Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Smell and the Fury

In which our Lady exhibits true Femininity. 

Okay, I’m not really furious, but isn't the title catchy?  Rather, I am smelly.  This blog post is about organic deodorant, and (can you guess?) how I don’t like it.  In my anti-cancer book there are some suggestions about how to rid excess chemicals from my life.  One way is by quitting all deodorants with aluminum in them and switching to “organic” brands.  It just so happens that I have a brother who lives in Phoenix, Arizona who swears by this stuff.  His argument is that we are meant to sweat in the armpit area and if we block that up, then it will just come out of our pores somewhere else, like the upper lip.  The book, on the other hand, suggests that we non-French women who regularly shave pits are daily wiping deodorizers on our skin that leach into our bloodstream and poison our systems bit by bit. 
After visiting for a short time, my brother flew back to Phoenix and left some organic deodorant sitting by my sink.  I decided to try it.  Why not?  I should have known it wasn’t for me when I put it on and felt slimier for it.  It was not powder dry, but slippery and damp feeling.  But I felt like the experiment was worthwhile, so I kept it on.  Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to choose a non-physical therapy day.  I was on my hands and knees—what we fondly call dog position—on top of a padded table when I happened to bend my head down to look under me to check if my flabby core was strong when I caught a serious whiff of body odor.  “Man,” I thought, “Is there a comment box somewhere for this?  Shouldn’t therapists know better—it is their job to be in close quarters, after all.  Wait— Ugh!  Could that be me???”  I spent the rest of the hour afraid to lift my arms from my side.  Not one of my more effective therapy sessions. 
I swore never to go back (to the deodorant that is).  The next morning after a ridiculously soapy shower, I proudly lifted my arm sky-high and slathered monstrous amounts of aluminum up and down my armpit.  But then I read the book and realized that there were more and more compelling reasons to try again.  So I did.  I lasted all day on Monday—feeling icky the whole time.  Then I woke at 3 am and actually couldn’t sleep because my armpits felt sticky and were even starting to itch.  Do you know, or can you imagine how noxious your sleeping space can get when you’re scratching at something that smells like the inside of an unwashed high-school football uniform after the big game that’s been trapped inside an airless locker for a month?  I had to get up and get some of the deadly kind of deodorant.  Deadly, but effective.  Afterward I slept like a lamb.  I give organic deodorant an F for failure.  May the other organic stuff work better. 


  1. I'm just curious as to what brand of organic deodorant you tried. I tried Tom's of Maine once. I can't remember if I liked it though. I think I liked the smell, but got that sticky feeling you described (and I don't even sweat that much). You should give Lush products a try:
    I think they only have a few stores in the US, but you can order them online. I haven't tried these either, but if you do, let me know what you think!

  2. I work in a physical therapy clinic. I can promise that a little B.o. is far from the worst thing they have had to deal with!