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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Manly yes... but I like it too!

I was always confused by the Irish Spring soap commercial from which I lifted today's title. 

Granted, I was in Junior High School at the time, and not personally involved in the household toiletry-purchasing decisions.  But still... who ever heard of a soap being so gender-specific that a woman would feel inclined to make a public admission about using the stuff?

Fast forward a couple of decades and I find myself sharing a bathroom sink and medicine cabinet with my brand-spanking-new wife.  We were still at the innocent stage of the marriage where we pretended that the other person sprang out of bed each morning smelling fresh and sweet!

Since neither of us had yet to admit to the existence of morning breath or body odor, we each did our own shopping for personal hygiene products.  Which basically meant that she shopped... and I generally forgot.

One morning the inevitable happened and I realized that I was out of the manly, sport-scented (whatever the heck that means) anti-perspirant/deodorant I'd been using.  Since I wasn't quite ready to let on to my lovely bride that I actually, y'know, produced body odor, I rooted around in the medicine cabinet over the sink and found Zahava's choice in underarm protection; Lady Speedstick.

These little boundaries of personal ownership between newly minted spouses come tumbling down remarkably quickly when potentially offensive smells are involved.  Without even a moment's hesitation I slapped some of that powder-fresh goodness on my pits and forged ahead with my morning ablutions.

A funny thing happened that day.  I didn't sweat.  At all!

It was an unusually warm late September day and I remember thinking to myself that I was sure to be drenched by the time I finished with the sauna-like subway rides to and from work.  But when I got home that evening I was as dry as the Sahara.

I had always figured that the only difference between men's and women's underarm treatments was the scent.  But here I was faced with empirical evidence that the girlie stuff was a whole lot stronger than the crap I'd been buying since getting that free sample back in 8th grade 'Health' class!

I don't know if I ever made a formal admission to Zahava about my switch to her product... but she must have eventually caught on since her stock of Lady Speed stick was being depleted at roughly twice the normal rate.

Over the years I've gotten a few snarky comments from Zahava and the big kids about my loyalty to a product designed for women.  But it works... so why should I let a few snickers shame me into switching to a more gender-appropriate product, right?

So you can imagine my confusion when I ran out of Lady Speed Stick the other day and went to pilfer some from my wife's medicine cabinet (yes, she has one all to herself)... and she hands me her current underarm preparation; the guy-stuff I used to use!   

Huh?  Is there some sort of rule that at least one adult in the house has to smell like a man???


Posted by David Bogner on June 5, 2005 | Permalink


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...you mean just like when one half of the brain can theoretically take over the tasks of the other half upon a [partial] failure, just this time it's through, err, hormones or so?

I used men's shower gel and deo sticks in my rebel years...it just smelled much better than the ever sweet and cheap womens's stuff. And lo!, today there are androgyne eau-de-toilets, shower gels, soaps and deo sticks!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jun 5, 2005 12:28:13 PM

The product you most recently pilfered from my stock was:
a) unscented (not sports-scented) and
b) bought only because the feminine powder-scented version was not available at the time and location of my last purchase.

I AM happily back to the version marketed for women -- powder scented and all! :-)

Of note -- the brand I use (both genders of this product) happens to be the Consumer Reports leader (sorry Speed Stick -- it is NOT you!).

Even more interesting (if you can use the word interesting to describe this mundane topic!) is:
a) a dry-cleaner told me that in order to avoid yellowing your clothes that your underam protective product needs to be both roll-on and anti-persperant
b) the reason women's products in this category are more effective is that they have a different ph factor than products for men -- women actually sweat more than men, which is why our products tend to be more effective

Posted by: zahava | Jun 5, 2005 1:03:05 PM


(A comment on a comment...)

My husband just came in from his morning run, and handed me his shirt. Not to wash, yet, but just so that I could touch it, and marvel at its soggy state. It was uniformly soaked, damp to the touch throughout. My running gear never got in that shape!

Women sweat more than men? Can this be?

Posted by: Emma | Jun 5, 2005 3:34:00 PM

What ever happened to the old saying, "Horses sweat, men perspire, and women glow"? Sigh... don't I wish!

Posted by: AmyS | Jun 5, 2005 5:32:40 PM

Well, Zahava's comment suggests that this is but a temporary glitch and that David will be reoriented in no time, thank goodness. It also suggests that Yona's weaning woes are long behind them since neither of them would be able to concentrate on such trivia if they still had a constantly-screaming toddler or painful boobs.

I'm glad.

I expect a small novella the next time David runs out of toilet paper and doesn't remember where the rest is stored.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 5, 2005 5:54:34 PM

mademoiselle a. ... Nothing androgynous here. We seem to have a somewhat confused household (my wife's comment not withstanding).

Zahava... uh huh.

Emma... If my wife says it, it must be true. In all the time I've known her I have never known her to be wrong.

AmyS... If this were true the stuff would be called antiglowient. :-)

Doctor Bean... Yes, for the most part that chapter is behind us. But please don't get me started on toilet paper. In my single days a 4-pack of TP would last approximately a year (longer if it was 2-ply). When I got married I noticed that the jumbo 16-pack of extra cushy TP lasts most of a week. I don't ask because I'm too afraid of the possible answers to this mystery.

