The latest offering from viral video and bathroom accessory factory Dollar Shave Club may make the Charmin bear growl. The online retailer is getting in the flushable wipes game, betting big on men's desire for a more comfortable and thorough post-game rub down. One Wipe Charlies, sold in packets of 40, might require circumspect-marketing materials, but Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin says there is an audience waiting for his latest product.
"It is a more evolved way of wiping," Dubin claims. "Dollar Shave Club intends to service your face, your ass, and everything in between."
Dubin is particularly excited about a study commissioned by his company that shows a 31 percent satisfaction gap between men using flushable wipes and traditional toilet paper, and that 51 percent of U.S. men are using flushable wipes regularly. Though these numbers may support his claim that wipes offer the better experience, Americans aren't exactly early adopters in the bathroom. Despite numerous attempts to popularize the always-good-for-a-thrill bidet, the U.S. has stood by T.P., a demonstrably less green, sanitary, and civilized way of maintaining anal hygiene.
Traditionally, the way men have been introduced to wipes is by their infants, whose vulnerable skin can't stand up to the rigors of scratchy paper. After a little consideration, many fathers conclude that what is good enough for the gosling is good enough for the goose and give moisturized wipes a go. Dubin is convinced men aren't evangelizing for this experience because of a reluctance to discuss their business generally.
"There is a cultural taboo around discussing that area of your body," says Dubin. "We're not afraid to do that."
Nor are we. We tried out the One Wipe Charlies and came to the conclusion that they offer an improved in-bathroom experience, but fail to address the fundamental problem inherent in wiping. The flushables, which smell a bit like Listerine, offer a cooling, soothing experience and – to be frank – do a slightly better job picking up debris than normal toilet paper. That said, the relatively small squares, which – at 10 cents a pop – are more expensive per wipe than toilet paper (unless you're using two or three feet at time), don't shield the hand as effectively. And your hand is still up your bum, which was the argument for the bidet in the first place.
The other problem is that the wipes aren't already available in public lavatories, meaning that if men are really going to commit to the Charlies, they will have to surreptitiously ferry them in and out of the stalls. This can make one feel – pardon the pun – a bit like an ass.
That said, the Dollar Shave Club's packets are perfect for men who camp but aren't down to clean themselves up with a rock. They are also rather ideal if one plans on making thorough use of a Porta-Potty after, say, attending a chili cook-off. (They come in a small envelope that's much more portable than a roll of toilet paper.) The wipes are also perfect for men suffering from hemorrhoids, who may be a bit more sensitive.
And there is nothing at all wrong with treating yourself every once in a while. We'd recommend keeping a packet in your personal loo for those times when you want to treat yourself with the delicacy you, as an evolved man, deserve.