– Cetaphil daily facial cleanser (for normal to oily skin), non-comedogenic(3)
– Bath & Body Works Pleasures brown sugar & fig shower gel(4)
– Bath & Body Works Pleasures brown sugar & fig(5) creamy body wash
– Bath & Body Works Pleasures brown sugar & fig bubble bath
– Suave BioBasics shampoo(6)
– Suave BioBasics conditioner
– Breathe Romance: honey & soy foaming bath milk — sensuous amber myrrh(7)(8)(9)
– Breathe Romance: high lather moisture wash (soap free) — sensuous amber myrrh(10)
– Breathe Romance: instant warmth gentle body scrub — sensuous amber myrrh(11)
– DonnaKaran(12) Cashmere Mist body cleansing lotion(13)
– Olay Body body wash plus lotion ribbons with aloe extract(14)(15)
– Bath & Body Works Pleasures Moonlight Path bubble bath, infused with real lavender extract(16)
– Bath & Body Works Skin Therapy skin renewal + body wash with natural exfoliators
– Clairol Herbal Essences Fruit Fusions Refreshing Shampoo.(17)(18)
– Equaline shave gel for women ultra protection against nicks & cuts with vitamin e(19)
– Hydrating body wash – fig – Pure Simplicity(20)
– Bath & Body Works Pleasures Moonlight Path shower gel infused with real lavender extract
– Neutrogena Deep Clean gentle scrub oil free microbeads gently exfoliate, Beta Hydroxy cleans deep into pores for soft, smooth skin(21)
– Nutrimetics Botanicals body exfoliating scrub(22) – watermelon (bottle almost empty)
– Bath & Body Works Skin Therapy Skin Conditioning + In-shower body moisturizer – Moonlight Path


– Soap


(1) List does not include the many similar items found on the shelf next to the shower.
(2) That is to say, the shower in the bathroom, both (the shower and the bathroom) used exclusively by my sisters.
(3) “So it won’t clog pores,” the bottle says, thus providing a contextual definition of “comedogenic” (“prone to clogging pores,” one assumes).
(4) You’d think brown sugar and fig would be enough food items for one shower gel, but the description on the back mentions some more: “This enticingly warm fragrance combines ripe fig, creamy coconut milk, caramelized brown sugar and soft, velvety musk.” If you’re keeping score, that’s an unbilled coconut milk, with a cameo by velvety musk, whatever that is.
(5) Who decided beauty products should be made of food, anyway? Doesn’t anyone think it’s weird to smear food all over your body outside of comedic context? (I know some people do it for romantic purposes, but that’s weird, too.)
(6) This is a knock-off brand. “Works as well as Biolage” (a registered trademark of L’Oreal), says the bottle.
(7) This represents my best guess at how this name should be punctuated and capitalized. As is common among these products, the bottle itself looks like an e.e. cummings poem, with the product name displayed exactly like this —


honey & soy
bath milk

amber myrrh

— but “breathe romance honey & soy foaming bath milk sensuous amber myrrh” is a rather unwieldy product name, so I have employed the colon-then-dash style of the “Star Wars” prequels, e.g., “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”
(8) Note also that I don’t exactly know what “bath milk” is.
(9) Note also that myrrh was one of the gifts of the Magi(a) and that despite its presence in Christian lore for more than 2,000 years, people still have no idea what to do with it, which explains why it is being deployed in bath milk(b)
(10) After the usual blurb about how luxuriant it is, the bottle has this warm recommendation:

And something for your soul: Let the sensuous scent of amber myrrh inspire true romance and total wellbeing whenever you need it most.

And then:

CAUTION: Avoid eye contact.
(11) Should you find yourself at a coffeehouse or beatnik poetry night sometime soon, feel free to use this piece:


instant warmth
gentle body

amber myrrh
(12) Sadly, Ms. Karan lost the space between her first and last names in a tragic fashion accident.
(13) To enhance pretentiousness, the bottle also includes the French description of both “body cleansing lotion” (“nettoyant pour le corps”) and “refillable tube” (“tube rechargeable”)
(14) Again, capital letters are in short supply. “Olay Body” is the line of products; everything else is the name of the actual product, I guess, though some of it might be descriptive in nature.
(15) “If you like the feel of a light lotion(c), use Olay body wash plus lotion ribbons. Only Olay adds an actual ribbon of lotion to seal in a light, fresh skin feel. The luxurious, fragrant lather swirls across your body(d), visibly improving skin in just 5 days. Ribbons have the power to make everything more beautiful(e).”
(16) “Lavender. Roses. Violets and musk. These are the heady scents of a garden at midnight blended into a soft and sensual fragrance.”
(17) The specific fruits you’ll be rubbing all over yourself are, in English and French, pomegranate/grenade; lychee/litchi; and persimmon/kaki. Did you know “grenade” was French for “pomegranate”? That’s awesome!
(18) This product wins the award for Most Poetic Description. Here it is, in full. Note the alliteration and other poetic devices:

“Delight in a world of luscious exhilaration and unleash the power of your beautifully refreshed hair. Infused with hand-picked essences of Pomegranate, Lychee and Persimmon, this luxurious formula:

• Enhances silkiness, soothing stressed tresses with balanced moisture
• Leaves hair soft, luminous and light, enhanced with essences blended from coconut and palm oils.

DIRECTIONS: Drench hair and invigorate it with the rich, luscious lather. Excite your senses and enjoy the delicious fragrance. Rinse when ready.”(f)
(19) Another knock-off. “Compare to Skintimate.” You can tell it’s trying to be high-class by the lack of capital letters.
(20) “Pure nature. Pure skin care. Pure results.” After some babbling about how super-duper figs are, we get this bit of advice: “And to nourish your spirit, make time every day to read something you enjoy.” Thanks, body wash. Thanks for thinking of my spirit.
(21) It all runs together like this in my notes. I don’t know where the product name ends and the product description begins. I do know that “deep clean gentle scrub” has about four oxymorons in it.
(22) (gommage pour le corps)


(a) (the biblical ones, not the ones who sold their pocketwatches to buy one another hairbrushes and so forth)
(b) (whatever that is)
(c) And who doesn’t?
(d) This sounds creepy.
(e) I have some serious reservations about the truthfulness of that last statement.
(f) Note that it is possible to read the directions — “Drench”? “Invigorate”? “Excite”? — and still not know what you’re actually supposed to do.

If you have read any of David Foster Wallace's nonfiction works, you will know where I got the idea of having long, explicative footnotes. I had just read his most recent collection of essays, "Consider the Lobster" (highly recommended for thoughtful, often funny prose, though you can skip the first chapter, about the Academy Awards of porno, if you want to) when this column occurred to me, and so the concept was fresh in my mind.

I wrote about my sisters' shower once before, after another trip to California to visit the ancestral Snider homestead. Two columns derived from one bathroom -- a bathroom I only encounter a couple times a year -- is a pretty good average, I think.