No Sugar Added: We're up to our armpits in fruity funny-business

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Spring is upon us, and I am here with some disturbing news: apparently, our nation’s capitol is not the only locale that will soon be awash in the delicious scent of cherry blossoms.

Our armpits will be bursting forth in bloom, as well.

It’s true. Last weekend, as I strolled through the aisles of the local Target store on my monthly quest for household supplies, I stumbled upon something that prompted me to switch my iPhone to camera mode. I didn’t think anyone would believe me unless I presented photographic evidence.

I speak, dear readers, of cherry-scented deodorant. Cherry Mischief, to be exact.

I have been alive long enough to have witnessed the evolution and extinction of not only certain species of mammals and technological paraphernalia, but also things in the body care section of stores like CVS.

I have seen items once used solely for practical purposes, such as cleaning your hair, gradually morph into products with names that would seem more believable on the pages of a lingerie catalogue. Or a 1950s diner menu.

When did someone decide that having armpits that smell like a bowl of Michigan cherries would be a good idea?

I remember when Clairol’s Herbal Essence shampoo came out. I was in middle school. It came in a clear bottle. The shampoo itself was the color of seaweed and smelled like the inside of a greenhouse.

It was pretty wild.

Back then, shampoo generally smelled like some pleasant brand of soap. Grooming products seemed rather innocent. Love’s Baby Soft. The Breck girl. Now we have a bottle of shampoo on the edge of our tub called “Tousle me Softly.” I feel as if I’m being violated during my morning shower.

I see this as yet another sign of the decline of civilization.

The first big scent to burst onto the scene was vanilla. I recall an onslaught of vanilla candles and moisturizers sometime in the early ’90s.

Now, vanilla is a lovely scent. If it’s in a bottle. And comes from Madagascar. A teaspoon in the batter of my chocolate chip cookies is delightful. And vanilla ice cream (made with real vanilla beans), topped with hot fudge and fresh raspberries is almost enough to make me weep.

But vanilla-scented tapered candles while I’m eating chicken picatta? No, thank you.

These days, vanilla is a tame scent. Walk through the candle aisle of any store and you will find people desperately searching for a respirator. It’s overwhelming. Do we really want our bedrooms to smell like “apple pie with caramel ice cream?” I mean, where’s the sex appeal in that? I just don’t find the smell of baked goods to be romantic.

Must our bathrooms smell like hazelnut coffee? Or, worse yet, “Wedding Day?”

I am all for annihilating unappealing bathroom odors, but I don’t need the scent of maple waffles doing the job. It would ruin breakfast for me for quite some time.

We can buy shampoo that makes our hair smell like cinnamon buns, deodorants that make our armpits smell like honeydew melon, and, thanks to a certain candle company that shall remain nameless, our homes can now glow with the nostalgic scent of jelly beans from Easters gone by.

I don’t want my body butter to make me smell like a mango. Most of the men I date are not fruit bats.

Now, you would think that my lovely daughter, Ophelia, would be the worst offender when it comes to scented grooming products. How many 18-year-old-girls could pass up cotton candy-scented nail polish (yes, they make scented nail polish; I saw some down aisle from the Cherry Mischief deodorant). She is not.

Her younger brothers, Charles and Harold, are the true offenders. I had no idea that young men could require so much body maintenance. We are on a constant quest for manly scented shampoos, conditioners, body washes, soaps, deodorants and colognes.

I remember my mother resorting to threats just to persuade my little brother to shower. And now, my 12-year-old is stealing my lavender-scented body scrub.

If he starts smelling like a cranberry chutney candle, I’m sending him to rehab.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at irreverentwidow.com or contact her at sandi@irreverentwidow.com.

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