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Friday, February 17, 2012

It Sounded Good On Paper: Soap On A Rope

         Back when I was in high school--this would have been about 1968--I was looking through my mother's Avon catalog and saw this incredible product they called "Soap on a Rope".  Now how cool is that!  I'd say most of you have seen this product and it is still available from various outlets.  I know because I have a bar of it.

          Now I'm not going to comment except in passing about soap on a rope being something you'd see men using in prison.   This soap is not as cheap as regular soap so I don't think prisoners with limited funds would be buying this product and for that matter I don't whether the prison commissaries would even make this available. But I really have no idea and I don't guess I really want to know that badly.

          Some of the product advertising I've seen for soap on a rope tout it as being good for elderly folks or people with physical disabilities.  I can understand the point they're making about this, but I wonder if that market is very widespread.

          I have a tendency to believe that soap on a rope is mostly a novelty item for dopes like me.  For that brief period in high school I became a soap on a rope dope.  Yeah, my mother bought me the soap and I used it until it was gone.  But the fact was that I couldn't cope with being a soap on a rope dope.  It was kind of weird soap to use actually.

         That was the only bar of soap on a rope that I recall ever having until a few years ago when my wife gave me this gift set from Macy's that included various men's toiletry items.  The soap was one of the freebies that came with the primary product which was cologne and after shave.

        My wife loves it when Macy's has those specials when they throw in a bunch of free gifts.  I'm sure most of you ladies out there know what I'm talking about.   You should see all the various sorts of carry bags and pouches she has.  And I got some soap on a rope.

         So I took my soap on a rope and hung it on the wall next to the medicine cabinet.  It's like a peculiar piece of art that most people never see.  I don't even see it most of the time--or I guess maybe I just take it for granted since it's been there for so long.

         Occasionally I might accidentally hit it when I'm opening the medicine cabinet and then it just kind of swings there like a pendulum without a clock. When that happens I usually pause for a moment to look at the soap still wrapped in plastic like Laura Palmer (an obscure reference that some may recognize).   Then I'll forget about it until the next time I think about it.

          According to one source I found, soap on a rope first came about in the mid-1800s.  Then in 1949 the product was reintroduced by the company that makes English Leather men's cologne.  Oh yeah, I've got a bottle of that stuff that's been sitting around for probably longer than I've had the soap on a rope.   Where'd that come from anyway?   I'll have to do a post about English Leather some other time I guess.

          So anyway, I guess soap on a rope gets a periodic revival from companies who think it's a cool idea and then new dopes develop soap on a rope hopes.  Or they get it free in some gift set or somebody gives it to them as a gag gift.

           Soap on a rope doesn't seem all that practical to me.   But it does make for kind of a unique wall-hanging.



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53 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

Do I get a prize? I got the Laura Palmer reference without following the link!!

jabblog said...

Soap on a rope was a swiftly passing phase in my life.

I had to look up English Leather - I'd only heard of Imperial Leather:-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife had a little one that hung for so long, the soap began to evaporate.

Talli Roland said...

Soap on a rope! I remember that! I guess it was a passing phase as it seems to have disappeared from the market.

Tina said...

Lee - THIS is how I want to start every morning. Uncontrollable giggles at 5:40 am MST. You should impersonate Dave Barry - cuz you're that funny as proven by the fact that a post about a dude who's a dope with a soap on a rope chooses humor to cope with the stress (of this scope) while giving other hope that they too can cope. Love ya' man!

Tina @ Life is Good

Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Twitter:
@AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Anna Smith said...

You get tonnes of novelty soap on a ropes over here at Christmas, including Darth Vader shaped ones! Hanging on a wall is a cool idea I might try that :)

Ciara said...

I remember soap on a rope. We actually ordered some for Spinal Cord patients when I was a therapist. It worked for them.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I think hubby had one of those when we were first married. I don't think he ever used it. Probably one of those "this will do" type gifts that people give.

