When I hear the words Herbal Essences Body Envy I think of the generic fruity smell of women’s grooming products, brightly colored drugstore aisles, and the cubbies in girls’ shower stalls. Not the shower stalls in a fraternity house. This weekend my roommate and I found ourselves in such a place, after searching to no avail for the girls’ bathroom (It wasn’t until later that we came to the realization that we were, well, in a frat house). The opportunity was too good to pass up, so we did some reconnaissance. Old Spice and Axe? Not exactly. There was St. Ives Apricot Scrub, Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine, a Clarisonic scrubbing brush, a panoply of neon-colored loofas and yes, Herbal Essences Body Envy Shampoo.
I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this. Boys can wear pink and girls can wear blue and I should be appalled at myself for having such a heteronormative reaction. I was less shocked by the incongruity of the fruity body wash than I was delighted to catch a glimpse of someone’s daily routine that I didn’t expect to see.
Even the people I know most intimately continue to surprise me with bits and pieces of themselves. There are parts of your girlfriend’s life that will always be a mystery to you. Not that she is cheating on you, but maybe that she eats a Snickers bar every afternoon for a snack. Or maybe your boyfriend selects Garnier Fructis over Old Spice because he thinks it makes him smell better. Or maybe his Mom buys his toiletries and mails them once a month so that he stays clean. The little things. The important ones.
The look on a girl’s face when she dropped her mailbox key on the floor of the Post Office and the silent mob turned in line to stare. The guy in front of me in lecture whose White Hanes ComfortSoft T-shirt was on inside-out two days in a row. Fashion statement? Nervous breakdown?
These are the things I see. I want to know what you see. Ubiquity is a hard thing to achieve and the subject of my column requires that I be many places at once to catch glimpses of student life from hilarious to heartwarming to heinous. If you enjoy my column, enjoy reading about yourself (no shame in that), or enjoy reading about people like you, send me what you see and hear and I will do my best to keep you amused.
Share your thoughts with Renée at email@example.com.