Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Virginity Soap

Yesterday a saleswoman came to our office to sell us soap.  Not just any soap, however, virginity soap.

This stuff is magic!  One bar lasts 11 months even if you use it every day (as you should).  Eleven months.  The saleswoman was so honest she didn’t even try to round up to a year.

Furthermore, it’ll even do the usual job soap is supposed to: make you smell clean and fresh while preventing any bacterial infections.

But the magic goes further than that!  What makes the product really unique?  It’ll tighten your “virginity muscles” so that your man will think you’re a virgin again.

I thought that could only happen in Madonna songs!

The woman assured us that if we had roaming husbands, the soap would bring him back to us.

Needless to say, we couldn’t stop laughing.

One colleague asked her, “How do you know it works?  Do you use it?”

She answered, “No, but my friend uses it every day and swears by it.  My husband died so I have no reason for it.”

“Where are you selling it?  Door to door?” my colleague persisted.

“No, I usually sell it in church.  You should come to my church.  Lots of nice men.”

Her statement sent us into a new bout of giggles.  Nice men who apparently only like sweet-smelling virgins.

She was persistent, however, despite our ridiculing.  She pointed at each one of us and said, “You should buy some.  Why not?

“My husband is happy with my… virginity muscles.”

“I don’t need soap to catch a man.”

She looked at me, “You need some.”

“No, thanks, I don’t have a man right now,” I said, trying to be polite, instead of saying what I really thought: “Honey, it’ll take more than soap to make anyone believe I’m a virgin.”

She changed tactics and started telling me about another product that would make my hips bigger – a vibrating device like a phone that you put in your pockets.  As it vibrates your hips grow outwards.  Her friend uses it (the same one who uses the soap) and swears her hips have grown.  Her big hips capture the men and the soap keeps them.

“No it’s ok” I said while everyone else laughed.

If I wanted bigger hips, I’d rather eat copious amounts of cake than walk around with vibrators in my pockets.

Part of me wants to mock anyone who’d buy this soap.  How dumb are you?  The whole incident reminded me of my Political Ecology class last year; the professor started the term by showing us slides of African newspaper headlines.  They centred on a big news story from a couple years ago of a vicious penis snatcher who was stealing the penises (penii?) off men.  My prof was trying to show us that different cultures have different versions of “truth.”

In my opinion, however, his slides just perpetuated the myth that Africans are uneducated and will believe anything.

If you really want to illustrate the outrageous things people will believe, look no further than the front page of any Cosmo magazine:

 “12 tips to help you lose 20lbs in a week!”
“How to make a man love you in 8 words!”
“5 telltale signs that your man is cheating on you!”

Embarrassingly, I’ve paid for that crap before.  Yep, I admit it.  So, really, I’m in no position to judge anyone for falling prey to ridiculous claims.

But that won’t keep me from laughing about virginity soap!

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  1. Pingback: Long Time, No See | Rebuilding Foundations

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