God be praised. This week my twelve-year love affair with underarm deodorant came perilously close to dissolving forever. Fortunately for myself and anyone who will ever come within a fourteen-foot radius of my being, I was saved by the irresistible fervor of my own hormones.
It all started on Wednesday morning. For one reason or another, as I was getting ready for work, I managed to get fully dressed–dress shirt, necktie and all–before realizing that I had forgotten to apply deodorant. It was too late to embark upon the series of loosenings and untuckings required to rectify the problem, so I decided to risk it and go to work as is. I rationalized my decision thusly:
1. It’s been pretty cold lately, so I can’t be expected to sweat that much.
2. My periodic trips to the file room don’t exactly constitute strenuous activity, so I, again,can’t be expected to sweat that much.
3. Deodorant causes Alzheimer’s disease, right? This is for my own good.
And so. Wednesday passed with unprotected underarms. And you know what? It was delightful! Nocaky paste crudding up my clothes, no artificial deodory smell, and my body didn’t seem to mind that much. I didn’t notice any extra stink, and when I got home the small amount of unpleasantness was certainly nothing worse than the usual mixture of spent fresh-all-day chemicals and bodily offerings that I usually find. Bonzer!
On Thursday morning I got brave. I remembered theD-O, but consciously neglected to apply it. Thursday passed much the same as Wednesday, only now my mind was reeling. This was a revelation! I didn’t need deodorant! Clearly, I was among the Lord’s chosen few, the superior beings whose bodies are so well-built that to even think of anything less than fragrant being released from them would be blasphemy. And think of the money I’d save! I even considered trying to sell the unopened stick of Arrid in my medicine cabinet on eBay (Goddamn Safeway two-for-one specials).
Then came Friday. Oh, Friday. I figured it would be a piece of cake. Last day of the week, things were slow at work, and “casual day” gave me the opportunity to forego the constrictions of neckwear and let my body breathe easier and more freely than normal. A new age was beginning. An age of naturality. An age free of chemicals that made me smell different than the Lord intended. Hell, maybe I didn’t even need soap!
Sadly, the dream came crumbling down around noon.I suddenly realized that I had been sweating like a whore in church all morning, and the foul spoils of my industrious glands were quickly forming a cloud of funk around me. At once I understood what so many young girls go through when an unexpected period yields tell-tale stains during the school day, and all thoughts turn to how they’ll ever manage to make it through the rest of the day with reputation intact.
The task became clear. I had to keep my coworkers away from me for five hours. But how? Instead of handing papers to people, I made paper airplanes and tossed them across the room. My boss didn’t care forthat. I insisted that all communication to and from me be done via intraoffice e-mail, claiming that I was forgetting how to read and write and needed to stay on my toes. I coughed and sneezed wildly, all the while shouting, “Bad cold over here! You don’t want any of this!” And all the while the lingering stench of secondary sexuality kept reminding me of my reproductive volatility and unfettered stank-asstiness.
At last, 5:00 came around. I hurried to the BART station, sat myself next to the dirtiest vagrant Icould find (the better to defer the blame for thesmell), and came home to a long, thorough shower. Afterwards I luxuriously slathered my forsaken Arrid under each arm, delighting in the cool, smooth feeling of odor repellant. Never again, my sweet. Now I know that the very seams of civilization are held together by deodorant, and I take solace in the fact that whem I’m old and grey the buildup of aluminum in my brain will render me incapable of remembering that horrible, stinky Friday.