Posted by: David | Jun 5, 2005 6:04:15 PM

if it works, use it no? i played competative sports in high school, and i used guys deoderant the whole time... sports smelling and all! ive since switched back to the feminine stuff but yaknow.... never bothered me at all using guys stuff. though it has bothered psat boyfriends

Posted by: Wildroze | Jun 5, 2005 6:16:09 PM

Androgynous scents are nothing else than the industry's current concessions to the crossover of "manish" and "womanish" scents....I was directing attention to the so-called "gender-appropriate products", as you worded it. Meaning actually that in my opinion, there doesn't exist such a thing as a "gender-appropriate" scent. It's all depending on whims and fashions.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jun 5, 2005 6:22:23 PM

A woman's response to heat stress differs somewhat from a man's. Women sweat less, lose less heat through evaporation, and reach higher body temperatures before sweating starts. Nevertheless, women can adapt to heat stress as well as men. Regardless of gender, people with a higher level of physical fitness generally better tolerate, and adapt more readily to, heat stress than do less fit individuals.-This si from a Woman's health magazine.

I'm from the shvitzers myself. I feel bad for the chassidim in
Israel who walk around with strimels and bekeshas in th 90+
degree weather (that should be assur in my opinion).

Not that it matters but what does consumer reports say is the best men's and womens anti-perperant. I personally prefer aerosal over roll on...let's take a poll on that. Also anyone worried about the link of aluminum and Altzhiemers. Most deodorant tends to have aluminum in it.

Posted by: shloimy | Jun 5, 2005 6:27:37 PM

I expect a small novella the next time David runs out of toilet paper and doesn't remember where the rest is stored.

Doc Bean,

There is a simple answer to this, Cabbage Leaves. ;) Sorry, going to keep nursing that one as long as I can.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 5, 2005 7:17:15 PM

Sorry, going to keep nursing that one

Oh! Very punny! [groaning and shaking my head]

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 5, 2005 7:38:10 PM

Oh, this explains why you are so sensitive David! (I mean in the best way of course.) : )

Posted by: Alice | Jun 5, 2005 7:50:43 PM

That is so hilarious. Maybe that's why yours ran out all those years ago. I think if a product works, use it and who cares. Great post, thanks for bringing a smile to my face. Fantabulous ending.

Posted by: The Complimenting Commenter | Jun 5, 2005 8:08:30 PM

Oh! Very punny! [groaning and shaking my head]

Would you rather that I leaf you alone.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 5, 2005 8:32:45 PM

Wildroze... Obviously I agree with you because I've been a loyal Lady Speed Stick user all these years! Great to see your countdown numbers getting so small! If I don't get another chance to sat so, have a great time in Greece and please consider yourself invited when you get to Israel!!!

mademoiselle a. ... I'm quite secure with my powder fresh scent. ;-)

Jack... You can't help yourself from 'tossing' that one around, eh?

Alice... Thank you... I'll accept any compliment you care to send my way.

The Complimenting Commenter... Wow! I've really made it to the big time! I got a comment from the famous complimenting commenter. I highly recommend that anyone not familiar with this wonderful person go check him out. His blog's whole reason for existing is to collect suggestions from people for sites he should visit and pay a compliment! How great is that?!

Jack... oh never mind. [shakes head and shrugs at Doctor Bean].

Posted by: David | Jun 5, 2005 11:35:16 PM

What a refreshing insight into what really goes on behind the closed Treppenwitz doors! I laughed and laughed at this one. Mostly because I am imagining you, David, riding on a D train to Brooklyn with flowers budding out from under your armpits.

Posted by: Noa | Jun 6, 2005 7:15:37 AM

Noa... Yes, when we first got married we lived in Brooklyn and Zahava and I both commuted into Manhattan on the 'D' Train. Thankfully te LSS wasn't flower scented... just powder fresh! :-)

Posted by: David | Jun 6, 2005 8:49:14 AM

I'll stick to my manly deodorant, thank you. I'm no expert, but I'm sure you can find equally efficacious antiperspirants for men and women. BTW, my wife and I can't agree on which antiperspirant smells better on me. I have to keep sniffing my armpits.

You do know that there is a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants, right? 10 years of working in my dad's store taught me that much.

Oh, and wait until your kids get older. Then they start pilfering your supply and leave you reaching for an empty shampoo bottle when you're in the middle of a shower.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jun 7, 2005 3:51:10 AM

Wow...and your schmeckel didn't fall off or anything...

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 8, 2005 1:42:12 PM

psychotoddler... Yes, I know there is a difference... I just don't know what it is, so I buy the one's with both! ;-)

Elisson... hmmm... lemme check. nope, still there. [whew!]

Posted by: David | Jun 8, 2005 1:52:49 PM

I still 'smell like teen spirit' anytime I'm going to be doing anything that is going to make me break a real sweat--I've found the powderfresh teen version works way more powerfully than the ladies version. But I've fallen in love with the little Fa spritz-ons (non-aerosol) for everyday use because they not only smell really great and fresh but are in these tiny little bottles that you can easily slip into your purse and refresh with as needed discretely (about the size and shape of a long mascara stick). Can't get 'em here in the States but I stocked up last year in Germany and brought home 6 of them --only 2 left because friends tried and then wheedled away a couple of 'em *grin*. Anyone know if you can get 'em in Israel?

Posted by: katie-yael | Jun 19, 2005 9:20:03 PM

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