He was what one might call a very clean old man
With her very ironic statement, Morrison is criticizing society’s standard of beauty. Pedophiles are normally categorized as dirty rather than clean, but Soaphead’s pedophilia stems from the fact that he has completely succumbed to the extreme of what is considered beautiful in society: cleanliness, youth, innocence, purity. The irony comes from the fact that Soaphead has managed to do something that is very “wrong” and fiercely frowned upon because He has adhered to the “correct” (most widespread) interpretation of beauty so strictly.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Soaphead Church” by Toni Morrison Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box