Wednesday, January 6, 2010

B.O. vs. Cancer

So, I smelled. Pretty fucking bad.

In the last year or so, I developed an odor so profound, some kind of weird, old man overactive pheromone stink so distinct, that I almost have trouble going to bed with myself. I can only imagine how tough it is for my wife.

It all started when I decided it was time to forsake the aluminum-filled Old Spice for something a little less Alzheimers-y.

Mmmm, Old Spice. Before the new ad campaign featuring LL Cool J and showering Centaurs, aiming squarely at the Axe Body Spray market, this was a scent you could only inherit from a father. In fact, I did inherit from my father.

I loved that smell. It was strong. You could smell an Old Spice man, whistling a mile away. Back in the 90s, one of my work colleagues quietly advised me to "ease up on the cologne," refusing to believe that such a mellifluous scent could come from a single off-yellow stick, applied generously to my underarms.

I started rubbing all that muskiness on my t
ender 13-year old pits well before I even had an odor. All 79 pounds of me, with a thick pair of glasses and an unruly Jew-Fro, trying to smell like a grizzled old sailor, as he returns home from sea.

Now, with 24 years of Johnson and Johnson lab work seeping deep into my pores, I'm probably already mutating cells like a 3-mile island resident. So I started seeking an alternative. Problem is, the natural stuff doesn't work. I was going through deodorants like other people go through breath mints. I had long talks with the natural grocers about my desire to smell ok and not get weird diseases from my hygiene. One of them steered me toward a Tea Tree Oil based stick from JASON natural body care products.

It seemed to work so I stuck with it, despite the fact that my wife told me she has bad reactions to Tea Tree Oil and a new work colleague told me that Tea Tree has high levels of estrogen that will soon cause me to grow breasts. Fuck it. It smells ok and it probably won't give me cancer. My wife and my man breasts would have to suffer.

But then I made a fatal flaw. I went and messed with my then harmonious pH balance.

Up until this point, I had been very happy with my natural bath soap - the bar version of Dr. Bronners soap. Yes, the same Dr. Bronner's soap you hippies use while touring with Phish and cleaning your dishes in a nearby stream - if you clean your dishes. But the bar version doesn't come with all that baggage. Because it's a bar and it lives in your shower, it's indistinguishable from the chemical laden Coast or Ivory I had lived without for years. In fact, I didn't even realize that I had been using that Dr. Bronners.

Then one night, my wife told me she rented a documentary called "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Box." A movie about soap.

It was fascinating. Truly. I recommend it highly. Seriously.

I decided to switch from Dr. Bronner's bar soaps, to his liquid bottles, just like the one hippie campers use. It would be like taking a little camping trip in my shower every morning. It smelled way mint-ier and it makes your balls tingle. No joke. I have discussed this phenomenon with other users and they agree, the Dr. Bronner ball tingle is great way to start your day.

And then it started. The stink. It was huge. Powerful. And it literally started the moment I got out of the shower - even before I could apply my new natural tea tree oil deodorant. It made no sense. How something so sweet and minty, could make me smell so foul? And it was unlike any body odor I had ever encountered. I could smell it in meetings at work. I could smell it while eating meals. You can only imagine what a smell like that evolved into by day's end.

So I went off the Dr. Bronner's liquid. Back on the Dr. Bronner's bar soap. I think I'm smelling better everyday and I'm keeping it natural.

But this whole thing really made me wonder; could hippies earn more respect if they just used Bronner's bar soap over that stink-filled liquid?