All of a sudden, most kinds of toothpaste here in the States come in plastic bottles as well as tubes. At first, I welcomed the change. There's little that's more consistently frustrating that a nearly-empty tube. But then I started to think about this development more carefully. Surely, the technology to make these bottles has been around since the 1960s. So why is it only now that the manufacturers are paying belated attention to all those comedy routines about how there's little more consistently frustrating than a nearly-empty tube? Perhaps there's a sinister backstory to their sudden willingness to make it possible for consumers to abandon an inefficient delivery system. One possibility is that this change is part of a broader assault on tactile experience. Even when tubes of toothpaste are pain in the ass, they give the user a sensation that the bottles can only gesture clumsily towards. The tube allows us to feel its contents without actually touching them. It's the condom of consumer packaging. Let's see a neat-and-tidy bottle provide that kind of indirect sex education.