Why does everything need a scent? My shampoo is made from coconuts, apparently. My shower gel1 smells like apples. My conditioner2 wafts around the lovely scent of licorice (I don’t use conditioner, this is just an example). If I brush my teeth then for a week anyone I talk to is going to think I’ve been chewing eucalyptus bark. What’s so wrong with smelling like a human, and why is it somehow better to smell like a dandelion (not that there is any dandelion-scented product as far as I know, but there will be as soon as they read this post and realize the huge untapped market for it)?
It gets even worse if you’re a man (which I am) and you want to buy anything to clean your disgusting body with. In products made for a man (which function exactly the same as products made for a woman, but come in a black bottle instead of purple) they haven’t even felt it necessary to name them after things that actually have a smell. Oh, sure, occasionally you’ll get Arctic Tundra. What does that smell like, though? You imagine that it smells crisp and clean, a brisk arctic breeze blowing over a massive hunk of shale – that’s what you want to smell like. In fact, the arctic tundra is home to more than nine million reindeer (so says David Attenborough), not to mention the millions of other animals, so what the arctic tundra actually smells like is reindeer poop (not an ingredient you’ll find in your arctic tundra body wash, probably).
Sadly, Arctic Tundra is the best of them. From there, you move on to abstract concepts, like Pure Sport. Jock straps, dirt, and sweat? Blue Power. What does blue even smell like, and how do you get power in a bottle? Caribbean Breeze. Actually what that one smells like is Blue Power, but it’s colored green instead of blue.
All of these products have a mainly ridiculous scent, and you’re apparently supposed to use about ten of them every day, so your coconuts are competing with the apple which is nearly overriding the reindeer poop which is almost but not quite stronger than your peppermint toothpaste or buttermilk nose cream, and on top of that you can put a nice spray of cologne or perfume to drive away any nearby wildlife.
I don’t think I need to smell like any of that, so from now on I’m not using any product that makes me smell like something I’m not. When I’m coming, I don’t want you to think the coconut cart has been overturned. I want you to smell me, like we’re dogs (not the way dogs do, though – from a distance, please), and I want you to go Hey, that dude smells like a dude. I am going to go shake his hand. We’ll shake hands. We’ll smell like we smell.
1 Shower gel is, by the way, essentially the same thing as shampoo. The international shower gel/shampoo conglomerate just want your money twice so they’ve convinced you that you need two things. Shower gel didn’t even exist half a century ago, it was just soap. Soap for every occasion and every part of your body, and now there are twenty different products to do the jobs a cheap bar of soap used to be just fine for.
2 Shampoo makes your hair dry and brittle. Conditioner makes it moist and supple and smooth like a newborn. They sell you one product to undo the damage caused by the other product they sold you. Just live in a hut made from your own hair, save money.