April 29, 2011

A Brief Retrospective of The Pine-Sol Lady

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I love the Pine-Sol black lady. I understand that commercials about household cleaning products are deeply problematic and that women don’t actually receive joy or sexual pleasure from products or having to use them. At least they don’t most of the time. The Pine-Sol lady has a name, Diane Amos. She has been the Pine-Sol lady since I was a teenager, 1993, in fact. On the Pine-Sol website, she has a profile where we can learn more about her. This might be the only mainstream product website where all the models are black. Who knew Pine-Sol was so progressive? The Pine-Sol lady introduces us to her mother, Pearl Amos as well as the entire Pine-Sol product line. She also offers Domestic Goddess Tips such as how cleaning is more fun when you’re listening to music or how you can look good by wearing “decorative cleaning gloves.” She’s right. Nothing will improve your look like a pair of rubber gloves with a checkered cuff. I enjoy the antiseptic smell of Pine-Sol. It’s overwhelming and bears little resemblance to the scent of pines. Diane Amos is beautiful with an open face and easy smile. She’s a big woman but she wears it well. Although she has been representing Pine-Sol for eighteen years, she appears to have not aged. The Pine-Sol lady looks pretty much the same now as she did in 1993. Black don’t crack. I imagine she is handsomely compensated because she is always so cheerful and excited about Pine-Sol. She is unwavering in her devotion to Pine-Sol. In this commercial, she does some Pine-Sol math and learns that it would take five bottles of generic Pine-Sol to match the cleaning power of the real deal. She appreciates Pine-Sol’s strength. Her mother was a lesbian back when it was far more precarious to be a lesbian. Her mother was a strong woman. The Pine-Sol lady loves her mother very much. She is loyal. It is 2011 and she is still representing the cleaning power of Pine-Sol.  She even has a catch phrase: “That’s the cleaning power of Pine-Sol, baby.” You never know when the Pine-Sol lady is going to show up. She might appear in your kitchen. She might come home to a mansion where a shirtless man is scrubbing her floors or she might be standing on a balcony, beckoned by a well-dressed man who opens a bottle of Pine-Sol to call to her and woo her back not only with the fresh, manufactured pine scent of Pine-Sol but also by scrubbing her floors in his expensive suit. She’s not always the star of the commercial. Sometimes, she’ll surprise you at the end. Neither is she afraid to introduce new flavors of Pine-Sol like “Rain Clean” or “Lavender” Pine-Sol or to introduce you to several Pine-Sol options with a little sass. If you’re at the grocery store and you mistakenly buy the wrong cleaner, the Pine-Sol lady, who has a degree in Domestic Engineering, will set you straight or gently encourage you to make the right decision. Pine-Sol has curative properties. If you’re in a coma, it is quite possible Pine-Sol will bring you out of your comatose state. The Pine-Sol lady has other tricks up her sleeve, though. She is a stand-up comedian.

She has been on $25,000 Pyramid, where she won money and a trip to London and showed mad love to her mama, who kept saying over and over, “You’re so smart.” There is nothing like a mother’s love. The Pine-Sol lady was also on Super Password and she won that, too. One of her prizes was a La-Z-Boy recliner. On Wheel of Fortune, she won $14,750. Most importantly, the Pine-Sol lady is a role model. TC mark

Roxane Gay

I write stories and essays, edit books and magazines, contribute to HTMLGIANT, once in a while The Rumpus, and I …

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