Simon Wood

Hump Day: You Smell

Yes, I’m talking to you. Your personal cleanliness and freshness is appalling. Isn’t it time you washed your hair, brushed your teeth, used some deodorant and did something about those stinky feet? Now, I’m not being harsh. I’m just being educational. I think it’s my duty to tell you that basically, you reek!

This is the message most TV ads send about you. Not only that, you’re fat and ugly. You all need to eat better and see a surgeon. And don’t go thinking this applies just to the ladies. You chaps aren’t any different. You’re just as smelly and not only that, you’re going grey and bald to boot and if you don’t do something pronto, no one will ever want you.

It’s amazing how many advertisements go out of their way to tell you what a disgusting person you are and that if you don’t do something about it, life as you know it will be over. For fifteen minutes an hour, you’re bombarded with images telling you that you aren’t such a great person and your kids and spouse will hate you for it, unless you buy this product or service. It’s nice to think that your disgusting afflictions can be so easily remedied.

This form of advertising isn’t unique to the US. The United Kingdom isn’t any different. It might explain why Britain uses more soap per capita than any other nation in Europe. But that might have a lot to do with the French once describing Britain as “the dirty man of Europe.” Maybe we just misunderstood. 🙂

It would be interesting to conduct a global study to determine the numbers of people with low self-image from country to country. Would there be more neurotics in countries where there is more negative advertising?

It makes me wonder. . .if the TV networks were to run fewer adverts that attacked society, would the need for drugs like anxiety medication Paxil diminish? Is there a big conspiracy between advertisers, personal cleanliness products and the drug companies to make you all think you’re smelly so you’ll lather up and pop pills by the bucket load to compensate? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not saying you should let yourself go. We don’t need the stench causing the hole in the ozone layer to get any bigger or create any more dead zones in the oceans. I’m just saying that like everything in life, moderation is fine. You don’t need an entire closet to put all your personal grooming products in–a nice wall cabinet will do. Anything more is just overkill.

So if you come across a less than fragrant person in your travels, don’t say, “Soap it up there, stinky.” Say instead, “You smell, but that’s okay. You’re still a wonderful person.”

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