Saturday, 21 April 2007

#10 Pong Whiffy…

I remember my first PSE lesson at school, which long before the inflatable tampon and condom + banana tricks, involved a lesson in the body and its natural, well, pungency. We were taught that once we had all reached puberty, our bodies would start to produce stronger smelling secretions and if we were not careful, if one did not have a can of Sure about their person at all times, that one of us – any one of us – might well fall victim to the dreaded, toe-curling, whisper-inducing, ‘B.O.’. Having B.O. at my school was the most rapid and assured way to commit social suicide. Two well-developed twelve year olds took it upon themselves to sniff out the offenders every morning – laughing and yelping, rolling on the floor with pinched noses, if they caught a whiff of anyone who had forgotten their daily spray. We all lived in fear, no, terror, that one morning, or, god help us, after a triple sports lesson, our bodies would plot against us and produce a malodorous current, picked up by a particularly well-tuned nose, that would result in immediate and non-negotiable dismissal from the group. It is for this reason, I believe, that I have a mortal fear of my own smell. Mr Malcontent – ever the smoothy – once called it ‘soupy’, ‘but,’ he said, trying desperately hard to redeem himself and his chances of late-night-loving, ‘I really like soup.’

Nowadays, I take no chances. I love the sea-fresh smell of Bionsen Spray and Roll-On – spring breezes can waft my armpits at will – I smell good. The same, however, cannot be said of all. B.O. I have learned, is not just a social stumbling block for pre-teen girls. It is also a common characteristic of the overworked and underwashed professional man.

Too many summers have passed and I can remain charitable no longer. The weather is getting hotter, tubes sweatier and BY GOD, the men in their manmade fibres are stinking up the entire carriage. It’s April 21st and already, there have been five culprits – all ages, all sizes, all suited and booted and half-asleep – wreaking to High Holborn. The problem, I have come to realise, is not necessarily personal hygiene. It is, rather more simply, a matter of laundry. Many men are not washing their work clothes often enough and a large percentage are wearing the same shirt, suit, tie and coat from Monday to Friday. Which means that if you happen to find yourself on a tube in Friday morning rush hour, packed into a burly bloke’s armpit – trying desperately hard to shift your olfactory centre in another, less savoury direction – you are, in fact, privy to a week’s worth of recycled reek. Nice. So, come on guys, get your households in order, stock up on the suds and do a wash once in a while. It'll be worth it. After all, The Lynx Effect is one thing, but in reality, there’s nothing sexier than a freshly laundered, crisp, clean, white cotton shirt. Now that’s my kind of Bom Chika Wah Wah.

No comments: