Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Men Wear ??? (Or Nothing At All)

Recently, I decided to switch my deodorant. I had to face the fact that I'd gotten sick of my old scent, and it clashed with the cologne that my wife bought me for Christmas. To put it bluntly, whereas Burberry London has a woodsy, spicy scent, Speed Stick Original Scent smells like a lime rolled in baby powder.

I've done this before, and I dread it. For me, switching deodorants is a traumatic experience, involving deep soul-searching. No longer content with my identity, I have to ask myself difficult questions:

Am I still a stodgy Speed Stick traditionalist, or have I progressed into the world of Adidas athleticism?

Can I still pull off the bracing, skunk-defying scent of "musk," or is it time to throw in the towel and give "Arctic Rush" a try?

If I wear Old Spice, do I smell sophisticated, or do I reek of sterno that's been filtered through a sock?

Heady questions, indeed. Unprepared to face this level of self-analysis, I decided to employ a delaying tactic; I bought a stick of Old Spice "Pacific Surge," one of those innocuous, "cool water" scents, which would hold me over while I thought this through. Still, as much as I delayed, I knew the time had come. I had to choose a new scent. A new me.

Of course, there was only one way to do this. I had to smell every deodorant in Wal-Mart. Needless to say, this was going to burn the hell out of my sinuses, but you don't screw around with a thing like this. One false move, and you end up reeking like a Bulgarian taxi driver during mating season.

I knew that I'd need a woman's input. I enlisted my lovely wife, Misanthropster. Unfortunately, however, she only made it about halfway through the Speed Sticks before a screaming headache tabled her contribution. Undaunted, I enlisted my sister, Ella. Bribing her with a bag of boiled peanuts (one of her favorite foods), I got her to contribute to my in-depth study.

This was serious business, and we knew that we'd need something to clear our noses after each deodorant, so we began with a visit to Millstone, the gourmet coffee stand in the middle of Wal-Mart. After a little discussion, we chose "Columbian Supremo," deciding that its rich scent and slightly burned overtones would do the trick. We put about a quarter pound in a bag and trekked over to the deodorant section.

An hour later, our sinuses torched beyond recognition, and sporting a slight buzz from the alcohol inhalation, Ella and I had smelled all the deodorants. She was impressed by the variety of scents, while I was surprised at the similarities. We were both shocked by the fact that we nearly got kicked out when a Wal-Mart employee caught Ella taking pictures of the deodorant section. Apparently, taking pictures in Wal-Mart is a major no-no.

Still, she was able to click a shot of what we agreed was the best scent:

All in all, it was a total blast, and Ella has already started plans for a test of the women's anti-perspirants. I'm trying to talk her into checking out the high-end department store deodorants.

Stay posted.

Here are our findings:

AXE Clix
Crankster: Like a toilet puck mixed with telicherry pepper.
Ella: Very fruity. Like "Country Apple" from Bath and Body Works.
Misanthropster: Very fruity.

AXE Essence
Crankster: Smells like a salad. Lots of celery and pine.
Ella: Like a Christmas tree.
Misanthropster: Cedary. Definitely the best of the Axes.

AXE Unlimited
Crankster: Cloyingly sweet.
Ella: Like rubbing alcohol mixed with potpourri.
Misanthropster: Like body odor.

AXE Touch
Crankster: Like a honeydew crossed with a watermelon Jolly Rancher.
Ella: Like melon with Jolly Rancher tones.
Misanthropster: Foul and rotten.

Brut Original Scent
Crankster: Notes of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.
Ella: Notes of liquorice, mint, and baby powder.

Degree Clean Slate
Crankster: Smells like a walk through the woods.
Ella: Smells like spring in the forest.

Degree Ocean Blast
Crankster: Smells like Jock-itch medication.
Ella: Horrible. Like B.O.

Old Spice Aqua Reef
Crankster: Sweet and cloying.
Ella: Smells like Uncle Ted.
Misanthropster: Something a Middle Easterner would wear.

Old Spice Classic Fresh Scent
Crankster: A mixture of musk, citrus, and sterno.
Ella: Like a cross between liquor and bathroom cleaner.

Old Spice Classic Original Scent
Crankster: Lots of alcohol and musk.
Ella: Just like Jagermeister. Never wear on a date unless you run out of roofies.

Old Spice High Endurance Arctic Force
Crankster: Sweet, with berry tones.
Ella: Sweet, with spicy undertones.

Old Spice High Endurance Mountain Rush
Crankster: Slightly musky.
Ella: Heavy reek of rubbing alcohol. Smells slightly sour.

Old Spice High Endurance NASCAR
Crankster: Sweet, with a talc-y smell.
Ella: Smells just like Arctic force.

Old Spice High Endurance Original Scent
Crankster: Cool and clean. Slightly minty.
Ella: Salty, like the ocean.

Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport
Crankster: Mountain berry Kool Aid mixed with poison.
Ella: Berry notes.

Old Spice Red Zone Pure Sport
Crankster: Cucumber notes. Musky.
Ella: Alcohol mixed with Uncle Ted.
Misanthropster: Too fruity. Hints of musk.

