Some people have no trouble winnowing out unpleasantness from their lives. They know exactly what makes them unhappy, and they roller up their sleeves, channel their inner Rosie the Riveter, and fix it. Some people don’t. Whether they consider the obstacle insurmountable or would just rather have something to complain about, they seem to prefer to martyr themselves, perhaps in the hope that one day someone will finally notice what a brave little engine they are.
I always thought I was a healthy combination of both, but I’m starting to wonder. I consider myself to be fairly laid-back, easy-going, maybe even a wee bit on the wavy-gravy side (note to self: look up proper definition of phrase “wavy-gravy”), but after recent events I’m growing more concerned that I might be trying to suffer my way into heaven (or something). Unwittingly, even, which is worse than doing it on purpose. At least if you’re hoisting yourself up on the cross over every little thing knowingly, it gives you a sense of accomplishment when someone recognizes your sacrifice and does whatever it is you’re guilting them into.
So, last week when I pulled out a new stick of deodorant to replace the empty one, I was immediately annoyed by the invisible chemical slime coating the outside of the container. It’s hard to pull a slick plastic top off of a slick plastic bottom in the first place, especially when it has been engineered to stay on quite firmly. Add a floral-scented oil spill to the outside, and you have a Three Stooges scene in the works, complete with nyuck-nyucks and Curly’s Dance Of Frustration.
Perhaps it was my own fault. I severely underestimated how much was left in the old tube, and purchased a replacement about a month too early. Which, in the scheme of things, is far better than a month too late, but still resulted in a banishment under the sink for a while. I didn’t think it would have any adverse effects, seeing as it’s still climate-controlled despite being in the cabinet, but apparently semi-solid deodorant needs its own humidor to stay fresh. (If you think about it, isn’t the point of deodorant to be made of preservatives strong enough to keep US from melting? Clearly this is an issue that Secret needs to address.) Or, perhaps it’s the fault of the fancy-schmancy formula that’s supposed to reduce a lady’s need to shave her underarms so often, which is not something I have noticed happening. It’s pretty good at making those little pricklies softer, so thirty minutes after being as smooth as possible I’m not being impaled in very sensitive areas by a thousand angrily sprouting hair follicles, and that alone is enough to sway me.
HOWEVER. For some strange reason, I didn’t get rid of it. I continued to struggle every day (ok, let’s be honest…every time I left the house) with the stupid slippery cap and the stupid slippery click wheel at the bottom and the stupid flower pattern on the top oozing white goo that smelled like stupid flowers and old lady powder perfume. I originally bought a different brand of the hair-reducing stuff because even though I was pretty happy with the performance of the old brand, it only came in one flavor – rose. A flower. I’m not partial to floral scents. They tend to make my head foggy and my throat scratchy, and even expensive versions of floral scents remind me of funeral homes and the ladies’ room at my grandma’s church (Aquanet anyone?). I thought the “clean” scent (or was it called “fresh”? Very descriptive. Thanks, marketing dept.) might be a little less strong, a little less flowery. HAHAHAHAH. No. Apparently they consider “clean” smells to be heavily influenced by gardenia, which is generally potent enough to knock out my optic nerves for a few seconds.
Two weeks later, I found myself putting on my makeup and eyeing The White Stuff across the room on my dresser. I found myself calculating the likely temperature for the day (Stupid Hot) against the expected level of my activities (running after a toddler, sitting in traffic cursing at people on cellphones and/or methamphetamines), and whether or not I could reasonably expect to keep my arms tight at my sides at all time. It slowly dawned on me that I was trying to rationalize not putting on deodorant. Let me tell you, dear readers, in 90-degree weather, an overweight pregnant woman (those terms are not necessarily redundant) has no business going without every chance of reducing the weird smells and fluids her body is unexpectedly expelling at any given moment.
That was when I had my moment of realization. Why was I putting up with this crap? I hated the stuff. I hated the smell. I hated the slimy consistency. I hated the oily crap leaking out of the freaking tube all over my hands and contaminating everything I touched (which was usually something I was trying to eat) despite repeated handwashings. I hated the stupid cap and the…well, I believe I’ve gone over this part before. So then, why? If it was as stressful as I was making it out to be, why didn’t I slap down $3 and just buy something else?
There was no answer, really. Excuses galore, of course, but no good answer. The best I could come up with was that I had already paid for it, and it had waited faithfully for me in the cupboard for over a month, and was I really anthropomorphizing a tube of deodorant? Yes. Yes I was. I didn’t want it to feel bad that it was annoying the hell out of me, like it was the Little Toaster or something. Don’t feel bad, little deodorant tube, I still love you! Except, of course, that I didn’t. Oh, and that whole thing where it isn’t a sentient being.
I’d like to blame this on the pregnancy hormones, but I feel this would be a disservice to psychotic pregnant women everywhere. Clearly this is a pre-existing condition. I needed to fix it.
What I did was throw the damned thing into the trash with extreme prejudice (for therapeutic reasons, you understand) and bought a new tube. One that is the consistency I like, a different brand altogether, and had a scent name I could decipher in the store. Yes, it has a bit of floral in it (they all do – you have to pick your poison) but is primarily flavored with something I do like. So far, so good. I no longer stress out about having to put on deodorant, and the day goes a little more smoothly. I’m less of a martyr, and more of one of those assertive, fix-it people I’m trying to become.
I’m trying very hard not to think about my poor, unused deodorant tube crying cartoon tears and looking out of the trash can with ginormous Disney eyes. It’s going to be a long, hard road.