Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Sweaty Battles

I can still see my grandpa, brown skin, white hair, dark wash fitted jeans, leaning calmly against the end of the family room couch, newspaper in hand. I’d come in, and he’d have some bit of knowledge or instruction to give me. It was sometimes about how I needed to read the newspaper. Other times he’d tell me an inappropriate joke (e.g. What is the German word for a bra? A keepemfromfloppem). And a lot of the time it was some bit of information about health (read: vegetables, exercise, etc.). But one that he reiterated at least three times in my early youth was regarding aluminum zirconium, a main ingredient in most antiperspirants. “You'll get Alzheimer’s!” he insisted.

Being the sweaty little girl that I was, this limited my options immensely. I checked all the ingredients of deodorants at the store. It appeared that those without the dangerous aluminum were ineffective for me. And so, I gave up and stuck with Secret for most of my life.

I’ve battled with sweat and body odor for as long as I can remember. No matter the season or temperature, I sweat. It’s cold out? I sweat. It’s hot? I sweat. Nervous or stressed? I sweat. Antiperspirants didn’t do much against the forces of my sweat glands. In fact, it just made me smell like sweaty powder. AND it ruined all my clothes. There’s either a perma-crust in the armpits of my clothes, a perma-stink, or a yellowish (or brownish) perma-stain. Cute, right? Oh well. That’s the life of a sweaty monster.

Fast forward to the summer of 2014, when one of my good friends stayed at my apartment for a month and insisted that I switch to regular deodorant. She said it would take a little while to transition, that I might need to apply more than once per day, but it would all be fine.

Folks, it’s been a battle for over two years as every deodorant I have tried has simply been unable to do the job. I mean, if armpits were armies, mine would be the biggest and strongest army. For real. Nothing worked.

I made a special trip to Whole Foods and paid an outrageous amount for this stuff.

It just made me smell like sweaty flowers. I was unimpressed and gave it a whole week.

I tried good old Tom’s of Maine, too!

Tom’s wasn’t strong enough for me. I don’t think I gave it very long either.

For a while I stuck with this one below that I actually found at Wal-Mart. I even purchased it more than once, when I ran out.

It’s unscented and liquid. And it was OK. I didn’t smell too bad after a day, but definitely had to reapply. It was nice because it wasn’t too expensive, and I could get it at Wal-Mart. No specialty stores or online orders. I would use this again if I ran out of my current deodorant.

I ordered this from Vitacost, more than likely, but I can’t remember. I just remember it being too dry. It didn’t go on well and didn’t make me feel protected in any way, shape, or form.

Last December I tried this stuff.

It took forever to dry. I smelled fine on the first day but still got very sweaty. By the morning of day two, I smelled like a boys’ locker room with a hint of sweet lavender. Heaven help anyone around me after a morning workout (I’m sorry). This is what I have used for the past 9 months or so since I ordered it, and I’m not sure how, since I definitely had to apply it about twice a day.

I have realized in this battle against my pits that polyester is my sworn enemy. It absorbs and amplifies every smell my body can put out. Unfortunately, my red personal trainer shirts at 24 Hour Fitness are, you guessed it, 100% polyester. And in the summer, this hasn’t been the best situation, especially when I have only two shirts and am at the gym about four nights a week. Since I do laundry on Saturdays, I had to find an environmentally friendly solution for my stinky shirts in the middle of the week (the lavender roll on stuff was not doing the trick, even after a thorough washing and reapplication). So I did what all Internet-age people do: I Googled it. I made a simple mixture of water and baking soda, turned my shirts inside out, and scrubbed the mixture into the sleeves with a toothbrush. Then I let it air dry. This worked! But seriously? Why is this my life?

Do you people understand the extent of my plight of stink? When you’re manually de-odorizing your shirts with baking soda water? Does anyone else do this? Well, I did it all throughout June, July, and August, making a considerable baking soda mess on my black counters each time.

Finally, on a random mid-week grocery store trip after work a few weeks ago, I decided to see what the men’s deodorant selection held in store. Over two years of desperation led me to this moment. I know Old Spice has a wide variety of deodorant (non-antiperspirant), and as good as it smells, I associate it with my grandpa. And no wonder he wore it. It doesn’t have aluminum zirconium. I had the original Old Spice in hand when I spotted something on the bottom shelf. Arm & Hammer Essentials Deodorant.

You see this picture? This is the image of B.O. Salvation. This beautiful orange capped stick of the sweat gods has saved my life. Or my nose. And other people’s noses, if we’re being honest. Everyone in my life should write a thank you note to Arm & Hammer for saving you all from my stench! Except if I’m wearing polyester. Then I still reek.

You guys, after over a day of sweat, I would gladly let you sniff under my arms. I really would. It isn’t an overpowering fragrance (it was the first day or two). It actually somehow acts as an antiperspirant, because I’m sweating MUCH less with this stuff than any of my roll-on or other deodorants. Even better: It’s an average to cheap price, and it’s available anywhere!

It has been a long road wrought with unyielding perspiration and insurmountable odor. But thanks to Arm & Hammer, my armpits and I have won this battle. 

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