Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Alright, if my post about farmer blows didn't gross you out enough, lets try another just-as-personal issue.

I don't wear deodorant/antiperspirant. Well, not with regularity, anyway. Haven't for a few years. Why, you ask? For starters, I've seen quite a few people die a slow, incomprehensible death from the disease called Alzheimer's. At some point I found out aluminum was a leading cause in the onset of Alzheimer's (amongst other things,) and that the active ingredient in antiperspirant was in fact, aluminum. That fear, whether rational or irrational, scared me enough to throw away the stuff I had and begin an extensive search to find alternatives.

Through that search I tried a lot of stuff. The crystal bar, the handheld crystal, straight deodorant, deodorant soap; I even tried the scentlok soap that hunters use to trick the deer. Some of it worked, some of it didn't, some of it left horrible rashes, and some of it burned my skin raw. At some point, can't remember when, I quit looking and stopped wearing anything at all. And you know what? I quit having any odor issues.

If you know me well you know how much I LOVE a good conspiracy theory. The fact that I had quit stinking despite no longer using deodorant/antiperspirant, well, that raised an alarm. So I did a little research and discovered the stuff wasn't even invented until the years around WWII. So what did people do before that? The simple answer is probably that they wore a lot of perfume to cover up the stench. But I doubt the entire population of the United States(especially in the post-Depression era) spent their hard earned dollars on stinky alcohol-based skin sweeteners. My bet is that very few people smelled at all if they practiced regular hygiene.

So how did it get to be such a successful seller and an almost given part of our daily routines? Simple really... good marketing. (The thing I attest to much of the waste and foolish spending in this country.) Let's look at the facts:
  • Every kid who goes through puberty stinks, from a combination of playing/working too hard and not knowing how to properly clean themselves in their new hairy skin.
  • Adults that work hard, or long, eventually smell before they can get cleaned up.
  • Summertime brings about sweating and sweating can bring about odor.
  • Women (much more than men) don't like to smell bad. See previous two points.

So what does a company who wants to sell stuff do in these situations? Blow them up and make them seem much worse than they are, of course. Did you know the first deodorant/antiperspirant advertisement to ever be placed in a magazine was in Better Homes & Gardens (a mag read predominately by middle-class women) in their June, July, and August releases? If that doesn't scream, "I'm gonna play on your fears and trick you into buying something forever that you only need for awhile," I don't know what does.

My theory is that proper cleaning will cleanse the odor ducts in the human underarm. Deodorant masks it and then exposes it if left without, but I think the body rights itself and cleanses itself from that odor after a few days. I know it to be so in my own body, and I'ld (that contraction's for you, Adrienne) wager a good many others would find it to be so if they had the guts to try it.

Here's the big question... do I ever smell now that I don't wear deodorant/antiperspirant? I think Ell can best answer that one, and I think her answer would be a resounding, "Yes." I sometimes go without showering, wearing shoes, eating cooked food, etc. At the end of those back-to-nature days, I've built up a hefty reek. A little soap and water takes it right away though, as it would for most people, I believe. I'm sure there are days I smell a little and maybe offend some people, but no one's ever said anything to me, including my best friends. So, for now I'm sticking with my theory.

Anyone still wanna be my friend?


Blogger HennHouse said...

One thing you didn't mention is that folks in less developed countries don't even think about these things.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Great point. I thought about including that side of the argument, but the post was almost ad-nauseum length already. Thanks for adding it.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Swedish Mama said...

Did you know that the deoderant, spray, roll on or stick clogs the bores. Now what happens when something gets stopped up? Also, if you are concerned about some unwanted smell sneaking thru', just use alittle lemon juice or clean with peroxide. I have also heard that alittle baking soda can neutralize body oders just like it does in the fridge, the laundry, the cat pan, etc, etc...

10:22 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Fascinating. To be honest, I may never be brave enough to try the all natur-el thing...but I think you have a true point.

Your body is sweating for a reason and to trap all that in there - ech.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Melissa Blair said...

I heard that soaking your feet in tea can keep them from sweating and smelling...wonder if it would work under the arms?

8:29 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

That would have to be one ginormous tea cup, but if I can track one down I'll give it a try.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

I am afraid to see your next post at the rate this is all going. LOL!

(i thought i left a comment earlier but it's not here..)

2:52 PM  
Blogger 3rd string's finest said...

hmmm, I think I shall try something new. Why? because WHen my 8 hour deodorant wears off before my 14 hour work day ends I am smelling way more than I would like to. In bahrain I would put dryer sheets in my tac vests and under my kevlar, worked wonders. By the way, Sam, I have had many a back-braking hug and and 1 or 2 times wear you evidently thought my sleeping bag was vacant and ready for a new tenant and I have never been offended by your scent.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude you smell real bad

6:54 PM  
Blogger Chel said...

Well, I have never noticed you smelling, but boy I reek, when I forget to wear it! Like onions!!

I will read the labels though, thanks for the info!

8:50 PM  

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