Power Stick (generic)
Crankster: A laundromat.
Ella: Baby powder crossed with a swimming pool.
Misanthropster: Pepper.

Right Guard Extreme Fresh Blast
Crankster: Powdery, with an overbearing scent of industrial cleaner.
Ella: Woodsy. Like a freshly cleaned highway rest area bathroom.

Right Guard Sport Cool
Crankster: Like Pine-Sol mixed with plasticine clay.
Ella: A full bouquet with berry notes

Right Guard Sport Fresh
Crankster: Like a banana covered in Karo syrup and corn starch.
Ella: Woodsy. Like an Italian hostel.

Speed Stick Active Fresh
Crankster: Like Pine Sol.
Ella: Like disinfectant in the wilderness.

Speed Stick Clean Blast
Crankster: Crushed weeds.
Ella: Tilex mildew remover.
Misanthropster: Ass.

Speed Stick Cool Fusion
Crankster: Powdery.
Ella: Like open air and shaving cream.
Misanthropster: Light and inoffensive.

Speed Stick Fresh Rush
Crankster: Like public bathroom soap crossed with Caldo lotion.
Ella: Like some rubbing alcohol I bought in Italy.
Misanthropster: Like the average men's cologne.

Speed Stick Irish Spring Original
Crankster: Herbal and soapy.
Ella: Minty, like a cut lawn.

Speed Stick Irish Spring Icy Blast
Crankster: Berry notes.
Ella: Very cool, clean, clear, blue. Simple.

Speed Stick Musk
Crankster: Notes of musk and leather.
Ella: Smells like a charming old house.

Speed Stick Ocean Surf
Crankster: Notes of laundry soap and lavender.
Ella: Smells like a Barnes and Noble bookstore.

Speed Stick Regular Scent
Crankster: Like Canoe cologne with lime notes.
Ella: Soapy, powdery, and fruity.

Speed Stick With Aloe
Crankster: Smells like Irish Spring mixed with cucumbers.
Ella: Very fruity. Smells like the cucumber perfume that Victoria's Secret used to carry.
Misanthropster: Cucumbery.

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  • Holy crap...that was fantastic! I cannot beleive there is a NASCAR flavored deodorant. What am I saying? Of course I beleive it. I live in Loudoun County.

    I consider myself a deodorant connoisseur - read "obsessive". No gel-sticks or sprays for me. I only use the Secret Invisible Solids, but within that group I am very liberal. The flavor I choose depends on my mood that day. I could be feeling Ambitious, or Moonlit Rose, or Violet Dazzle, or Pear Illusion, or my personal favorite flavor of the month, Vanilla Sparkle. How could I limit myself to just one? I rejoice in them all, except for the Powder Fresh because I don't like to smell like a baby's bottom.

    Hmmm...maybe that was too revealing?

    By Blogger Lee, At January 4, 2007 at 11:03 AM  

  • I'm chortling with my own hand over my mouth as Gillette Wild Rain Man is sleeping.

    That one is hard to define, the deodorant, not the man, I mean. It has a full bouquet of unidentifiable aromas, mostly rank, with a top note of chemical musk. I just sniffed it to try to identify its special essence, and got my nose wet. I keep checking to make sure it's not falling off now.

    Hilarious post!! Brilliant! Kudos to you and your lovely project assistants.

    Is the photo of Misanthropster or Ella? She quite pretty in any case.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At January 4, 2007 at 12:49 PM  

  • I'm going with a vanilla scented cologne that someone gave me a few years ago.

    I smell like a half-caf Venti latte with skim.

    By Blogger Matt, At January 4, 2007 at 2:20 PM  

  • This is a great post! Where have I been?? You're hilarious.

    I can't believe you immersed yourself so completely in this worthwhile project, but kudos.

    Any chance Ella and Misanthropster would join you for a complimentary girl's project. I'm at the same place, needing to switch, not wanting the headache.

    By Blogger Lex, At January 4, 2007 at 3:59 PM  

  • I never stick with the same type because they keep discontinuing it. What happens if they discontinue the type you decided to ulitmately go with? You may want to stock up, buy in bulk.

    By Blogger desiree, At January 4, 2007 at 4:52 PM  

  • Right, I'm going to pass over the 'why?' aspect of this post and cut straight to the 'what'; to me, this post showcases the difference between American and British society - or one of them at least. Every time I go to the US I am struck by how much more visible and aggressive and ubiquitous consumerism is. I think the UK is pretty consumerist but the US blows me away every time. What really struck me about your post is just how many varieties of stick deodorant there are! Incredible. I even went into Boots the Chemist at lunchtime and counted them - seven. Seven to your thirty! Incredible. Truly incredible - capitalism has gone mad. The free market ecomony in prolific action.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At January 4, 2007 at 5:05 PM  

  • They say poodles are the only dog breed that doesn’t stink, why not rub your underarms with poodles? I would try it myself but I don’t actually use deodorant. I know what you’re thinking, but it is true that I have no body odor. Just ask Jilly at She is very sensitive to offensive bodily emanations and she can’t stand stray nose or ear hairs.

