Sunday, January 9, 2011

When Buying Deodorant Becomes A Game of Charades

There's something I enjoy about meeting someone from a different culture. I have relationships with people from just about every part of the world and, although I jokingly play around with accents, I'm truly interested in learning about various ethnic backgrounds.  I do my best to understand and communicate with people regardless of how difficult it may be. But...when I'm short on time things can get interesting.

Here's the story. 

A while ago I had to rush out after work to catch a train as I was meeting Sandy and one of her female co-workers downtown for dinner.  Something which I certainly didn't want to miss because...well...let's just say the testosterone-fueled parts of me had been looking forward to this for some time.

I had brought a change of clothes to work which I put on after washing and freshening-up.  As I eagerly headed towards the train station I realized to my horror that I had forgotten to give myself a fresh application of deodorant. This simply would not do.

I knew along the way there would be a couple convenience stores, I just wasn't sure where they were. I was in the thick of rush hour, and not really being able to slow down amongst the constant flow of traffic I pulled into a location where I thought I'd find a store.  Naturally when I found one it was on the opposite side of where I was, in the most inconvenient of locations to get to.

So much for convenience.

You know those movies where a baby, or a frog, or a drunken man is walking obliviously across a busy street with cars whizzing by in all directions and miraculously avoids getting smushed?  That was kinda me.  I pick a moment amongst all this automotive insanity to make the most illegal of moves and pull in to my destination. This is where the real adventure begins.

Having no time to scout out what I'm looking for I make a beeline for the shop owner.

Me: "Hi, do you sell deodorant?"


Me: "Do you have any deodorant?  You know..deodorant?"

Okay either God is testing me or there's a hidden camera somewhere. Switching tactics now, periscope down. Go into visual mode.

Me: "Deodorant.  De-o-dor-ant." Holding my nose between my fingers and scrunching up my face like I'd just sucked on a lemon. "Eww, yucky, stinky.  Phew!"

This guy seems nice enough but it's like trying to discuss existentialism with a hamster. I begin frantically fanning my under my arms. Had there been the slightest crosswind I swear I would have become airborne.

Still nothing.

Suddenly I spot my target on a shelf halfway down the store. In one quick gracefully smooth movement I speed down the aisle, round the corner and sweep up the container in my hand. I place it on the counter.  Surely my work is done.  Surely he'll just ring it through, like the thousands of people who had come before him had. But it wasn't to be. He gazes down to study the object, much the same as Horatio Cain would in an episode of CSI Miami.  Except this guy isn't wearing impossibly dark glasses. It's like he's never seen something like this before.

Him: "How you say? So I know what to call."

Gotta at least give him credit right?

Me: "Deodorant."

Him: "Deeeooooo......"

Finally we almost seem to connect, to share a moment. He seems to understand. It's touching really, almost brings a tear of joy to my eye. But there's no time for celebration. I pay, and with a quick smile and a thank you I'm outta there.

I throw open the door and blow past a group of homies outside, fully prepared for an altercation and ready to say something like, "Look mofo I'm meeting two honeys downtown, I had a traumatic deodorant experience and I'm late for my train so back the fuck off!" But they pay me no attention and before I know it I'm in my car. Looking back it's quite clear that any coolness factor I may have had pretty much I applied the deodorant in the car. I don't ever recall seeing Chuck Norris or Steven Segal putting on Speed Stick before kicking someone's ass, do you? 

In the end I made my train with a few minutes to spare and my armpits smelled wonderful. And I always make sure I have a spare.


  1. That sounds like quite an adventure - bless our multicultural society, otherwise life wouldn't be quite as fun without these gem-like moments of communication. And oh gosh, Barry, you posted that baby picture multiple times to melt ladies' hearts I'm sure, because I think I'm totally in love with it. Oh gosh, what I wouldn't do to reach across the screen and kiss that chubby cheek, or to cuddle a beautiful baby in my arms. xo

  2. ROFL! That REALLY cracked me up!! Quite an adventure, huh? Don't know why I pictured Jim Carrey in your place!:-P

  3. OK, forget about the deoderant part, I'm still stuck on the first paragraph that leaves me hanging wondering if you were off for a 3-some! =O OK, sorry if misinterpreted, but hey. Maybe that's just because some wishful thinking..


  4. Sophie- the baby was strictly for effect, I
    didn't pay much attention to how cute
    it is to be truthful. Goes to show how
    much parental instinct I have!

    Bassi- Jim Carrey? Should I be flattered? :)

    "A"- you're definitely reading my mind. One
    look at this girl and you'd know why it's
    at the top of my list of things that will
    never happen.

    Becca- anytime! :)

  5. Hilarious. And for the record, putting on SpeedStick in the car is WAY cooler than being the smelly guy. Good for you!

  6. hahaha! Great post. Definitely got my morning started on the right foot.

    P.S. Chuck Norris and Steven Segal got nothin on you. They only WISH they had thought to put on deodorant before kicking somebodys ass.

  7. Hahahaha! I love your stories. :) It's strange to think that there are so many countries where people don't use deodorant, much less know what it is. I remember two incidents: a high school foreign exchange student from France and then a college friend from Italy, who both stunk SO BAD. Wearing deodorant was unheard of for them! I dunno...maybe we're the weird ones...? Lol.

  8. Heather- interesting, I never looked at it that way. lol

    Tony- :)

    Lady M- I confess I can't help it, every time I see your name I think a dominatrix is reading my blog. Glad you liked it!

    Jennifer- Aaahh!!! So great to see you here again, it's never the same without you. As for being weird speak for yourself, I'm perfectly normal. ;p

  9. lol oh you are meetin some honeys yo?