Dishsoap and Handsoap

Crazy story. Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave my daughter college advice and it ended up all over the news…

It all started when I met my daughter’s first college roommate. We went to the Iowa State Fair to see Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Des Moines Register Soapbox. It was 86 degrees with 65% humidity and no chance for rain. The heat was unbearable, but we couldn’t seek relief because the crowd was growing by the minute and we didn’t want to lose our spot. When Mayor Pete finally took the stage, we were thrilled with our front row status.

New Grinnell College roommates waiting for an hour in the hot sun for Mayor Pete.

Mayor Pete gave an excellent case for why he was the best candidate for president. Then, he started taking questions and amazingly, he picked me. I shouted, “I’m here with three teenagers, two entering college. Do you have any advice for them?” Mayor Pete looked at them directly and asked what they wanted advice about. They shouted, “anything!”

Mayor Pete joked that dishsoap and handsoap are basically the same thing, so they could save some money on dorm supplies. After a few laughs, he proceeded to give an inspiring answer about the importance of voting, especially for young people. We couldn’t believe our luck. The speech was followed by a one-on-one conversation offstage. Mayor Pete took selfies with my daughter and her new roommate. He laughed with them and even signed a poster and a copy of the US Constitution. We left giddy and satisfied.

Selfies with Mayor Pete

On the way home, we realized that the story had gone viral. Esquire magazine had written a funny article titled, “Sorry Mayor Pete But You’re Wrong About This Soap Thing.” C-Span tweeted a video of the exchange. His advice for my daughter and her roommate was in The Cut, Splinter, and Jezebel. The excitement of having Mayor Pete’s college advice all over the news was eclipsed by the joy of realizing my daughter has a lovely roommate. She’s smart, kind and fun. The roommates had an incredible bonding experience and will forever debate the virtues of using dishsoap for handsoap.

Autographed dorm art

Pete Buttigieg signed US Constitution