DEZMOND said...

Lee, I didn't know AVON was older than moi? :)
I've kicked all soap out of my cassa, it's not practical and it leaves bigger stains in the sinks. I use liquid handwash gels everywhere and shower gels.

DEZMOND said...

PS love your new banner :)

Richard said...

I wonder if Andy Warhol ever painted a picture of "Soap on a Roap"?

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My first thought re the Laura Palmer reference was proved correct!

(Although I'm not exactly sure what it says about me that I knew that...) :)

kirstenlopresti said...

Soap on a rope? Never used it, but the kids love those soaps with toy frogs and ladybugs and stuff inside.

Melissa Bradley said...

LOL Soap on a Rope, Man do I remember that. My creepy aunt had one haging on her bathroom door. She used it an air freshener. And I love the reference to Twin Peaks and Laura Palmer. I so obsessed with that show.

YeamieWaffles said...

My brother actually got a Ted Baker soap on a rope a few years back although it's supposed to be a novelty, classic, throwback look more than anything I guess. I am a big fan of the concept though!

Liza said...

Hmmm. I remember bringing all my spare change to Woolworth's to buy Christmas presents. Pretty sure I got soap on a rope for one of my brothers.

Suze said...

'I have a tendency to believe that soap on a rope is mostly a novelty item for dopes like me.'

That is an incredibly endearing articulation. :)

Lee, you have a way of inviting people into your words by softly chuckling at your own expense. It's brilliant.

Arlee Bird said...

Annalisa -- So is this direct knowledge from when the show first aired? Do you remember the show promos where Jack Nance says "...wrapped in plastic" in reference to Laura Palmer's body. What a great show!

Jabblong-- I once got a bottle of Russian Leather. Maybe it's all the same stuff with different names.

Alex -- Maybe that's why they seal it in plastic wrap.

Talli -- If you look hard enough I think you could find it. I know it's available on the internet.

Tina -- Glad to have started your day off like that. I think.

Anna -- Oooh! Darth Vader soap may be destined to become a collectible.

Ciara -- I'm sure soap on a rope has it's practical uses.

Delores -- Or one of those sounds good on paper type of thoughts. I've bought many things like that.

Dezmond -- I would imagine that Avon is older than me. They've been around for awhile. I have several bottles of shower gel but I haven't gotten used to using it.
Banner was created by A to Z co-host Jeremy from Retro-Zombie.

Richard -- If Andy Warhol ever did paint soap on a rope, I wonder if he painted it more than once and in different colors.

Madeline -- Your knowledge of the Laura Palmer reference says that you have good taste in weird TV programming.

Kirsten -- Sounds like the CrackerJack version of soap--a prize in every bar.

Melissa -- I was a huge fan of Twin Peaks. Then again I like all things David Lynch.

Matthew YW-- Some of those novelty soaps on ropes are probably never really intended for practical use. One might start a collection of the themed soaps.

Liza -- Woolworth's--that's a blast from the past. Funny, I was just reminiscing with someone yesterday about that great store.

Suze -- And you have a way of making me feel flattered. Thank you for that kind comment.

Lee

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

There actually was a practical side to the soap on a rope. (Above and beyond the one you alluded to in the prison setting.) If the soap is hanging on a hook, it doesn't get all mushy and slimy in the soap dish. And English Leather? Mmmmm, my favorite scent from yesteryear. When my husband was in Vietnam, I'd put a dab of his cologne on my pillowcase at night. English Leather, of course.

Stephen Tremp said...

This brings back memories hahaha. Soap on a rope. Wow. Takes me back. I'd get one for Christmas and think it was a pretty cool gift.

You can always carve it. Make art out of it. Or juggle them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. I'm sure these things come in 12 year generation themes - so the next lot down buy into it. I remember soaps on a rope and I'm sure I've seen it around today ..

From the Wiki site - 1957:

“Cussons Imperial Leather is the choice of men of fame and men of promise. It is the choice of men of good taste.”

