At the gym yesterday, I was toiling away on my elliptical trainer and a fellow started his work out on the one right next to me. And he stank of old sweat. As I was trying to decide what to do about this unpleasant intrusion, I glanced at him. He appeared not only well-groomed but quite fresh; clearly just starting his work-out and a man who took some care of his appearance. A man, in other words, who doesn't use deodorant and had had a hard day.
I know, it's a gym and you have to expect sweat. And I do expect it and I even exude it. No problem. But this wasn't the smell of gym sweat, it was way too old for that. It was sweat from some toil or trouble of 6 hours before which had been attacked by bacteria and stank. Just exactly the problem that deodorant was invented to solve.
I moved to another machine. Too unpleasant. I've belonged to this same gym for 15 years now,exercising twice a week in close quarters with men and women and this is the first time I've moved away from someone who stank. Never happened 10 years ago or 5 years ago. Still never happens around women. But actually, I've had the same problem out of the gym several times this year with well-groomed men who obviously care about how they look and take care of themselves, and I'm starting to wonder if someone has started whispering that real men don't use deodorant.
The one man with whom I could have a conversation about this told me that it had something to do with how artificial scents bother people, and as one person who is sometimes (in allergy season) very troubled by artificial scents, I can appreciate the concern but I have good news for us all...deodorants are available in unscented versions! Yea, Chemistry!
As I moved and set myself up on a new machine at the gym, I wondered if the real reason for not wearing deodorant is an unconscious need to make space around one in a crowded world. If so, it's gonna get worse. In reality, of course, the more crowded the world, the more important that we take care not to create a large olfactory footprint. If you are herding cattle in the wild west all day, you can get away with taking your shower before you go home. If you exercise, work, and move 10 inches from everyone around you, it's only polite not to stink. I'm glad I use deodorant, and I wish that everyone else did, too.
And please, no comments about women and perfume. I agree with everything you say and will catch that subject another time.