In my last post, you got to learn a bit more about me. Well, this week I’m going to take that to another level and get a bit more personal. As with most revelations of this nature, it starts with a confession. I started going to the gym about a year and a half ago and that’s when it happened. I got stanky pits. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but being an active middle-aged male who was looking to firm up a bit of his dad bod had this one glaring drawback.
Since the first day I started applying aerosol deodorant on my pits after gym class to hopping out of the shower thirty years later this has never been a problem. When I was a teenager if I forgot to apply the musky-scented instant female attraction spray my body’s response was swift and smelly. But, as I aged I found that I could miss a day and still not be embarrassed by it.
Well, apparently if you all of a sudden start changing the routine and adding regular vigorous exercise to it, things change. Oh, man do they change. I’ve got hairy man pits so I tend toward the antiperspirant gels. I find it gives me the best coverage. I’ve got some crazy allergy thing with scents (a story for another day), so whatever I use it has to be scent free. Unscented. It must be unscented.
I was using the Mitchum Advanced antiperspirant & deodorant gel for men. It was pure 48-hour awesomeness… until it wasn’t. One day it just stopped working, and I don’t mean that it kinda stopped working and after vigorous exercise, you could tell. I mean I was sitting at my desk at work and by lunchtime, I noticed that I stunk. I thought that maybe the one I was using expired. Does deodorant expire? I wasn’t sure, but I saw my blessed Mitchum Advanced unscented gel on sale one day and bought half a dozen of them. I figured it was possible that after a couple years on the shelf that maybe they lost their staying power. So, I went out and bought a brand new one. The next day I experienced the same problem.
And so began the quest to find a new deodorant or antiperspirant that worked. There was only one problem with this. Nearly every product out there – for both men and women – had a scent to it. It was either something like Cool Blast or Thundershower Power or Awesome Ice for the men and Spring Sunrise or Waterfall Lilly or Sunsoaked Meadow for the women.
|Image courtesy of alex_ugalek at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I started sniffing them one-by-one in the aisle of the grocery store, like some kind of deodorant huffing addict, trying to find one that wasn’t offensive to my scent sensitivity. They all smelled. The first unscented one I came across – in the “organics” aisle – I bought. It didn’t work. Then, I tried a ladies unscented one. “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman,” eh? We’ll see about that. Again, no dice. It wasn’t strong enough for this man. Not even close. So, with my tail between my legs and my fingers pinching my nose I had to start trying the scented ones.
I went through quite a lot of them. More than ten alternatives when it was all said and done. Every one either stunk like the perfume aisle at the department store or could barely keep the pit stink at bay for an entire workday. I even kept one in my bag so I could re-up at some point.
For some unknown reason, I took a mug shot of just some of the ones I tried (please note that this is not a complete list):
|Who is Keyser Söze?
Turns out the ones that were the least fragrant were the “white powder” type and, while they worked pretty well and didn’t stink to high heaven or make my eyes itchy and red, they completely destroyed all my t-shirts. Now I’m faced with having to dish out money for new t-shirts or rip off some crazy DIY solution off of Pinterest and hand-clean the pits of my shirts all afternoon.
At this point you’re probably asking, “Andrew, how did you solve this problem? I must know if you came up with a solution!” and it’s a perfectly reasonable question. Unfortunately, there is no clear resolution, and certainly not a scent-free one. See the third stick from the left in that lineup photo? It’s not white (it’s a blue solid stick) so it ruins my t-shirts less and I’ve trained my body to not reject it and make my eyes water and cause sneezing over several miserable weeks of use. It’s the one I’m going with for the foreseeable future until one of these stupid companies comes out with an unscented gel like my good friends at Mitchum have. Sorry, Mitchum, we had a good run but for some reason, my body chemistry changed and you no longer work. It’s not you, it’s me.
I just want to not stink while trying to not stink and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.