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Danny's Reading: Deodorant

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This is an article about deodorant.

Yes. Seriously.

Not just any deodorant though. Specifically, the one that I just bought from the supermarket down the road. Which is, apparently, not really a deodorant, but a 'Skin Comfort System Anti-Perspirant Body Spray, with Chamomile Extract and Avocado Oil'. In other words, it's a deodorant which costs three times as much as any other deodorant purely because it has a cooler sounding name.

I bought it because of the cooler sounding name. In fact, I feel that it's a safe bet to say that most people would. The manufacturers know this, of course, which is why they give it the cooler sounding name in the first place. Let's face it - the word ‘deodorant’ hardly conjures up images of glamour and style, does it? The word 'odour' simply means 'smell', while the prefix 'de' indicates that the smell will be removed. The suffix '-ant' basically means 'the thing which'. So, in short, 'deodorant' means 'the thing which removes smells'.

'Anti-Perspirant', on the other hand, translates as 'the thing which opposes perspiration'. 'Opposes' sounds so much better than 'removes'. 'Opposes' is a soldier, a gladiator, a defender of the faith (or, in this case, the armpit), bravely protecting your social standing and reputation from the evil results of exertion and, in hot countries like Malta, breathing.

'Removes', on the other hand, is the guy who drives up in his garbage truck every morning to empty the dustbins. Too little, too late.

Exactly how this body spray 'opposes' sweat...sorry, I mean 'perspiration'...is not mentioned on the can. I find it highly unlikely that the chamomile extract and the avocado oil join forces to kick the sweat back into your pores the minute it makes an appearance. What does an avocado know about perspiration anyway? An avocado’s knowledge of human anatomy, in my experience, tends to be fairly limited because, you know...it's...well...it's an avocado. And as far is chamomile extract is concerned...er...the best I can do here is 'something that has been extracted from chamomile'. What this 'something' is, exactly, is anybody's guess.

I can't believe I bought this deodorant.

Or 'Body Spray'. Whatever. The title of 'body spray' seems to indicate that you should spray it on your body. Well, thank goodness they made that clear, because my first impulse was to mix it with some garlic and freshly chopped tomatoes and whip up a quick, sweet-smelling haute cuisine alternative to guacamole. With a hint of chamomile.

I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what 'Skin Comfort System' is supposed to mean. Presumably, it means that this spray is comfortable on the skin. Well, I would hope so, because that's where I intend to use it. I would imagine that all deodorants are comfortable on the skin. So why mention it on the can? You see, now they've got me worried that any deodorant that doesn't clearly and specifically claim to be 'comfortable on the skin' is, in fact, napalm, and will instantly burst into flames upon contact with any living creature.

I did warn you that this was an article about deodorant. You can't say that I didn't warn you...

 Now, while all the above could possibly be shrugged off as linguistic nit-picking and hair-splitting, there is one further claim made on the can that well and truly puzzles me, and it has nothing to do with the name of the product. After all, I suppose it could be argued that everything needs to be called something, and the more impressive that 'something' sounds, the more it will sell. Fair enough. Granted.


Halfway down the length of the can, between the dramatic name and a warning at the bottom that insists that you must 'Shake Well Before Use!!!', is a little circle with the number 48 and a lower-case 'h' printed in it. Further investigation of the container reveals that this means that the spray will provide the user with '48 hours of anti-perspirant protection'.


I must admit, this sounds pretty impressive. Two days' worth of protection delivered at the push of a nozzle. Brilliant! Now you can smell nice and feel fresh for a whole forty-eight hours!


Isn't that what a shower is for? A bath? Or, at the very least, standing outside in the rain for twenty minutes? I mean, I'm no expert, but I think it's safe to say that anyone who doesn't bother having a wash for two days in a row is probably not that fussed about personal hygiene in any case, avocado oil or no avocado oil.

I'll admit it - as an English teacher, and a lover of the language, I guess I have a tendency to over-analyse it to death, especially when it pops up in marketing, because that's where they really try to get you. As a result, I live in fear, when using a bleach or detergent that "kills 99.9% of all known germs!", that I'm going to be suddenly and viciously attacked by the 0.1 percent of apparently super-powered invulnerable germs that most bleaches don’t seem able to kill. I worry, when eating anything that boasts that it now has ten percent less fat, that what I'm eating is actually ninety percent fat. I feel guilty about the lonely dolphin from the North Atlantic who is no longer in touch with the friendly tuna he used to have so much fun with, because I'm eating her. And I get mildly irritated when I discover that the 400g tin of artichoke hearts that I just bought actually has a drained weight of 200g, which means that I just paid for half a tin of water...

But I digress. This isn't an article about tuna or artichokes, bleach or reduced-fat food.

This was an article about deodorant.

Yes, seriously.

By Danny

Danny is a teacher at EC Malta English school.