tiny pearl beads for you face, right into island breeze and macadamia/coconut candles. Oh yes. A whole new world of jars to open and tickle you nose with. Coincidentally the candles and the soaps could be bought in the same flavors, how lucky can you get. Cha-Ching again.

Men on the other hand have either been dragged into the sniff store by their other halves or they stumbled in by mistake looking for a gift, but since they are there they too are enticed into opening and giving a whiff or two. But men do the testing differently. A lady usually just barely opens the bottle or jar and a quick intake of air. A man testing a candle opens the jar all the way, sticks his nose in until the wick is almost poking him then he inhales deeply. Funny, we humans are. And while a woman needs to test at least a dozen, a man usually buys the first thing he sniffs. I figure he just wants to escape the wonderful world of sniff-dom.

I loved getting a gift of delightfully scented cucumber and melon soap. So much so that while in that store recently I asked to buy some more. Oops. I was told by a cute little sales girl I was too late as that was such a last year scent. But wait, she beckons me to try this green tea and lemon grass. Or pomegranate and orange blossom. No, I wanted cucumber and melon. Besides being a great smell it was a pretty green color too. Oh don’t get me started on all the colors and how the marketing department has them all arranged and back lit just right. But as for cucumber and melon? Nope, No dice. But since I was in there I gave my nose a workout.

Finally, after overloading my sense of smell and getting carpal tunnel from opening jar after bottle after tube I settled on a delightfully new aroma of cilantro and Georgia peach, in a soap. Pretty nice—but of course this was the one and only one not available in a candle!

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at itybytrina@yahoo.com. Really!

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