It all started the day I sent my husband to the warehouse store. Sure, he’d been to the warehouse store alone many times. I was never worried anything would go awry.
When he returned, unbagged and ungainly wares in hand, I thought nothing of it. Mere moments later, everything was put away, and our lives went on as usual.
The next evening at bedtime, I slid my arm over his side to cuddle.
“What is that smell?” I asked him, disgusted. Had he spilled something on his shirt?
“What smell?” he asked. “Oooh,” he remembered, “I bought new deodorant.”
“That’s deodorant? Are you serious?” I was too tired to hide my disgust. “It smells like a sweaty college kid at a beach bar!”
“It’s Fiji. I thought it smelled nice. Tropical,” he mused.
“Uh, no, THAT’S not tropical. It smells like a dorm room after a weekend of partying. It smells like – “
“I bought a three-pack. It was a three-pack. I have two more containers,” he offered.
“You WHAT? You what? A three-pack! What are you? Crazy? That stuff stinks! You liked that?! What’s the matter with you?” I have an occasional tendency to dive off the deep end.
“You are going to have to get something else! You can’t wear this! You smell like a cheap piña colada! That’s GROSS!”
“I like it,” he said, “It’s tropical,” as he tucked himself comfortably under our blankets.
“Ugh,” I responded. “That’s gross. I’m sleeping over here.”
I woke up the next morning, thinking to myself, I have to get something else. He’s got to get something else. That stuff STINKS.
I went to the store and mentally weighed my disgust. He did have two other containers of this junk at home. Could I live with him smelling like a bar table at 4am for the next several months? Ultimately, I let it slide. My disdain, I’d calculated, was apparently not worth the price of a new container of deodorant.
I toyed with explaining to him that a thirty-five year old married professional with three children wasn’t the target market for this product. I considered equating his love for me by his choice of deodorant. I fantasized about bringing it all to the recycle bin in the middle of the night.
Every time the aroma wafted into my nostrils, I got twitchy. I had flashbacks of the club I was able to drink at without any ID, of writing my number, with brown-tinged lipstick, on a cocktail napkin and handing it to an artistic-looking, soft-spoken guy with longish hair, and of Peach Schnapps and orange juice spilled and left on my dorm room floor overnight until it got tacky. Besides the fact that it smelled like skunked booze poured all over a rugby player, it was also a pretty potent reminder of late adolescence.
But then I think of my thrifty husband, with all his good shopping sense, and how maybe, just maybe, he did like that smell. He didn’t have half the spirit-soaked initiation into adulthood that I did. So, I tried to let it go.
And I try still, every night, when I snuggle up to his back, taking huge gulps of tiki torch/feet/steel drums/testosterone into my lungs.
And I retch a little. And curse the Procter & Gamble corporation.
And then Harry Belafonte and I drift happily off to sleep.