26 January 2012

Why Do You Smell So Bad?

Last week I saw a tweet exchange between two people that firstly really made me laugh and secondly really made me think.  It went something like this (I am paraphrasing because I now can’t find the tweets in question but basically this is it, although I have in no way captured the funny parts of the exchange so I’m sorry about that):

“Sitting next to a guy in class who REALLY stinks.  Ever heard of deodorant!?”
“Ew, that’s gross.  It’s 2012: how do people still smell?!”

I didn’t really think much about it at the time but over the last week or so it’s kept coming back to me, this idea that it’s 2012, HOW do we all still have beauty-related problems?  You all know as well as I do that the market, in pretty much every country I can think of, it’s absolutely saturated with cosmetics and toiletries.  Saturated.  You can barely turn a corner without seeing an advert for a mascara that lengthens short lashes, a shampoo that banishes dandruff, a moisturiser that improves your skin and a deodorant that stops you smelling.

Now, of course we all also know that advertising lies.  Well, not so much lies, as elevates the truth* but nevertheless, there are elements of truth in all advertising, and thus of all of the products on the market, there is something that will work for everybody.  There just has to be.  So, applying very basic arithmetic/puzzle logic here, if there’s a product that works for everybody, why doesn’t everybody smell nice, look reasonably shiny and have good eyelashes?

I totally appreciate that not everyone is interested in matters of the make-up bag.  I get it.  But I would have thought that everybody (and I’m aware I’m generalising a little) would be aware of the concept of cleanliness, especially younger generations.  We’re not talking bathroom shelves groaning with oils and lotions and balms and potions, we’re talking about your absolute basics: a shower gel or soap, a shampoo, maybe a conditioner, a deodorant. 

That is the absolute bare minimum I would have thought we could all get by with.  Oh, and toothpaste and a toothbrush.  But essentially, those four or five items are all that’s required to get through life clean and sweet smelling.  Not too much trouble to go to, I’d say.

Also, I do appreciate that there are people (and I am one of them so don’t go thinking I’m being judgemental and finger-pointy) that, when talking about deodorant, require more than any old offering from Dove or Sure.  I personally use quite a strong anti-perspirant as I can get quite sweaty.  Not glamorous, but it’s a fact.  I’m not going to pretend I smell like fairies’ and sunshine all the time, because I don’t.  None of us do.  So I get that some people need more attention in that area than others.

There are products and shelves and baskets and websites and CITIES full of products.  Full to bloody bursting.  And you don’t have to buy the expensive ones.  You don’t have to buy all the different scents and variations of them.  You just need to buy one.  BUT.  And this is the big, ol’ nasty BUT of my argument.  You do have to buy the RIGHT one.   

Pay attention to your body, to your skin, to your hair, to your armpits.  Figure out what you think you are and what your problem, if any, is.  Then go to the shop.  Or go online.  Or go to a mate’s house and poke around their bathroom.  Read the labels.  Pay attention and think hard about what it is you’re trying to achieve/solve.  And then buy that product.  That one shampoo.  That one shower gel.  That one toothpaste.  That one deodorant. 

You will find it.  Why?  Because it’s 2012.  There’s just no need to smell bad anymore.

*And by “elevates” I mean “stretches it so far sometimes as to render it utterly untrue and therefore an actual, blatant lie”

P.S. I realise the photo is of no relation whatsoever to this post,  but I like it.  I do good thinking there.  Thinking about this post, for example.


  1. Loved this post, really made me laugh because I do think this sort of thing all the time x


  2. Here, here. I'm spreading the Mitcham love. That stuff is amazing.

  3. I think it is essential to drink a lot of water to flush out the toxins from the body...it is essential to smell good and there are many deo roll ons which work beautifully under arm and a nice fragrance for the day s good to carry always.

  4. lovely blog.xx


  5. Can I ask what deodorant you use? I'm in the market for a new one, I'm quite 'sweaty' too :( Loved this post, it boggles my mind daily how my OH survives with only a shampoo! xxx

    1. Hi Laura,

      I use Sure or Dove 48 hour cream ones in the winter (the Sure is the best), and in the summer I use a really strong one called Perspirex that you apply a couple of times a week. Strong stuff but really works.

      You can't go wrong with Mitchum, either.

      Hope that helps! x

  6. Hilarious tweet! I think cleanliness is something your parents/guardians should instill in you just for basic hygenie reasons! I loved this post and your sense of humor, when you intially wrote about advertising 'elevates' I thought more like 'stretches' the truth and then you expanded at the bottom :) x