So there - just delighted I associate with such highbrow men, who have excellent taste ..

Enjoy your soap even more .. cheers Hilary

Eve said...

Whenever I see soap on a rope I always think of Jerry Seinfeld saying, "What's the point of soap on a rope? Incase you're in the shower and you want to hang yourself? Why is it so popular...because it rhymes? You don't see shaving cream on a wooden beam."
OMG, I laughed so hard!

Joanne said...

Am I crazy or was there a commercial for this at one time?
Blessings, Joanne

Journaling Woman said...

Honestly, people will buy anything. Soap on a rope. Hmm, makes me think I need to come up with something ridiculous and get rich.

It's true, I remember soap on a rope, but I don't understand it.

T

Ros said...

I bought a soap on a rope for a friend who was raised in Australia and therefore LIKED spiders... This one was plain white soap, and when you had used it, inside was a black plastic spider. She loved it. I think.

Anita said...

I don't think I've thought of soap on a rope since we "owned" one.

Who sings "Thanks for the Memories?" Bobe Hope? :)

Carol said...

I don't think I ever had soap on a rope. Seems just odd.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Lee, yes - direct knowledge. Great show, very confusing... And more so for me because it aired between 9 and 10 in the evening, and I babysat until 9.45. So the parents would come home and I wouldn't see the last 10 minutes.

Try watching a confusing show, and not seeing part of the story, every single week!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I didn't know you could still get soap on a rope. The fact that it comes as part of a freebie is even better!

Arlee Bird said...

Susan -- My wife is the opposite--she intensely dislikes English Leather. I'm insistent on finishing the darn bottle so I just use it on the days when she's at work and won't be around me all day.

Stephen Tremp-- I'd probably want to remove the rope to juggle them, but the bar I have is a good weight and size for juggling.

Hilary -- I haven't seen or tried Imperial Leather. What's with all of these leathery colognes anyway?

Eve -- Love the Jerry Seinfeld line. And yes, I think part of the reason I liked it was the name.

Joanne -- There very well could have been a commercial for soap on a rope, but I guess I missed it.

Teresa -- You and me both. Gotta come up with some crazy idea that will get us rich quick.

Ros -- A spider in the soap could be quite a surprise.

Anita -- The older I get the more memories I can't remember.

Carol -- A life without soap on a rope is a life deprived. You need some soap on a rope.

Annalisa -- If you did see the last 10 minutes each week would you have known what's going on. I need to get the DVD set so I can rewatch Twin Peaks and see if it makes any more sense now.

Lee

Arlee Bird said...

Jenn -- I guess you can find just about anything on the internet these days.

Lee

cestlavie22 said...

I have heard of Soap on a Rope as a joke. Never actually seen this in person nor do I see a practically use for it. I wonder if it would be uncomfortable to use?

Linda Hoye said...

Great post, Arlee. Thanks for making me smile as I recalled past soap-on-ropes I have known!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My husband has had a few soap on a rope items over the years. Like you, he doesn't use them but hangs them up someplace. They're actually pretty good air fresheners.

Arlee Bird said...

LaVie --Not uncomfortable to use, but kind of weird.

Linda - So you've known a few?

Susan -- Maybe I should take the plastic wrap off so I could use mine as an air freshener.

Lee

Ella said...

My Mom sold Avon when I was a kid! I remember round soap on a rope. I remember a lot of jokes and huh moments. Thanks for the time travel back! lol
Fun post!
Thank Lee for all you do and for showing me the ropes, not the soap in regards to blogging. A-Z set me on the path to doing it write ;D
I know right. Sometimes I slip up, no can't blame the damn soap, but I try to comment on comments and visit, when life permits~
I'm calling my Mom to relive the soap on the rope memories, lol

Susan Kane said...

