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Monday, May 9, 2011

Body spray

Commercials for Axe body spray would have us believe that women will drop from the sky or leap from every cupboard just to be close to us. They are reminiscent of beer commercials, and probably just as accurate (nothing says “I’m lovable” like a cloud of beer fumes, unstable balance and slurred speech). The stuff smells vile to me. I’ve never spoken to anyone that likes the scent, and yet the garbage still seems to sell (somewhat like Celine Dion). Not only do people use body sprays, but when they do, they nearly bathe in the crud, creating a zone of stink detectable anywhere in the same time zone.
So why? Is it purely that no one has the guts to say “You stink,” a sort of olfactory version of the Emperor’s clothes? Or has the predictable marketing effort convinced people they truly like the smell of ozone-in-a-can? I think neither is the answer.
As a kid, I could eat the sweetest, most cloying substance and consider it delightful. “Glass of syrup? Don’t mind if I do!” A bowl of Froot Loops with sugar on top was a wonderful treat, for instance. Now it would send me into complete physical shutdown as my body desperately tried to produce enough insulin to counter the sugar overdose. Sugar sensitivity isn’t the only change. There are frequencies of sounds that become inaudible to humans as they age. Schools have installed noise emitters to ward off young loiterers based on this idea (and apparently they work).
Maybe body sprays are the same kind of thing. If you are a teen or tween, they smell awesome, stupendous, even arousing. Post-25, though, they stink to high heaven. It isn’t a social impulse, but a biological one. The nose changes, just as the ears do, and suddenly you wake up one morning, shower yourself with scent, and realize you need to take another shower because you want to vomit.
It makes you wonder how many other things will be discovered to be inherently different based on biological age. Maybe getting weird things pierced is actually pleasurable if you’re only 18. It could be that having your waistband rest mid-thigh is comforting to a 16-year old. And maybe listening to parental advice is like nails on a chalkboard to youthful ears. Who can say what differences truly exist?
One thing will always be constant, though, no matter how old you get: the tendency to be mockingly superior to all other age groups. I haven't outgrown that yet. Judging by my grandparents, I never will.

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