I’LL Tell You What’s Confusing

Men’s deodorant. Yep, I said it. I hit the men’s deodorant section at CVS and I’m immediately paralyzed by the dizzying array of choices as my adrenaline starts pumping. “Run!” says my brain. “No!” says another part of my brain, “Stay and fight!”

Men are always complaining about not understanding the perfectly clear system of color names, such as the differences between “purple” and “aubergine” and “plum heather.” My question is, do MEN understand men’s deodorant, or is it as murky to them as it is to me?

Yesterday Josh announced that he was out of deodorant. “Bonus!” I said, “CVS is going to pay me to take four Right Guard deodorants home this week!”

I ventured into the deodorant aisle like an intrepid marksman hunting my prey. It was then that I remembered the fundamental rule of buying men’s deodorant: grab and go because you will never be able to make sense of it all.

First, your choice is between a solid, an invisible solid, gel, power gel, time release gel, power stripe, stripe of powerful gel, clear gel active, and other textures. My husband tells me that these differences are important. For example, I ask about “clear gel active” and he tells me “well, ok, clear gel active works, but it doesn’t keep you dry.” Uh huh. So that means it doesn’t work, right? Well, this all depends on how we define works.

If that was it, I could probably handle it. But oh no, my friends, that is just the beginning.

Next you must choose between deodorant, anti-perspirant deodorant, deodorant anti-perspirant, and anti-perspirant with power stripe. My husband tells me there are VERY key differences between these distinctions, and I can never remember which are the acceptable varieties. I think I have now memorized the order in which they key words must appear: anti-perspirant deodorant. The rest are off limits for me.

Then there are the scents, and that is where things really get weird. Do you want your man to smell like “Arctic Refresh” or “Arctic Sport” or “Arctic Polar Sport?” “Fresh Blast” or “Fresh Peak” or “Ultimate Fresh?” How about “Cool” or “Cool Breeze” or “Cool Sport Max?” Seriously, WHAT DOES ANY OF THAT MEAN!!!?!?!?!?!?

It’s not like the ladies perfume section at the mall, with the little testers and demure bowls of coffee beans to clear your senses between sessions. You can’t really start smelling men’s deodorants in the store, because they all have little plastic sticker tops on them to prevent you from finding out what they smell like. Then again, that’s probably for the best because they aren’t lying when they advertise men’s deodorant as “powerful intense scent!” If you get those bad boys too close to your olfactory region you’re going to have “fresh arctic sport max blast ultimate cool” stuck in your nostrils for days. Your oatmeal is going to smell like men’s deodorant, for pete’s sake.

In any case, my shopping trip was a bust. I came home with “Xtreme Power Stripe, Powerful Scent!, Powerstripe deodorant in “Fresh Blast” and “Ultimate Time Released Protection Power Stripe Invisible Solid Anti-Perspirant Deodorant” in “Arctic Refresh” but today I’m going to have to take both back and exchange them. Did you catch what I did wrong? Yes, I got on “deodorant” rather than “anti-perspirant” and the other one was the dreaded “invisible solid” that, according to Josh, “works but is sort of a little bit itchy sometimes.”

I don’t know about you, but my brain is swimming. I am dreading the Herculean task before me. Will I come home with the correct products in round two of the Deodorant Debacle? I can only hope.

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