Kimberly’s Burn Book: The Deodorant Dilemma

Welcome to Kimberly’s Burn Book, a feature in which I complain about things that annoy, irritate, or frustrate me. In other words, pretty much everything.

Now that the weather is finally getting warmer and the month of nonstop rain in NYC has hopefully ended, the heat is up, the AC is on, and PEOPLE SMELL ON THE SUBWAY.  The smelliness is not limited to the subway, but it’s mostly there, when in way-too-close proximity to others, that it’s most noticeable.

What is so difficult about wearing deodorant? It can’t be a cost thing. Deodorant is less than $2. (My problem is that I have to stand in the deodorant aisle at the drugstore sniffing each one. I really have to like the scent if I am going to be smelling like it for the next few months.) But seriously! There is no excuse for smelling like you haven’t showered since 1999 unless you are homeless.

I remember freaking out the first time I accidentally left the house without deodorant, maybe in seventh grade. I clamped my arms close to me the entire day. Once in a blue moon, I have gone to work and realized that I forgot to put on deodorant that morning in the midst of changing outfits and getting ready. I usually end up running to the drugstore to buy a travel sized one to use and keep in my desk.

Mayor Bloomberg has made New York a more pleasant place to live in part by overhauling the noise code in 2004 and banning smoking in bars. I don’t agree with the attempted ban on soda, but it would be great if there were a way to ban body odor on public transportation. Legally, it could prove quite difficult.

In 2009, Nestor Garcia and Rod Tam in Hawaii proposed a bill that would have criminalized body odor on public transportation, but it was ultimately shot down. Sure, the law is vague, difficult to enforce, and arbitrary. Many people argued  it had the potential to hurt tourism in Hawaii, although one might argue it could increase tourism since the fresh air would be guaranteed.

Rod Tam “previously faced ridicule as a state senator for introducing a bill authorizing naps and snack breaks for public workers.” He sounds like my kind of guy.

Not all cultures believe in deodorant, but quite frankly, too bad. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It’s a courtesy to the people around you.


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