I was shopping at the local market this afternoon for classroom cupcakes for my 1st grader to take to school tomorrow. As any mother can tell you, there is no such thing as running into the market for one thing and coming out with only that one thing. You start off with a basket, and end up with a cart. About $75 deep into this “cupcakes only” expedition, as I’m about to check out, I remember I’m completely out of all laundry products. Bleach, buy generic. Detergent, buy whatever’s on sale. Fabric softener...hold your horses! When did the fabric softener section of Aisle 6 become a dessert buffet? Melon Lotus Flower, Peach Blossom, Sweet Almonds, Wild Orchid and Vanilla, Orange Cream…I opened everyone and breathed them in to make my decision. I went with “cheap and unscented.” I was afraid if I bought any of the others that I’d be tempted to mix them with rum and ice in a blender. But the myriad “flavors” of softener instantly gave me this blog entry idea: We Americans are OBSESSED with the way we smell.
Think about it. If you’ve ever been to Europe in the summer, or quite frankly, in a New York taxi anytime of the year, you will have noticed that the rest of the world’s citizens are not as into over-perfuming themselves as we Americans are. It’s not good enough that we are offered products that do their job: toothpaste that cleans your teeth, detergent that cleans your clothes, and so on. We have to smell like something else in the process. Detergents leave your clothes smelling like a tropical rain forest or an orange creamsicle. Toothpaste and mouthwash in every scent from bubblegum to vanilla bean; deodorant from “Cucumber Melon” to “Fresh Orchid.” And don’t even get me started on the feminine hygiene products! Douches, wipes, powders and crotch sprays in every scent imaginable! Tropical Rain…Delicate Blossom…Country Flowers…Morning Paradise…Island Splash! I’m sorry, but that’s just going too far. I’m not a religious person, but I’m pretty sure if there’s a God, he didn’t intend for a woman’s vagina to smell like a banana daiquiri. (I can guarantee that one line means I’ll be receiving an email from my mother tomorrow.)
Rather than be content that we just don’t smell like anything at all (which is actually quite unnatural), we Americans insist on dousing ourselves in other scents that sometime seem to battle each other. A cucumber pitted, coconut haired, vanilla gargled, almond laundered, apple-blossom douched woman just should not be! If we must over-perfume, at least let’s coordinate our scents. Orange everything, from top to bottom. A floral extravaganza from follicles to feet. A symphony of vanilla from visage to vulva. Or, we could save a few billion dollars a year and just use soap. Now if you excuse me, I have to go soak my delicates in Lavender and Sandlewood to compliment my Morning Paradise..I never said I was any better than the rest of you!