The Pits: Experiments in Deodorants

“Yeah, I must admit. I just love the smell of nature.”

I decided to do a olfactory experiment.

I have sensitive skin, especially in my armpits. When I was a kid and discovered the potential for odor, I started, as would be expected, to use deodorant. I borrowed my dad’s Speed Stick and so began years of application that extended to perfumed soaps, shower gels and even the occasional squirt of CK One Cologne.

Then my pits said, “No more.”

This came years ago. I bought a can of Axe aerosol deodorant body spray, at one point the “in” thing to wear in Argentina thanks to humorous TV commercials with the message that if you wear this you’ll become a total babe magnate.

With my first squirt, I became nothing of the sort. I spent the day itching the hell out of my pits and looked more like a flea-ridden hound than a babe puller.

I threw it out and so started my search for softer deodorants. I settled on a dab of Veritas for sensitive skin, which did the job for years.

Then it too started to make me itch, not rabidly but enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

Irritated, I decided to go al natural like in the days before my discovery of deodorant, thinking in part that maybe all these years I have bought into a commercial myth that we need to use deodorant, something propagated by big companies so everybody will buy their products and they will line their pockets.

So what happened with my al natural experiment?

It worked. It’s been a week and I don’t stink, not even now as we enter the hot and muggy season in Buenos Aires, where I live with my wife and three young children.

Inspired, I declared my enthusiasm to my wife after a long walk with the dog in the hot sun and a quick sniff to make certain it had really worked.

“I’ve stopped using deodorant and you know what, ‘I don’t stink,’” I said with glee.

She stopped reading her book and looked up at me and said, “I would keep your revelation to yourself.”

“Why?”

“You can’t always smell your own odor.”

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