Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Armpits Smell Like Australia

My son, 10,  is now wearing Old Spice ("The Man Your Man Could Smell Like") deodorant in the flavor "Citrus" because Target of Pikesville (my second home) didn't have the variety he requested, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was "Mango."  Just imagine -- or rather, don't -- the tropical fruit fug in the morning in the gender bending bathroom at my house.

He's identifying as a man. Well, hooray. I guess. This makes life easier. And more complicated.

How much time has passed!  When he was a dewy-eyed toddler and gender-identified as "adorable" (sadly, a category grown-ups do not have) he thought I was the bees' knees; he snuggled in my arms and told me that my armpits smelled "wike a pwincess." I was like, This is the life my life could smell like and it does.

Now he says I stink.

So I went to --  yes you guessed it my second home, Target of Pikesville -- to check out what's new, what's changed in women's underarm odor control since the days of Smith College when I daubed myself strategically on the pulse points with patchouli and called it a day in the upending of the dominant paradigm in my Barbara Kruger t-shirt. I wore the same beret for four years.

I chose "Australia." And now my armpits smell like Australia which isn't even possible: that's a continent.

But my son is appreciative. I say, "Do I smell like the outback, a place I've never been? Koalas? I like koalas!" and it's reminding me of what irritates me most about myself as a woman: my big-eyed, clingy, land-animal eagerness to please; I survive in a narrow band of extremely specialized biome.


  1. "Australia" is my current favorite armpit smell! I also love mango. Deodorant has come a long way from that generic pink smell of my first roll-on. As have all smell-disguising products--I rejoice in honey-scented shampoo, the body wash that smells like a Roman Catholic church, and anything tea tree. If I've got to be squished up against someone in the London Tube, I hope they smell of coconut or spicy man-perfume. In the English countryside where I currently sit, many people on the bus smell of unwashed human, and I don't like that at all.

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