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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Deodorant and the People Who Don't Wear It

   
Author Topic: Deodorant and the People Who Don't Wear It
Jeff C.
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First of all, I'm sorry if this actually offends anyone. With that being said, let me tell you all a little story. You can skip the next paragraph if you don't care.

A week or so ago I went out with a girl who was seemingly cute and smart and seemed like a pretty cool chick. We spent the evening going out to dinner and a movie, and it was overall a fairly decent time. As the night progressed, however, I began to notice a scent. And, as you might expect, it took me a while to figure out where exactly it was coming from. After a while, I noticed that it was, in fact, coming from the girl, which I thought was odd since she had smelled perfectly fine earlier. I chalked it up to it being a bit humid outside. After all, why let an otherwise fine evening go to waste? Well, we went out again a few nights later, and this time I noticed it immediately. It was the same smell as before and I could clearly tell that it was her. I began to suspect that she wasn't wearing deodorant, so I managed to bring it up, but in a very subtle way. I mentioned that there was a guy at work with an odor problem and that I was fairly certain he didn't wear deodorant (this was true, too), asking her how she would handle the situation (this other guy has been written up for having a bad odor before and continues to get crude remarks from people in the workplace). In response, she brought up that deodorant is actually really bad for you and that you shouldn't wear it, that it makes you dumber and contains hazardous chemicals and aluminum. It was at this time that I decided I was probably not going to call her again because, while I respect her opinion, I can't get behind the idea. It was a deal breaker. Honestly, I've never heard of anyone not wearing it because of the chemicals, and even then, I'm fairly certain they make all natural substitutes. When I brought up that last part, however, she said that even those were bad for you.

So my question is this: is deodorant actually bad for you? And what are your thoughts on the product? And in this particular situation, how do you go about telling someone you barely know that they should probably be wearing it when they clearly have reasons that oppose the use of it?

Personally, I didn't think it was my place to tell her what she should and should not do, especially since I didn't know her very well.

[ January 20, 2012, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: Jeff C. ]

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kmbboots
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For some people (I am one) the chemicals in antiperspirant are indeed bad. I have an allergy to many metals (not uncommon) and the aluminum chlorohydrate (the active ingredient) gives a painful, itchy rash. I do use the natural substitutes but they are not as effective. Generally, though, if people wash frequently enough, the scent is normal rather than unpleasant.
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rivka
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OTOH, the people who think aluminum is absorbed into the bloodstream from the skin are nuts. [Wink]
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Aros
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I believe that maybe, somewhere, probably in the desert, someone with excellent hygiene (and who showers multiple times per day) can get away without wearing antiperspirant. But I doubt it.

It's a societal convention to not stink. Sure, maybe a woman doesn't NEED to shave her armpits or legs. But everyone else will think they're gross because that's what the norm is conditioned to believe.

There have been dozens of studies testing the safety of deodorants and antiperspirants, and there's been no conclusive findings to say that they aren't safe. Just the rantings of conspiracy theory nut-jobs.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
OTOH, the people who think aluminum is absorbed into the bloodstream from the skin are nuts. [Wink]

Does an infection from the itchy rash count?

Aros, ever been out of the US?

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rivka
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That's still external and topical, Kate. No aluminum is being absorbed into your bloodstream.
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Bella Bee
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Well, that was the original purpose of perfume, to cover body odor. Perhaps those who don't wear deodorant could go back to that (natural scents, of course) and then at least they'd smell of something nice.

I had a housemate who went out with a guy with a serious odor problem. He used deodorant and still smelled really bad, even just after taking a shower. My other housemate and I didn't know how to mention it (his girlfriend had no sense of smell) so we just used to open all the windows and doors. Even in winter.

Although I will say that after a long day rushing around working, probably everybody doesn't smell as fresh as they'd like to.

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BlackBlade
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This may be TMI for some, but I find Mrs. BB's natural aroma especially after exercising to be irresistible. Her tendency to be enthusiastic in her use of deodorant frustrates my enjoyment of this.
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MattP
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I'd be more concerned about her susceptibility to junk science goofiness than her funk. I would consider recommending natural alternatives if she's insistent and if this is an ongoing problem. I'd certainly want to be made aware if I was stinky to everyone else.
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pooka
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:scandalized:

I think you can get a rash from something without it being absorbed into the bloodstream.

I'm familiar with the rationale that deposits containing aluminum have been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, but I assumed it was something the Alzheimer's does and not something the aluminum caused, since aluminum is one of the most common elements in the earth's crust (I've heard, anyway). My in laws avoid cans and aluminum cookware, but they should also avoid potatoes and melons, seems to me. They don't go without antiperspirant, though. Senility is one thing, BO is another.

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kmbboots
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BB, you are not alone among men. There is a difference between a normal scent and an old or dirty scent.
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Dan_Frank
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What Matt said.

