vendredi 25 juillet 2008

Aromatic Europeans in the Summertime

One stereotype that Americans have about Europeans (and most especially the French) is that their personal hygiene leaves something to be desired. Many people assume that this is down to a lack of regular bathing or an aversion to deodorant. I can attest that every local person I know here does bathe or shower daily (or at least claims to) and that deodorant is, at the very least, widely available.

Yet now that the weather has got warm (well, sort of), I’m starting to notice some rather unpleasant odors around, especially on the metro. What is most alarming is that on some days these odors seem to follow me home…all the way home. On those days I notice that the source of the ponk is…ok, I’ll admit it…myself.

Now I know some of you think I’ve gone native and therefore imagine that I’ve stopped showering and/or using deodorant. I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

So what, then, is the cause of my malodorous condition, you ask? By unraveling this mystery, we can come one step closer to knowing why the natives reek.

Alas, the answer remains elusive to me. I can only speculate as to the cause of my fetor. First of all, I get the idea that our highly space, energy and water-efficient European front-loading washing machine doesn’t do a particularly good job of washing. This despite the many hours it takes to complete a cycle. I sometimes notice a bit of armpit-effluvium emanating from my shirts when I iron them. (Yes, I do iron. In fact, I iron my wife’s shirts. How’s that for a 21st century man?)

A second theory is that the deodorant here is simply not as powerful as the one back home. Why the likes of Procter & Gamble would sell weaker deodorant in France than in America I don’t know. Maybe there’s just a higher tolerance for B.O. over here, so they can afford to get cheap with the ingredients. I missed my chance to buy some Right Guard last time I was in Miami. I could have tested this theory.

In the meantime, the source of the notorious Eurofunk will remain shrouded in mystery. Truly a riddle for the ages.

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