An honest-to-goodness obstetrician/gynecologist has been on us all now for the past few months to apply her Lume deodorant lotion to our “armpits, underboob, thigh-folds, and buttcrack” to keep smelling fresh. One instantly thinks… ‘Well, why aren’t we just taking a shower?’ And just recently, I have seen some semi-C-level celebs on T.V. hawking in-home scent mister machines where one can keep one’s house smelling like…their favorite hotel. So, the question has to be, when did we all become so stinky?
Admit it; we must; humans are mammals. And as such, we sweat, secrete all kinds of interesting liquids, and therefore, at times, smell. Naturally, we do. Surely, we have developed water and soap rituals to cleanse ourselves, plenty of perfumes and deodorants to mask our smells, go to great lengths to exfoliate and shave, and can alter our body chemistry to be less odorous from the food we eat. But still, we will always smell.
But we aren’t stinky.
Even if Dr. Klingman and the makers of those house deodorizers would have us believe otherwise, I’d argue that we are probably less smelly than ever before in history because of better eating habits, the ability to shower, spritz, and shave at regular intervals, and coming off of COVID, being more aware than ever of our health and hygiene.
This worry over our smells, which is really a worry over our humanness, is akin to the debate I have been having for years (at least to those who will sit and listen to me, a very small population to be sure) over the idea that broadcast censors in the U.S. have avoided showing certain parts of our anatomy (and mostly the parts of women) because of the connotation that these parts prompt body function and excretion. While we can view the large actual surface area of a woman’s breast on a television show, the nipple is always pixilated or obscured (these days so lightly though that one can easily decern areola and nipple) butt crack (although recently I did see a full-on booty reveal on one major broadcast series) and surely no full-frontal shots. Be it the urethra opening on a man’s penis, the dreaded nipple (remember how Janet Jackson’s ‘nipplegate’ reveal during Superbowl thirty-eight made the Earth shake off its axis?) or ass crack, yucky things like pee-pee and poop, and milk, come out of the places we dare not show.
Surely, all human functions, of course.
I’d hate to think all this recent worry about smell is just species self-hatred (you know, human-privilege and all that). Or maybe an insidious plot by the powers-that-watch-over water to keep us from showering so often. (I have to give a nod to my Anna for that suggestion, which seems just as possible as any other). I just don’t know why suddenly, when we are getting out and about more than we have in the past few years, surely ‘airing’ ourselves out in ways we recently couldn’t during the lockdown, there is a rush to get ourselves and our houses to smell better?