As Kate indicated, some people have allergies, but what this girl was talking about is pure junk science.

There absolutely are deodorants that lack the (really effective!) allergenic ingredients in normal deodorants, and while they don't work nearly as well, the difference is the sort of thing you'd notice if you went on a biking trip or a hike together. Not one you'd usually notice in a movie theater or over dinner.

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Ace of Spades
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http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/photos/5-deodorant-alternatives/a-more-natural-choice
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
This may be TMI for some, but I find Mrs. BB's natural aroma especially after exercising to be irresistible. Her tendency to be enthusiastic in her use of deodorant frustrates my enjoyment of this.

I've heard of this before. Sounds like true love, BB!
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BlackBlade
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Kate: That is true.

-----

Jeff C: If you can't follow your nose, what can you follow?

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FoolishTook
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I have the same problem with deodorant as kmbboots. I can't wear it, even the "hypo-allergic" kind.

There are people who have odor problems that have nothing to do with deodorant or cleanliness. I have a cousin who struggles with this. She's not unclean, and she uses deodorant all the time.

The girl you dated problem had that issue, poor girl. If you felt that she smelled bad, then the chemistry probably wasn't there anyway. After all, scent factors in when it comes to attraction.

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BlackBlade
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It does? [Wink]
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Samprimary
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I honestly never needed deoderant until I was like 25. I don't sweat hardly at all, or at least didn't. It actually could put me at risk of heatstroke, but was otherwise just advantageous.

Some girlfriends were actually kind of turned off by this. Scent is important in attraction, and I was just a complete blank slate.

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T:man
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Eh, I have to wear deodorant, and apply it many times a day. I'm a pretty sweaty guy.

My girlfriend barely has to wear deodorant at all, even when she has an odor it is not at all unpleasant. I kinda like it.

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ElJay
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I rarely wear deodorant. Mostly if I know I'm going to be engaging in physical labor, if it's extremely warm out, or if I'm skipping more than one day showering. Sometimes unexpected sweating happens and it was a mistake, but not often enough for me to wear it every day.
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Noemon
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Yeah, I basically don't wear it either, and I've never seen people reacting to me in a way that would indicate that I smell bad.
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AchillesHeel
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I don't wear it either, I've spent my entire life in Arizona and rather than sweat it out with everyone during the day I have lived my adult life nocturnally. I work a menial labor job that doesn't cause me to perspire and I'm hygienic, no complaints yet. Meanwhile I smell every smoker and drinker who enters my store, I have always found that equally if not more egregious.
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kmbboots
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I have spent sufficient "up close" time with both
ElJay and Noemon to attest to to the fact that they smell fine.

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CaySedai
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I tried using an Avon roll-on (24-hour) after dealing with itchy armpits from regular deodorants/anti-perspirants. It works great for me and I stock up when the flea market is in town (2 people there sell Avon products) so I only have to buy them once or twice a year.

And then there's another natural alternative. (He played Hurley on "Lost.") I love how he did "market research" to verify its effectiveness. [Big Grin]

As far as telling someone they need to work on hygiene issues, the closest I can remember coming is when I was a teenager and had to bring a particular woman to church every week. She usually reeked of perfume. One Sunday in summer we were discussing the heat and she said something about it was so hot she took a shower once a day. I said something about taking two or three a day because of the heat ... it's a long time ago and I can't remember exactly what I said. Anyway, it occurred to me that maybe she wasn't taking a shower on Sunday morning or possibly even Saturday night and using perfume to mask odors. That would explain a lot.

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I have spent sufficient "up close" time with both
ElJay and Noemon to attest to to the fact that they smell fine.

Man, where is Raja's waggling eyebrow emoticon when you need it?
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Dogbreath
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When in the US, and when working with Americans, I wear deodorant. However, I'm used to being in situations where I work really hard and don't shower for 3 or 4 days at a time, or longer, and I've acclimated myself to the smell of body odor. I've also been in third world countries where deodorant simply isn't used, and flirted with absolutely gorgeous girls in those countries who simply had a strong, natural smell. (not dirty mind you - they would bathe daily)

Like BB, I find a woman's natural scent enticing, and know plenty of girls who feel the same way about men. Perhaps it's because I'm usually around very athletic women. It's a social custom, so I go along with it, but it's not something I find personally offensive or important.

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MattP
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quote:
Like BB, I find a woman's natural scent enticing, and know plenty of girls who feel the same way about men.
In my experience the quality of the natural scent varies considerably from one individual to another. I don't know if it's a factor of genetics, diet, both, or neither, but there are definitely girls that I've been around that smell really bad after sweating a bit and others that do not.
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scholarette
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My husband would be fine without deodorant whereas I am stinky and two showers in one day is not unreasonable. I have very little heat tolerance in general and burn extremely easily as well as dehydrating frequently. Growing up in Arizona, I have learned to be extremely careful.
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