Being (a female) Human: Underarms and Dirty Dishes

In recent years, I’ve spoken candidly about things that would make my 16 year-old self crawl into a hole of mortification, including my digestion, skin and general shortcomings.

Let me tell you, it’s a bloody relief to not mind appearing the flawed, ever-changing collection of meat, mineral and electricity that all we humans are underneath.

Today, it’s all about the armpits and keeping them inoffensive.

At the moment, I’m super stoked (yes, stoked) about the deodorant I’ve made. For the past few years, mainly since I left the office, was pregnant and cared more about minimizing metal exposure than smelling daisy-fresh, I’ve cut my deodorant use. I go without if I’m staying home or only going out briefly, and wear a regular womens’ antiperspirant/deodorant if I’m going to be within a few feet of people for any length of time.

See, I’m a lady who sweats with gusto and scent, and simply can’t bring myself to ignore that when I’m in a yoga class or out for dinner. I’ve tried “natural” deodorants, but they never work. I’ve thought about making my own, but kind of assumed they also wouldn’t work.

Then, at book club (I am so in my 30s) a few weeks ago, someone mentioned that she’d not worn deodorant in 11 years and just made her own. I was captivated, and inspired. Long story short, I mixed up the following in my kitchen over a week ago and have not touched commercial underarm products since:

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 drops lavender oil

I warmed the coconut oil to make it liquid and mixed all the ingredients in a bowl. Then I set it to cool in the fridge. When it was starting to hold shape, I stuffed the mixture into an old deodorant container. It’s convenient, effective and delicious smelling. I can socialize with confidence, and without applying questionable elements to one of the more delicate areas of my body.

One thing to keep in mind – coconut oil softens and liquifies in heat, so I may have to keep this in the fridge come summer. Whatever. I’m just so amazed that it works, and probably costs me less than any decent commercial product. Take that, aluminum-laden sweat suppression!

Now, About Those Dishes…

In a totally separate arena: Why are women still doing all the cleanup after a big holiday dinner, while the men sit and chat leisurely only 10 feet away? I alluded to this on Easter Sunday, and was amused at the confused female faces looking back at me.

Now, I realize there’s an element of tradition to this, especially when family members are from older generations. Buddying up to wash, dry and put away dishes gives the girls time to chat, and the boys likely have a game to watch. Families enact their rhythms, and it’d be silly to think they were rooted in nothing more than sexism. Besides, I don’t think my mummies and aunties trust the gentlemen with such chores.

Still, I feel like it’s a question worth asking. And this I know well: If I ever have a son, he’ll be guided toward a mindset that considers dishes “human’s work.”

Armpits and domestic equality – another Wednesday in the books. Tah-tah for now!

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