Fighting my way through a perfume haze.

One of my pet peeves is people who smell bad. I’m not a snob about this but you know, deodorant is something that not all people seem to have the hang of. And with a nose as sensitive as mine, it’s worse. If anything is worse than bad-smelling people it’s people who bathe in their au de perfum of choice so you can virtually see their scent trailing behind them as they walk past. The first one makes me gag, and the second one makes me sneeze and get an immediate perfume-headache (kind of like a brain-freeze headache, but without the ice-cream). I hate gagging as much as I hate sneezing.

So imagine my horror when I discovered that the smell I was turning my nose up at a few days ago was my own. I was mortified. I wanted to shower right then and there to scrub clean my stinking pit pores, only I was at work, and apart from being a slightly crazy thing to do in my lunch hour, may have made my bosses think twice about my future at their firm. I mean, I’m already a writer. They don’t need any more reasons to prove that I’m mentally unhinged.

After discovering the noxious gases I had been producing from my pits, I decided I’d try out a different deodorant. Oh what a pain in the rear that proved to be. Standing in the personal hygiene aisle of the supermarket for longer than five minutes makes you look like you can’t read, or you’re a moron, or it’s the first time you’ve ever thought about buying deodorant. Of course, I’m none of those, but I still felt out of my depth.

Let’s look at the options. You have spray anti-perspirants and deodorants, roll-ons, body sprays and sticks. There’s products that promise to not stain your white clothes, and to not stain your black clothes. Products that smell and some that are odourless (the point here???). They promise to get you the guy (or the girl, depending what you’re into), and to keep you dry no matter how hot and sweaty you get.

And there’s a distinct difference between mens and womens when it comes to labelling. Mens tend to say things like “energetic fragrance” and “responds to increases in adrenalin”. They’re called “Africa” and “V8” and “Brut”.

Womens, on the other hand, say things like “seductive” and “sensual”, and ooh “mishievous”. They’re called things like “Shiny” and “Illusions” and (sharp intake of breath) “Tease”.

Do they tell you what they actually smell like though? Not bloody likely! What the hell does “energetic” smell like anyway? And I can guarantee you that what smells “sensual” to me is not the same as what smells “sensual” to someone else.

For the love of all that is good and right, can we at least get some truth in advertising. Wearing deodorant won’t get me the girl – particularly the type of girl in a certain product’s ads (not that I want another girl – I already have one). Only sixteen-year-olds believe that. And no matter what they say, it won’t last for more than a couple of hours, even in an air-conditioned office. I know advertising plays on our emotions to get us to buy things, but dammit, I’m over trying to decipher some of those ads. Will I smell fresh and oceany? Show me a beach. Will I smell smokey and woody? Show me a log cabin. I get shit like that. That stuff is easy to decipher.

But I have another problem trying to choose deodorants. Those who know me well know that I am definitely not feminine. I don’t do nail polish or make-up or dresses. The only thing I put on my face is moisturiser, and even then it’s only when I get sunburnt or my skin feels dry. Having said that, I’m still a girl, and I like being a girl. Just, you know, not too much of a girl.

I don’t want to smell like a bunch of flowers, a fruit bowl, a cinnamon stick, or a vanilla pod. And I damn-well don’t want to smell like I’ve just rolled in pine needles, or I’ve just walked through smoke. I don’t want to smell overly “woman” or overly “man”. And it seems like there’s no inbetween in there. Even the “sports” deodorants are skewed one way or the other.

I just want to hide my pong without the cover-up smell being offensive to me and everyone around me. And I don’t want to smell like a girl. And, I don’t want to smell like a man. Is that too much to ask?

Side note: At the time of posting, I still have not found a deodorant that I like. Any suggestions are much-appreciated. If you do make a suggestion for something I might like, please, oh please, tell me exactly what it is I will smell like if I use it!


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