In defense of not being embarrassed—like, at all—about the public armpit smell check


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Greetings from New York City, where as I write this, it’s 90 degrees, humid, and miserable. Every time I go outside it’s like there’s a hot, wet blanket of air that’s been wrapped around me, and it’s so unpleasant that when I get home I have to stick my entire body in the refrigerator for three straight minutes. My makeup is constantly melting off of my face, my hair is never not a matted, sweaty mess, and after approximately three hours out in the world, I start to stink. On an unrelated note, I am very single…in case you know anyone who might be interested.

In this type of weather, there is quite literally a zero percent chance that my deodorant is going to hold up for an entire day. Zilch. Zip. Nada. (I think you get the point). In fact, I usually have to re-apply at least once (okay, twice) throughout the day to ensure that my coworkers will still want to sit near me in meetings. This isn’t to knock my DO of choice—which, in case you care, is an aluminum-packed antiperspirant—but more just kind of stating the reality. No deodorant, no matter how powerful it is, is going to stand up to 12 hours and 40-plus city blocks in this heat.

And so, I would like to formally state my position heavily in favor of the public armpit smell check. I do it at my desk, in the bathroom on dates (damn straight, I bring deodorant with me on dates), walking down the street, on a train, in a plane, here or there or anywhere…I’m apparently so passionate about public armpit sniffing that it’s got me channeling Green Eggs and Ham. 

For what it’s worth, I didn’t know I felt this way about this until the other day, when someone caught me sneak sniffing my pits at my desk, which (as I could have suspected) needed a re-up. At first, I was mortified, but then, I had an epiphany: “Why am I embarrassed?” I asked out loud to all of my coworkers and bosses. Considering I’ve openly told them (and the Internet) about getting a tampon stuck in my vagina and masturbating my way to better skin, I didn’t understand why an attempt to make myself smell better was something I should suddenly be ashamed of. Because, really, isn’t it better to do a quick sniff check—even if you get caught—than walk around stinking like hot garbage? All signs point to yes.

When I think of all the time I’ve wasted pretending to “stretch” or “look at people behind me” while subtly trying to get a whiff of my own stench (a coworker just told me that her method of choice is to hold onto a subway pole and pretend to scratch her nose against her arm, which deserves major creativity points), it’s like… why bother? And so, for the rest of the summer, my arms will be extended toward the sky with pride, and my nose will be right there behind ’em. Judge me all you want, but you best believe I’ll be shamelessly smelling like roses until September. HBU?

Just because I’m pro sniff doesn’t mean I don’t want a deodorant that works. Here are some of our faves that you can buy at the drugstore. And if you’re thinking about making the switch to natural deodorant, this derm-approved trick can help keep you from stinking. 

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