As I was staring up and down the tremendously scary wall of deodorants in Walmart the other day, I came to a revelation. I’m 23 years old, and I still have not found the deodorant that’s right for me. You know, the one that a person discovers is right for them and is locked into for the rest of their life. The variable scent that identifies them when they walk into a room.
I’ve been using deodorant since I was eight. I know, a million elementary school teachers and babysitters probably wish kids would use the stuff well before eight years old. A funny story on that. I actually cried the first time I was forced to use deodorant. Seriously, my parents came home with a can of Degree, and I just burst into tears for like 2 minutes. I’m not really sure why. I guess it was some kind of coming of age, or something like that. I was a weird kid. I guess such a groundbreaking event in my life of applying a daily cosmetic to prevent stinking was just too much to handle.
Anyway, I’ve been using deodorant for 14 years and still haven’t settled on the one I like best. Maybe I’m just easily confused, but I prefer to think of it as a testament to just how many freaking kinds of deodorant there are.
I’m serious. You’ve got the white, powdery kind. You know, the ones for the people who I guess enjoy the sensation of chalk granules rubbing their armpits raw every day. You’ve got the kind that looks like the chalky kind, but miraculously transforms into some kind of magical clear, sweat proof shield on contact. I’ll never understand how that works. Then you’ve got that weird colored gel that feels like putting refrigerated jelly under your arms every morning. And then you’ve got that cheap kind that smells good but doesn’t actually block sweat. It’s kind of like wearing a jacket in the summertime. But that’s not all. You can also contaminate the environment by using liquefied deodorant in CFC leaking aerosol cans, you know, if that’s what you’re into.
But that’s just the delivery methods. What about the flavors of deodorant. You can make your armpits smell like a tropical breeze, a rain forest, fresh linens, or absolutely nothing at all. Seriously, they make an unscented deodorant. How is that even possible? Also, chocolate, just in case you want to make your underarms smell like a sticky melted chocolate bar.
My point is this. The deodorant industry is huge. Why do people need a hundred different selections of deodorant in one place. Why does is matter what your armpits smell like, as long as they don’t smell like, you know, armpits? Do that many people get close enough to smell your deodorant on a daily basis? Do people just come up to you at school or work and say, “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy. But what does your deodorant smell like? Mine’s Maine Wood Spice!”
And yes, I know different ones work for different people. Old Spice causes breakouts for me, and I swear Right Guard renders some kind of toxic sludge. But still, it is nothing short of intimidating going to the deodorant isle. I mean, it’s grounds for a mental breakdown. Like, I seriously feel like I have to hide my indecisiveness from the three other people staring at the deodorant wall probably feeling just as puzzled as me.
[This post was originally published on December 2, 2013. I republished it because deodorant is still complicated.]
[Dear Daily Post, I’m avoiding your prompt because I came up with “Are is the new is.” That’s not much to go on.]