I discovered pretty early on in life that I enjoy helping people. Not for notoriety, not for a pat on the back, I just enjoy making someone’s life a little easier for a brief time. I haven’t done anything great or heroic with my life; I never saved a family from a burning building, funded a hospital wing, or paid for someone’s education…I want to do these things, but I have found that I like to help people in my own way, and I hope that even if it’s just for an instant, I make someone’s load more bearable.
When I was teaching, I felt like I was making a difference in the world. I loved my job, I loved “my kids,” and I loved my class content. When my dad was sick, and then when my bean came along, I poured my everything into helping them. My bean continues to be my focus and motivation. However, like it or not, my baby is becoming a young adult, and she doesn’t need me in the ways she used to need me. Please feel free to insert a sad little sigh here.
With soap making, I still feel like I am helping people. It’s in a different way and not at all what I expected, but helping people to find products that are good for them, offer some relief, or make them feel more confident is rewarding in its own way. I am not cut out for the medical field, not at all. However, when your job is creating personal hygiene products, situations arise that lead you into very personal conversations, and I mean VERY personal. I make every effort to conduct myself as a professional. Still, at the end of the day, when one reviews their interactions with others, I sometimes think, “Wow, I would have never seen myself dealing with this situation in a million years!” Let me share some of the most interesting and titillating (you will soon see why I chose to use this word) conversations I have shared with soap family members.
While at an in-person show, I noticed a young woman with a stroller and a beautiful baby girl in that stroller. I was standing with my bib overall wearing wonder buns observing the crowd when the said young woman approached me. She said very quietly and very quickly, “Doyouhaveanythingfordrynipples?” I sensed her discomfort; honestly, I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly. Instinct kicked in, and I gently took the woman by the arm and moved her away from my husband, who often has the mentality of a juvenile delinquent. I find that I don’t give him enough credit for his maturity level, but with his behavior patterns, I never entirely trust his responses to personal conversations. Once out of The Bibbed Wonder’s earshot, I inquired about her little one and fussed over how adorable she was. I then asked the woman what I could help her find. She sheepishly told me she was looking for nipple cream because her “nipples are like dry, cracked pancakes.” I sympathized with her problem but realized I am an adoptive mother. I have no personal experience with breastfeeding, dry, cracked nipples, or the changes that take place in one’s nipples while breastfeeding. However, we live on a dairy goat farm, and if I am being transparent, titties are kind of a big part of our life.
The Bibbed Wonder often laments over the cruel sense of humor of the universe and its unfairness because he “always dreamed of living with a dirty woman and being able to touch boobies anytime he wants. His reality is his wife hates housekeeping and laundry, and he milks goats for a living.” His attempts at humor are often sad and somewhat pathetic. However, I digress. I see the condition of our goat’s teats after weeks of nursing little ones. Sometimes, our mama’s teats are dry, cracked, and sore. When this happens, we give them a little extra TLC and lather them with our unscented goat’s milk moisturizer. I assume no human nursing mother wants her situation compared to that of a farm animal, albeit a well-loved pet, so I keep my experience to myself and guide the new mom to our unscented products focusing on the unscented moisturizer. She gratefully accepts my advice, and I add one of our baby bars to her bag with the suggestion to use the bar on her “sore areas” and also on the baby. I hope my advice and products helped.
At this same show, an older gentleman and his wife were shopping. The gentleman announced to everyone within earshot that his wife was looking for a good moisturizer because “she has lizard skin on her feet!” First, I use the term gentleman loosely. No wife-fearing husband should announce the condition of any part of his wife’s body in an unflattering way in public or otherwise. Note, my bib overall wearing darling likes to tell people I have a tattoo. The tattoo began as a hummingbird on my belly, but now, it resembles more of a turkey vulture and is closer to my “private area.” Sigh. First, I have no tattoos…anywhere. Secondly, my husband is a jackass…which I say with love and respect…insert wink here. Again, his humor is misguided and pathetic. Imagining this older gentleman to be what I have to look forward to in the future, I feel for this poor woman. Of course, after his announcement, you know, dear reader, I’m going to take a look at those offending tootsies. Let me just say, the husband’s description was not wrong…. I shared with her GramBarb’s miracle recipe for a foot soak, Epsom salts, Dawn, and peroxide, which really does work like a dream to remove dead skin from one’s feet, advised her to use peppermint moisturizer on her feet multiple times a day, and added a peppermint soap just because I felt like she needed a little treat after years of marriage to a bib overall wearing wonder buns-like husband.
As is often the case, things happen in threes. At this same in-person show, an older lady approached me with an open, welcoming smile and announced, “goat’s milk soap is A-MAZING for crotch odor!” Ummm, okaaaaaay…. Dear reader, I had no idea how to respond. I smiled and mumbled, “Thank you, I think. That’s good to know.” It takes a lot to make me blush, but I am pretty sure this comment that caught me off guard turned my unsuspecting face bright pink. This dear oversharing woman doesn’t stop the conversation there, oh, no. She continues to tell me how the use of goat’s milk soap got her through menopause and “it was a real lifesaver!” As I stood there awkwardly smiling and wishing the floor would swallow me up or even that this conversation would just quietly end, she threw her arms around me and thanked me for making products to help so many different problems. She then apologized profusely for embarrassing me and “turning that beautiful face red, and by the way, you have beautiful skin! Goat’s milk soap is also great for the skin on your face!” Oy! There you have it; goat’s milk soap is great for your face and your hoo-ha! She purchased three soaps, and I was relieved she didn’t tell me for what or where she intended to use them. On a side note, she is not the first to say to me goat’s milk soap is excellent for crotch odor. However, a dear friend’s mother asked her hilarious daughter to pass along the information to me. Thank goodness this information was shared via text! And now, dear reader, you know too. You’re welcome!
Although my efforts are not earth-shattering, they do help some people at some level. For this, I am grateful. Even though the open discussion of pink parts and their odors tend to embarrass me and make me uncomfortable, I am happy to know that the products I make are helpful. All I ask is if you feel it necessary to share overly personal information with me, please do via text or email. I look like a red-necked turkey when I’m embarrassed, and that’s not a good look for me. Insert a wink.
I hope, dear reader, you have found my insights as laughable and entertaining as I. On this warm September day, stay safe, be smart, know that there is never a dumb or wrong question, just uncomfortable ones, and keep washing your hands and moisturizing your unmentionables…or what should be your unmentionables. Still, they are mentioned more often than you would think. Sigh.