“Hey, I really need you to look at something.” I was loading the dishwasher when Jamie got my attention. At our house this sentence can mean one of about three things: 1) I need you to look at a really cool work something on my computer. 2) I need you to look at the unusually picture-worthy position the children are in right now. 3) I need you to look at this spot, lump, mole, etc. I knew from his tone, we were in number three territory.
“Ok. Whatcha got?” Hand on my hip, I responded with my hit-me-with-your-best-shot tone. The one that means I can handle whatever this is going to be. I will be able to diagnose and treat this health issue. I am the mom. That’s what mom’s do.
“I have a place under my arm that’s been itching all day long. It’s about to drive me crazy.” He lifts his arm and the corner of shirt high, so I can see his underarm. There are certain parts of the body that I know God must get a chuckle out of. Underarms are one of those parts. It’s the fold, right? If our bodies are well-made beds, our underarms are the hospital corners. With hair. Gross.
Big, angry, red patches of what looked like hives on both the skin just under his actual armpit and the upper underside of his arm made me cringe. “Good grief! What did you do?” I asked, getting right up in there and gently rubbing my fingertips over the rash. It was raised. “I didn’t DO anything. What’s it look like?” He looked like a dog chasing its tail as he tried to see what he couldn’t see.
“Have you taken anything yet, like Benadryl?” I asked, already knowing the answer. Boys do not take medicine unless you measure it out and hand it to them with a glass of water. Not waiting for the response, I followed up with, “Are you doing anything differently? Different soap? Deodorant maybe?”
That’s where the train came off the tracks. Jamie cocked his head and looked straight at me. “That’s it. It’s the deodorant you got me. Told you that wasn’t my kind!”
Let me unpack this comment and explain. It’s been twenty years since Jamie Cantrell bought his own deodorant. He despises going to WalMart, and since I have to go anyway because I’m the mom, I pick up whatever he needs while I’m there.
There are officially 1000 different types of deodorant. However, I am able to easily eliminate some of my options using the following Jamie Cantrell preference rubric: It must be both antiperspirant and deodorant. He prefers Old Spice. Stick deodorant is a must. Don’t even bother if it’s not clear gel. Helpfully, that eliminates about 500 choices.
Recently, Old Spice has come out with new lines of deodorant, body wash, body spray, and shampoo that have to be marketed toward a younger, hipper, cooler audience, because I don’t understand the names of the deodorants or the descriptions provided to the consumer.
For example, the “Fresher Collection” has scents named Fiji, Timber, and Denali. (Isn’t that a type of car?) There’s also the “Wild Collection” with scents named Krakengard, Hawkridge, Bearglove, and Wolfthorn. (Do those sound like superhero movie titles, or is it just me?)
After the choice is made between “grizzly-bear level respect with smells of apple, citrus, and spice” or “spice and vanilla scents that are normally reserved for those who won a medal.” Then, the decision must be made between soft solid, white solid, clear gel, or aerosol. Friends, when standing in the hygiene section of WalMart there is no time to think through such important decisions.
Jack loves these Old Spice deodorants and body washes. Honestly, fourteen is probably the age group this marketing team is going for. He has asked that I purchase all the same scent so that he doesn’t confuse his scent profile. (Are you kidding me? Insert big sigh here.) Sure, babe. No problem. I will be very careful not to confuse your profile.
Swagger is his favorite. Described as “the scent of confidence, which happens to smell like lime and cedarwood. Step out of the shower fresher and manlier than ever. The refreshing lather drop-kicks dirt and odor does a clothesline on them, and then slams them with a folding chair.” Of course, it does.
Women don’t have choices like this. Our deodorant marketing teams know better. Our deodorant has words printed on the bottles like “fresh and clean” or “rejuvenate and restore.” Lady scent profiles include lavender, chamomile, and baby powder, also, brown fig, aloe, and shea butter. If you’re feeling frisky, there are a handful of pomegranate, cucumber, and rain scents, too.
What could be said about women’s deodorant, really? Can you imagine swiping deodorant under your arm with descriptions like, “Queen-level respect, with smells of pomp and circumstance,” or “the scent of strength which happens to be white wine, and a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie.” Maybe something like, “scented like the environs to which you are accustomed: laundry detergent and dish soap with a hint of peanut butter and jelly.” Ridiculous.
For the past few months, Jamie has specifically asked for clear gel deodorant. Every, single, time I think I’m getting the clear gel, I get white solid. I don’t do it on purpose. I honestly think I’m getting the clear kind – but I don’t. (See previous post “Daddy Cow“)
Jamie says he thinks it’s a passive-aggressive way for me to get back at him for not going to the grocery store. I don’t put that much effort into it, to be honest. After twenty years of going by myself, it would probably just aggravate me if he went now. I’m quite sure he would pose questions like, “Don’t we already have ketchup? Do we really need another bottle?” or “Oooooh, sugary, fruity, crispy, cocoa cereal! Let’s get some.” Or, “I don’t like Brussel sprouts. Let’s get potatoes instead.” At this point in my life, I just don’t need all the questions or helpful suggestions.
Under the fluorescent lights of the kitchen, the rash looked angry and felt hot. “Are you trying to kill me? Is this what it’s going to be? Death by deodorant allergy?” he asked. I advised he take a shower and then skip using deodorant at all just this once before bedtime, and slather the spots with Aquaphor or Vaseline. I also encouraged a Benadryl.
I’m happy to report that death will not come to Jamie Cantrell in the shape of an Old Spice deodorant container. Last night after 24 hours of coating the irritated area in Aquaphor and not using deodorant inspired by men unafraid of unleashing a Kraken, he is hive free.
Order has been restored – for now.