Dr. Bronner’s Removes Stain Better Than Bleach Pen; Area Riot Grrrl Raised by Hippies’ Entire World Turned Upside Down

Oh, Dr. B!

We’ve been using it to wash dishes for a month, actually, out of laziness and the fact that a giant bottle of it was sitting by the sink when we got here. We only had one day where everything tasted like lavender soap, and the dishes have only been slightly oily.

I’ve had a love/hate with Dr. B ever since I went on a safari in Africa when I was 12* and it had just hit the health food stores (or, my mom’s consciousness, at any rate) and my mom bought it for me in place of the toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and soap the safari people recommended you bring. Because I was nauseous the entire trip because of taking constant malaria pills the size of my head (I can do many wonderful things with my mouth, but swallowing pills is not one of them.), long drives on bumpy roads in Jeeps, watching lions eat gazelles, and long plane rides, my godmother Harriet told me to smell the Dr. Bronner’s bottle to calm my stomach (?). Naturally, I associated the peppermint flavor with African dust and vomit for about a decade after that. (See also: ginger; those acupressure wristbands which will make me puke if I even see them rolling around the medicine cabinet; the exact shade of yellow of the Dramamine tube.)

Dramamine! The odes I’ve written to Dramamine! (Literally: “This metal tube shoots away from the earth, and you pray to your god, and I to mine. Mine comes in pill form, and I can already feel it working its magic, making me pleasantly loopy, handily suppressing my natural urge to shoot everything in my stomach as far out of me as possible. Dramamine, you are my one true savior, I shalt not stray from your sheltering arms again.”)

Anyway, there is really nothing I hate about Dr. Bronner’s, except using it as shampoo. It usually does a bang-up job. Which I’d sort of forgotten. Even though I hate hippies with the passion of a much-stupider Toby Ziegler, I generally use hippie-type personal care products because, you know, poison and all that.

Here are six other things:

  • Childhood memorization of the Dr. Bronner’s bottle means that when I really need to get something done, I just repeat over and over: “Unless constructive-selfish I work hard, like Mark Spitz, perfecting first me, absolute nothing can help perfect me!” Once I admitted this to my mom, and all she said was, “You know, Mark Spitz is Jewish.” (My mom is the literal incarnation of that Sarah Silverman Son of Sam joke, yes.** [just search for the word “Sam” on that page, ok?])
  • Knolling. My entire life has been dedicated to Knolling and I didn’t even know it until this week.
  • I’m kind of not the biggest fan of SuperVegan. (Not that we’ve ever been on great terms. [Ok, maybe kinda]) Why make enemies of your community, Lagusta?? WHY NOT, LAGUSTA?
  • Dear God, when I wake up, please let me have eye makeup like Beyoncé in Countdown. NOT NAILS THOUGH. JUST EYES.
  • I went on an EIGHT MILE HIKE TODAY.
  • Summary of this blog post: OMG AM I NOT FASCINATING OR WHAT



PS: I’m currently enjoying only two cosmetics, enough sleep & Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap to clean body- mind-soul-spirit instantly uniting one!


** I’m actually reading an entire book that is that joke right now. It’s about, ah, let’s just say it’s about Jews plus a foodstuff I interact with a lot. The whole entire point of the book is that Jews basically brought this (brown, luscious, sweet) foodstuff to the New World (did you know Christopher Columbus was “possibly” Jewish?), to Europe, to the US, were/are the best makers and manipulators of this foodstuff, and are generally responsible for its entire popularity/flavor/invention. Which might be true (I mean, it’s not, but it “might” be), but there are enough “might”s and “could”s and “some research shows”s in this book to make you kind of want to blow your brains out. I understand why Jews are like this (everyone hates us, we gotta stick together and get as many of us around as possible), but man it’s annoying.

(Does anyone but me notice that I just did what I excoriated SuperVegan for? Yep!)

12 Responses to “Dr. Bronner’s Removes Stain Better Than Bleach Pen; Area Riot Grrrl Raised by Hippies’ Entire World Turned Upside Down”

  1. Dustin Rhodes

    Every single thing you linked to RE: Supervegan made me hate them. What hateful douches, all of ’em — plus a potent reminder of why people rightly think vegans are assholes.

