I suppose this is rather naive of me, but up until recently I had no idea that Italian "intimate" soap was marketed exclusively to women. In fact, WordReference.com actually translates sapone intimo to mean "feminine washing product or feminine hygiene product".
I just assumed both Italian males and females used this purportedly milder specially-Ph-balanced soap to wash themselves in the bidet. Andrea does. But then I noticed the finer print on this recently purchased bottle: "Also for little girls. Tested in a pediatric clinic." And above, a sticker for some mother-daughter contest.
"Why not also for little boys??" I asked Andrea.
"Boh," he replied.
This really bothers me. Why is the special private-part soap not for boys too? It really smacks of the idea that girls are somehow dirtier or more delicate, neither of which is ok.
It's funny because, as an adolescent in North America in the early 90s, I really got the impression that feminine hygiene products were a thing of the past, with hilarious 1980s TV ads for douches like Massengill and Summer's Eve a popular butt of jokes.
Yet, for some reason I never connected those products with sapone intimo. After learning of its existence and regular use here in Italy, I was an enthusiastic adopter, considering it a rather dignified and respectful alternative to cleaning my woman bits with the soap I use to clean the rest of my body. When I moved back to Canada for a few years, I was disappointed not to find a comparable product anywhere and brought some back from Italy on my next visit.
I'll never forget the time my roommate Jessie, a close friend from Toronto who lived with me in Florence for a year, discovered the purpose of this detergent and said in mock horror that she may have used my pussy soap to wash her face.
The ubiquity of sapone intimo is surely tied to the Italian obsession with genital and anal hygiene. According to Wikipedia, Italians are some of the world's biggest bidet consumers, with 95% of Italian households containing one.
I love Daily Mel's take on it, which is typically hilarious:
Call me a stinking slime bag of a rotten-dirt-caked foreigner, but I have a shower everyday rather than just washing various select parts each morning. I'm a human, not a cat. I'm also not inspired by the leading brand of 'intimate soaps' (what? is it going to become my best friend? share secrets about its love-life over hot cocoa?) which happens to be called 'Chilly Gel'. No thank you very much. I've got this far in life with out ever needing special soap down there and I'm certainly not going to start applying one that markets itself as 'chilly'.
I personally don't think it's all that bad, it should just be for females and males.
What do you think?