What A Soap Opera

, , , | Related | July 2, 2018

(My mom and I have come for an arranged weekend of activities at the university I’ll be attending in two months. I stay in the dorms while she stays at a nearby hotel. I have, unfortunately, let her pack for the both of us. We immigrated to the US three or four years ago, and our habits and customs regarding basic things are a bit different, though I have not yet fully realized just HOW different. Mom does all the shopping for all of us at home and buys only the most basic toiletries. I’ve never even been given a chance to go to a store by myself before, so I just make do as best I can with basic things I need. When I open the toiletries she packed for me, I discover shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and brush, deodorant, a razor, and nothing else.)

Me: “We need to go to a drugstore to pick up some things.”

Mom: “What? What things? You have everything there.”

Me: “I need at least a bar of soap or something.”

Mom: “What on earth for? There should be soap provided at the dorm’s sink dispenser things. Did you look?”

Me: “No, not for washing hands. I mean to shower with…” *long confused pause* “You know, to wash your body while you’re in the shower?”

Mom: “What are you even talking about? What on earth does anyone need with soap in the shower? When you wash your hair with shampoo, the runoff that comes down from that just automatically cleans everything else! You don’t need soap to wash anything!”

Me: “…”

(I just had no words. Though I didn’t even know about body- wash back then, I’d at least been using bar soap regularly since around puberty. I hadn’t realized just how backwards my parents were. My mom was 44 years old at the time this happened. Yes, I got my soap in the end.)

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