Friday, December 16, 2011

Stinking up the place

For two months I have been refusing to use deodorant to see if anyone would notice.  I have always disliked using deodorant and all the kinds that I have tried recently have ended up leaving a sticky gunk in my armpits that was really hard to get completely out even with thorough washing.  I remember back in university the Computer Science Club was renowned for smelling bad (sometimes justifiably, sometimes not) and I wondered if that was due to a lack of deodorant or showering.  The acid test was to simply stop using the stuff without anybody about it to see what sort of reactions I would get.

The only reaction I have catalogued thus far is Wendy's and she told me that I generally smell better now than I did before; she hadn't realized that I had stopped slathering my pits with gunk at all.  The trouble with that test is that people in relationships tend to especially like the way their partner smells and that unique scent can be a real source of comfort or arousal.  This is not so much true of everybody else in my life I think so now I just have to wait and see if anyone has noticed that I am a stinky man over the last two months.  My friends and relatives might or might not like my natural odor but they aren't likely to be swayed by associating it with either comfort or sexy time so hopefully I can get useful data.

Assuming everybody else agrees that they can't tell the difference I am left wondering what deodorant is good for at all.  Surely people who do a lot of physical labour or exercise are going to sweat more than me and be smellier but I found that I actually sweat less now than before because the gunk under my arms actually made the problem worse.  Perhaps showering regularly and skipping the chemical addons would lower the need for such things enough to make them not worth using?  Of course this isn't likely to sell a lot of people because I can't see much use for mascara, aftershave, perfume and many other widely used chemical addons and yet they don't seem to be going anywhere.


  1. It had yet to get to the point that it was annoying enough to comment on but I could definitely tell that someone at our D&D games was on the smelly side. I guess that was probably you? (For the record, it was not arousing...)

    If the problem is with gunk have you tried using a spray? Axe spray has yet to cover me with scantily clad women but it doesn't leave the white film behind that rolls used to.

  2. Well, I don't particularly worry about whether or not my personal products cover me with scantily clad women. Generally extra scantily clad women get me in trouble.

    It might have been me being smelly but we do normally cram 6 large men into a small (and sometimes hot) room for 8 hours at a stretch... I think a reasonable doubt still protects me.

  3. I *was* wondering what the scent was. Thanks for clearing it up. ;-)

  4. Your friends and casual acquaintances (i.e. Elli's teachers) probably wouldn't mention your smell to you no matter how bad it was. Neither would stangers on the subway. But they'd sure mention it to each other.

    Please wear some odourless deodorant, or as close to odourless as you can get, during Christmas. Please.

  5. Alright, I'll out myself: I haven't worn deodorant since I was 13 or 14 (about six months after I started wearing it). Pretty much every kind of deodorant says on the label something about discontinuing use if you develop a rash, so after trying several kinds I was forced to give up entirely.

    I was extremely self conscious about this at the time (something that was not helped by the rashes), but it's been quite a while now and it doesn't seem to be a problem. Now it is possible that everyone in my life has always been hiding the fact that I smell bad from me, but I find that scenario tough to get my head around. There is no doubt that when I exercise I start to smell, but here's a fact that pretty much everyone already knows: people who get really sweaty start to smell even when they wear deodorant.

    Of course there is the real problem that as soon as people know you don't wear deodorant they will start really paying attention. Paying attention means that they will notice a scent around you - something they didn't previously register as relevant. Then they will think, "Well that's what happens when you don't wear deodorant."

    I can promise all of you that I have seen Sky on several occasions in the last few months and I did not notice any difference. Don't be so sure that there must be one.