    By Blogger slaghammer, At January 4, 2007 at 5:06 PM  

  • Lee-
    Obsession is a beautiful thing. Personally, I don't like anti-perspirants because they tend to be a little chalky, but to each his (or her) own. I AM impressed, though, by the way that you're using scent to define yourself for the day.

    Thanks! Of course, "deodorant wet nose" is an occupational risk, but we're trying to be brave. We're already planning our assault on the department store deodorants.

    That's my sister, Ella.

    My wife loves the vanilla scents. Me, not so much.

    Then again, you're not really my type anyway.

    I promised Ella that we'd give the women's scents a try. Maybe later this week. I'll keep you posted.

    I'm not sure I want to get so attached again. It seems like a shaky relationship. I might try mixing it up from time to time.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 4, 2007 at 5:11 PM  

  • Puss-
    Now, I promised to take it easy on the English, and I intend to stick by that promise, but I want to ask you one little question:

    Did those seven sticks of deodorant have dust on them?

    An impressive and elegant solution. Unfortunately, I really dislike poodles.

    Which, of course, might make it kind of fun to rub my armpits on them.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 4, 2007 at 5:17 PM  

  • You're a trooper for narrowing it down to one. I have 5 scents of deoderant to go with my different perfumes. I guess that's one of the many differences between guys and dolls... I don't think it's weird to have 5 different half-used deoderants!

    By Blogger WanderingGirl, At January 4, 2007 at 6:48 PM  

  • now that is some good reference, my friend.

    By Blogger s@bd, At January 4, 2007 at 7:21 PM  

  • The last time I switched deoderant was because it was on sale. Huge mistake. Cucumber melon is good for candles but bad under my arms.

    By Blogger mist1, At January 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM  

  • I'm impressed with your tenacity. I would have given up after Brut Original Scent.

    By Blogger monicker, At January 4, 2007 at 11:25 PM  

  • Unscented is the only way to go!!!!

    By Blogger Nihilistic, At January 4, 2007 at 11:29 PM  

  • I wonder how long you take to hunt for shampoo and body soap etc...but fascinating!

    By Blogger ramo, At January 5, 2007 at 12:38 AM  

  • Wanderinggirl-
    Actually, I think I'm not going to go with Brut. While we agreed that it was the nicest scent, it would clash with cologne.

    Actually, I can totally understand your pile of deodorants. My wife has a whole cabinet of perfumes.

    We live to serve. Thanks for dropping in!

    I don't know. I loved that perfume that Victoria's Secret used to have. Then again, I guess that cucumbers aren't for everybody!

    If I quit, I would have always wondered, "was the next stick...THE ONE?"

    I can't deal with anti-perspirants and those goddamn crystal things. Have to go with scented!


    When it comes to soap, I'm a Dove addict. And I don't use shampoo or conditioner. However, my shaving cream of choice is Proraso.

    Okay, I admit it...I'm a little obsessive about my hygiene products.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 12:46 AM  

  • I have been outclassed again. I must really be an antigue with plain soap and an unscented deodorant. Hanging my head in shame.

    By Blogger The CEO, At January 5, 2007 at 12:47 AM  

  • CEO-
    On the other hand, you might just be a classicist, whereas I am a gadfly, latching on to every new trend.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 12:51 AM  

  • Well, now you mention it, they were a little dusty, but that's because everyone uses aerosol anti-perspirants instead.

    January; only four months to go until my annual bath.

    Puss (leading the way in European hygiene stereotypes)

    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At January 5, 2007 at 5:54 AM  

  • Hilarious. I have never heard of a man taking such interest in deodorant... My husband goes for what's on sale and I go for secret solid. I'm okay with powder fresh, because apparently, babies aren't supposed to have powder anymore....

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At January 5, 2007 at 8:48 AM  

  • Puss-
    You're extremely brave--me, I can't handle the icy spray of aerosol in the morning. I don't have central heat, either.

    I think your husband's perspective is wiser than my own. My brand dedication led me to this mess in the first place!

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 9:52 AM  

  • Oh I'm a coward - I said 'everyone', not 'me'. I just smell. I've been told that, like Napoleon, most men prefer a woman 'au naturel'.

    Puss (just call me Josephine)

    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At January 5, 2007 at 10:02 AM  

  • now youre probably gonna think me weird or something but I prefer the smells of mens deodourant to womens- no Im not in a subconcious lesbian panic I prefer musky smells rather than, if you'll pardon my french, smelling like a whoooers pair of knickers. For every manly smelling spray or stick can you imagine the sweet sickly feminine equivilant?? Im forever nicking my chaps deodourant much to his bemusement tries to stop me by saying he doesnt want to kiss me when I smell like a guy LOL

    By Blogger Judith, At January 5, 2007 at 4:29 PM  

  • Puss-
    On this one, at least, I tend to agree with Napoleon.

    On invading Russia...well, not so much.

    Having done some preliminary sniffing in the women's section, I can definitely see where you're coming from.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 11:02 PM  

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