What man/husband/boyfriend has not received soap-on-a-rope?? My kids showered their father with the s.o.a.rope gift every single Father's Day. Bless his heart. He used them all.
Loved this post, Arlee.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Only you Lee, only you! I do like the way it comes off the tongue "soap on a rope."

Love your banner! Will April ever get here?

NellieVaughn said...

I think it's a cool idea. I have been looking for soap on a roap ever since I was a child, and had a friend who used it regularly. I was so jealous of her.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I think soap on a rope is funny. So is, rope a dope. I remember a bar hanging in my parents' shower when I was a kid.

Tracy Jo said...

Hmmm...I was just thinking I might like the old soap on a rope. I love to take baths and you know how sometimes you lose the soap in the tub? Is this too much information? Lol! I could wrap the rope around my wrist and never have to search for my soap again. I have new high hopes for soap on a rope! Thanks for making me laugh this morning, Lee!

Arlee Bird said...

Ella -- Glad to have brought back fun memories. You have turned into a blogger par excellence.

Susan -- My kids never gave me any soap on a rope. Once I got a small garden shovel though--we lived in an apartment at the time with no garden so I don't know what that was about, but it was cute though.

Debra -- I like saying "soap on a rope".

Nellie -- It's not that difficult to find.

Mary -- The concept is kind of funny.

Tracy Jo-- Soap on a rope is quite practical I'm sure.

Lee

mshatch said...

oh, yes, I am quite familiar with Laura Palmer - poor girl.

Susanne Drazic said...

LOL. I seem to remember someone in my house had a soap on the rope when I was growing up. Don't remember who. Probably my brother. I also seem to remember giving my husband one of those soaps on a rope with a bunch of other toiletries. I'm sure it was a free add-on to the gift package or something. What a fun post. : )

Theresa Milstein said...

I've heard of soap on a rope, but I've never actually seen it in real life. I also would imagine the market is pretty small.

Crack You Whip said...

I remember the soap on a rope days. I think I may still have one in a box! Don't know if anyone ever actually used them. Now, they would probably be considered a health hazard...like choke on a rope.

Geoff Maritz said...

Soap on a rope hope seems to be hanging in there.
Pretty good in a shower though.

Paula Slade said...

I remember the English Leather soap on a rope. My brother received a bar of it as a gift one year and it too seemed to hang around forever, not being used. It made the bathroom smell nice though!

Arlee Bird said...

MsHatch -- Poor Laura Palmer made for an interesting mystery.

Susanne-- Maybe the soap didn't sell well so they had to give it away.

Theresa -- Maybe some day the product will catch on. Perhaps with more exposure it would.

Crack --I suppose it could be dangerous. I guess you could also use it as a weapon of sorts. Ouch!

Geoff -- I don't know if my bar will ever stop hanging around and make it into the shower.

Paula -- Another vote for air freshener.

Lee

kimberlyloomis said...

Haha! I love Twin Peaks! Blue Velvet - not so much. Overall I must give you an A for alliteration. Soap on a rope dope, soap on a rope hopes... Fabulous. I admit to being none of the above. ;-)

militaryzerowaste said...

I like it. It would keep me from having to clean the sludge from the melting soap that sits there. And it's not like you can't use the rope for something else....though I don't know what. Told with a touch of humor. Thanks Arlee Bird!

militaryzerowaste said...

I like it. It would keep me from having to clean the sludge from the melting soap that sits there. And it's not like you can't use the rope for something else....though I don't know what. Told with a touch of humor. Thanks Arlee Bird!

November Rain - k~ said...

I never really considered soap on a rope as a practical, in-the-shower type thing, UNTIL I was in my mid teens. My father had this wonderful (for a teenager) apartment that was only about half a block from the beach, and in this apartment was an ever-so-small shower, with no where to put anything unless you put it on the floor and planned to bump your hiney into the wall trying to reach it. It was here that I came to appreciate the soap on a rope most seriously. It could be hung over the crook of the metal shower head for easy access. That's no dope for the soap on a rope!