  2. JenMcCleary

    Ugh. I think demanding that people exploring veganism must instantly totally get and believe and live all the minutiae of a perfect vegan life is setting an awfully high bar that will make a lot of people not even bother. I went vegetarian 15 years ago out of a vague sense that it was better for me and the animals and the planet. Only then did I begin to read more and educate myself, and it took me a year or more to really come to terms with veganism being the logical outcome of that choice. I was interested and knew it was right, but read a lot of stuff about veganism being a “complete lifestyle” or a “belief system” which I found offputting. I met some jerky aggressive vegans which made me think that all vegans were bent on lecturing people about not being good enough. I thought I’d never be able to eat at a regular restaurant with my family again because I’d have to worry about if the plates once touched an animal product lest I fall short of some ideal. It almost came across as a religion (even with talk of “converting” people!), which as an ex-Catholic was not at all appealing. It came across as a quest for an impossible perfection, which to a person with a lifelong battle with depression largely due to an overly self-critical and perfectionistic nature was scary. Even after swearing off dairy products and eggs and leather shoes, it took me a while to start really knowing or caring about things like what was in my lip balm. It was an evolution not an instantaneous transformation. If some people are able to instantly become perfect vegans, great. But I certainly wasn’t so I don’t expect it of others. Even now after 15 years I don’t claim to be perfect, and I’d rather encourage people who are interested in being vegan rather than yell at them about whatever detail they haven’t absorbed into their life yet. If a coworker eats one vegan meal a week I tell them that’s awesome and offer them some more recipes, even though I actually think it’s lame they eat meat the rest of the time. It pisses me off when vegans insist on living up to that “holier-than-thou” image the general public has of us. Is it annoying when people who are not vegans call themselves vegans? Yes, of course. But the long game (for me anyway!) is not about these semantic battles, it’s about making more and more people see that veganism is reasonable and possible and awesome, and being overly critical might feel good in the short term but it doesn’t help much in the long term. (sorry, that was long!)

  3. lagusta

    Yeah—EXACTLY THIS!! It’s a continuum, and we’re not all at the same place, but we’re all TRYING TO DO SOMETHING! Jeeze. Some of my friends aren’t as strict about asking about ingredients in dishes in restaurants as I am. I just let it go. I don’t want to be the one telling them they’re bad vegans. They could just point at my thrifted leather shoes. I’ve been vegan almost 20 years and a few months ago I noticed my favorite cosmetic (Lush Ocean Salt!) wasn’t vegan. IT HAPPENS! (80% of their stuff is vegan, so I always forget to read their labels.)

    • Dustin Rhodes

      Bray and I have been going to this Japanese noodle shop since the place opened 10 years ago, and last week the wait person told us that the dish that both of us have ONLY ORDERED A MILLION TIMES –“Can you make that vegan, please?” “Yes, of course!” — has never been vegan; that it’s always had some kind of dead animal ingredient.

      But I want to say, for the record, that I was very calm about this revelation, even though I was disgusted. I did not pretend vomit or yell or roll my eyes or anything.


      • lagusta

        Exactly. Vegan or not, you still have to be a rational and sane person.

    • JenMcCleary

      Oh, I totally fell for the Lush Ocean Salt trap! There’s no damn reason that stuff should have lanolin or whatever it was in it!

  4. teddy

    Dr. B peppermint soap is my fave!

    And also being a reasonable (vegan) individual!

    ACUPRESSURE BANDS, DRAMAMINE: staples of my vomit-covered childhood. Note to the Internets: don’t grow up on an island if you depend on a constant supply of dramamine to get you from point A to B.

  5. Pree

    I hate supervegan (and some of the other “prominent” vegan blogs). They have this Perez Hilton-ish dickishness(?) which they use to bully those who supposedly are “diluting” all the hard work done by the self-righteous vegans. I have friends who use products made of beeswax or don’t really verify ingredients carefully when eating at restaurants. But they do so many wonderful things for the community, so I think that should count. Most of us transitioned into veganism. If it didn’t happen overnight for me, I don’t see why someone else shouldn’t be able to take their time. Moreover, many among the self-righteous vegans probably use something that is product of animal/human cruelty. My meals, clothes, shampoos, cosmetics, household items, etc. are all vegan, but I had to took animal tested meds when I had a very cruel bout of bronchitis for 3 months. There are some who I would love to ban from ever using the “V” word(PeTA), but for the most part people are trying to do their best and self-righteous vegans need to show a little restraint instead of policing those who aren’t as stringent about it. My point is that smug vegans are the worst.
    I really like Dr. B’s Patchouli Lime lotion (it’s not the best moisturizer, but I love the smell). I use the liquid soap as an all-purpose cleaner; it has been kinder to the bathroom tiles than my skin or hair.

  6. laceyputnam

    My introduction to Dr. Bronner’s was when I went on a dig in Nevada during the summer of 1989. I was still very much a girl from Long Island who was devastated that there were no hair dryer outlets in the desert. Not only did Dr B’s turn my hair into a knotted nest, it made my precious vagina burn like there was a fire down there. I had one bucket of water a day to wash with and all of it went to putting out the flames.
    Since then, I can just say “dilute, dilute, dilute!”


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