Aunt Moxie column two
I’ve always had a very strained relationship with deodorant. I need it, but it’s my nemesis. The brand, the effectiveness, the frequency of usage... it’s a difficult relationship that I still try to get right.
Our love-hate relationship started in fourth grade when I started needing to use it. I was heading off to camp for a couple weeks, and my mom, trying to help, bought me a trial-size of Tussy. At that age, personal hygiene wasn’t a need; it was a fashion. Perhaps it still is; though I don’t have kids, so who knows?
But Back in the late ‘70s, certain brands were “in style:” the Personal Touch razor, Short and Sassy shampoo, and... oh, yes: Tickle, not Tussy.
If Mom knew of Tickle, she didn’t know trends -- at least not among 5th graders -- so she sent me off to camp with a source of ridicule. And it wouldn’t have mattered (nor would I have cared) had my cousin, who was a year older, not pointed it out to every girl in our cabin: “Look, everyone, my cousin wears Tussy! Tussy, everybody... Tussy!” She shouted this out to the group while we dressed, holding the red and white bottle high over her head. I will never use Tussy ever again.
The next year I started using Dry Idea. It smelled good, it wasn’t sticky, and best of all, it was “in;” which, at by that point, was all I cared about. That is, until “stink” became an issue.
My mom said that as a young man, my dad could carry a fume. But I never noticed because he used Arrid. Evidently, it worked. So, maybe I should have started using Arrid, too. If it was good enough for Dad, surely it would have been good enough -- er, effective enough -- for me. But I didn’t want to smell like an aerosol, and Arrid tended to have that residual smell. So I tried everything else that was made for people like me: you know... females... who are supposed to smell pretty; not like polecats.
My loyalty to a particular deodorant through the years was tenuous at best. I tried brands made for women and others made for men... I even went for the crystal rock alternative, only to find that I smelled like onions within hours.
I tried Mitchum. It was a no-go. I tried Secret, too. I learned quickly that despite branding itself as “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman,” the secret behind Secret was that it was not made for me. I needed something stronger; something made for oxen.
And I thought I had found it... at least by my early 20s. But I learned the hard way that I still had far to go. A guy I was dating came over, unannounced. We were having a nice make-out session on my couch until he asked me a question that still haunts me to this day. Pulling his face away from mine, he looked at me stunned, as if the unexpected had suddenly occurred: “Did you just go running?” he asked.
“No, I went for a power-walk.... Why?” I asked, defensively, dreading what I knew I was about to hear.
“Because you kinda... stink,” he said, with a look that was half shell-shock, half-horror.
Twenty years and twenty trials later, I’ve finally found a winner or two: Degree - Clinical Protection and Right Guard, “the official deodorant of the NBA.” My fingers are crossed, but so far, so good. Because Chris Paul may be basketball, as Right Guard likes to say; but I’m a budding writer -- and a woman with a “stank.” So, just like Kobe, I’ll stay on my game. If Right Guard’s good enough for him, surely one of these options will be good enough for me.