Thursday, January 11, 2007

Vaseline on Toast

I use Vaseline nearly every day and it involves a liberal amount of smearing and then insertion.

Now, if you are of a similar age to me, you might well be sniggering, because Vaseline used to be synonymous with rude goings on in the bedroom, or possibly (and somewhat more sordidly) in a Cottage.

I can recall a bit of a shaggy dog story that Billy Connolly used to tell, revolving around a Vaseline Survey in the centre of Glasgow. The punchline twist was that the parent of the large family used it for sexual purpose: they smeared it on the bedroom door knob so that the Kids couldn't get in...

Now it turns out that vaseline is actually a somewhat third rate sexual lubricant, as being oil based, it dries out mucous membranes and dissolves latex. Water based solutions like KY jelly are the right thing to use on occasions that demand it.

In case you are wondering, I use it every day to block my grommetised ear with a cotton wool ball, in order to keep out soapy water which could apparently have unpleasant consequences.

So, I asked myself, what is petrolium jelly? Ingredients: Petrolatum. You can find out far more than you wanted to know about it on Wikipedia here, including who eats it for breakfast.

Seeing that it is a distillation by-product, I recalled a schoolboy visit to a Rohm & Haas chemical works, where we discovered this very large lump of brown, squidgy plastic on the access platforms of their fractional distillation tower. When asked what it was, we were told it was an unintended by-product, which they referred to as the "embarrassing polymer".

Wow, no hits at all for that in Google, yet...

4 comments:

Liz said...

I remember that Billy Connolly story: it still makes me laugh!

Ian Grey said...

Liz, what were the other two purposes? One may have been medical...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I sniggered at memories of the stuff! Can't get it here, though. Sadly, I only use it as a lipsalve now!

james higham said...

Ah yes, really needed to read about the ears, Ian.