Friday, March 30, 2007

The pits.

You smell that? That alluring scent of sweaty lavender? That would be me.

When I hit age twelve and my body started betraying me, I had lots of gripes. Itchy bras, bloody razored ankles, bloody other things. And then there was evil antiperspirant. First applied to my tender armpits one fateful morning in 1988, it has maintained a liquidproof seal day and night since. It seemed that no matter how many times I scrubbed and lathered, I could never completely penetrate that anti-sweat forcefield. You might ask, "Why would you wish to tear down that blessed dam -- that space-age triumph over glandular tyranny??! It's all that stands between us and the French!"

These are intelligent questions, and I have no sane answers. I'm no rabid evangelizing granola. I lose no sleep over the longterm effects of the bazillion carcinogens lurking in my non-organic lima beans. I can't shop often at Wild Oats because the orthodox shoppers there are too funny and I get a tummy ache trying to suppress my laughter. But somehow it made me vaguely nervous to shut down a normal body process for decades at a time.

Of course I still used the stuff -- how could I not? I'm a hardcore sweat-er (maybe YOU ladies glow, but this girl PERSPIRES). And while I believe that my body is a temple, it can't be allowed to blow my chances at snagging a man. I figured once this sweet-smelling she-temple had achieved its temple wedding, perhaps it could test the limits of love with a sweaty revolution. But not before.

Then recently a friend told me that she was an Anti-antiperspirant. She explained that her mother wouldn't allow the stuff in the house because some believed it increased the risk of breast cancer. I had never heard this before. My ordinary response to such non-traditional health advice would be, "you only live once -- why sweat the details?" (har) But my longtime unease with antiperspirant was fed by her dark tales. I did some online research: The Man insisted that there were no proven ill effects of using the stuff, and The New Age Holistic Cabin Dwellers insisted that it was the single greatest threat to womankind. Being a reasonable, levelheaded sort, I decided to shrug off science and obey my fear.

That is how I found myself in the Wild Oats, staring at their remarkable collection of not-tested-on-bunnyrabbits deodorants. (Poor stinky bunnyrabbits!) You had your funky Swedish miracle crystal deodorant, but I'd read it can give you a rash. You had your delicate Burt's Bees deodorant mist, but I knew that my man-sized perspiration problem called for something stronger. Soon I was overwhelmed and decided to abandon reason and go with my gut. My gut said, "Lavender smells great. Get one that smells like lavender." So I did. Tom's of Maine lavender deodorant.

How could I go wrong, choosing that lovely, "natural" lavender for my new signature scent? See the first line of this post.

The poor results have been a bit discouraging, as I have to reapply the stuff two or three times a day. But I can't say I'm ready to abandon this little experiment just yet, though I expect that if it's already beginning to fail in the early spring, I'll be unfit for polite society by mid-June. My friends, tired of the Pavlovian retching they experience whenever they pass a lavender bush, will cut all ties with me. I will never marry, but will be fondly labeled The Sweaty Lavender Cat Lady by the neighborhood tikes. My perfect, cancer-free breasts will go to the grave unappreciated by any man.

Who knew hygiene could be such a drama?

Knowing my sheepish qualities, I expect I'll rejoin the herd very soon. But in the meantime I will try to live by the pheromonic philosophy of my beloved Geggy Tah:

Ha hot honeymoon
Cupid had a harpoon
Cupid's not a cartoon
Cupid really works and sweats.
Sweat is the perfume of lovers
Sweat is the best perfume
Sweat is the perfume of love...

Come to me, my stinky White Night, and we shall ride together into the sulfurous sunset!


wynne said...

Actually, it's funny that you posted this. I've been going through a related misery myself (why is it that a deodorant can work one month, and not the next? How is it that the body builds up a tolerance to something that will keep it stink-free? Phoo!), and I have decided that if there were one thing that I could change about my body, it would be odor.

I mean, I don't want a nose job, a tummy-tuck, liposuction, or a hair transplant. The things I've never liked about my body seem rather small compared to the problem of odor. Please, please, please, spare me the odor. Get me a deodorant that works, and then get something for my feet (that doesn't make them smell like they've been chewing gum--that's some stuff I use right now--minty fresh!), and get me some prescription-strength anti-stink gum or something for my breath. And there I will stop--because I've embarrassed myself enough for one day--but there are more odors I would like conquered!

Blech! Lavender, indeed.

Rachel said...

I am smelling my art pits right now.

I swear by Dove's sensitive skin fragrance-free deodorant. I hate when all of the sudden I can smell that potent deodorant fragrance kicking into gear to compensate for a little persperation. It is like a constant reminder through out the day that my arm pits may at this very moment be stinky. Or that my deoderant might be competing with perfumes, lotions, body sprays, and other love potions. I just want ONE smell.

Marie said...

I'm with you, Wynne. I think God made us stinky to keep us humble, but I refuse to submit to humility without a fight. I've often said that the thing that scares me most about the idea of apolcalyptic Last Days of trial, trouble, and upheaval is not hunger (easy to say as I've never been horribly hungry in all my life) but rather not being able to clean myself up for weeks or months. Having to confront my own stenches, in all their varieties. The horror!

As for Dove -- I can't believe they have a non-anti-perspirant deodorant. I thought I'd scoured all the "normal" brands for a women's deodorant-only, and I found nothing. I'd be interested to know where you get it and if it's actually effective with no scent and no sweat control. Sounds like voodoo.

Rachel said...

Oh, it is still an anti-perspirant. Just for sensitive skin. I just can't smell it unless I try real hard. Therefore it is as if it doesn't really exhist. I am willing to deal with the evils of anti-perspirants just so I don't have to smell myself or see myself sweat all over my clothes. I have enough social anxiety in my life already. I am just all about the fragrance free stuff.