A disturbing trend among my young male college friends has me a bit worried. You see, I started noticing their very odorous auras a few months back. It wasn’t until a friend of mine visited me at work a few weeks ago that I realized his once light scent had now become overwhelmingly strong. Between my baby sneezes, I asked, “Jesus, what reeks?”

My little buddy turned to me with a very debonair pose and a cocked eyebrow before replying, “That’s Axe, baby. It’s good stuff, huh?”

I would’ve laughed if I wasn’t so perturbed by the stench, “Which scent is it?”

He shrugged and reverted back to his usual adorably geeky disposition, “I dunno. I keep three of them — one in my car, one in my bag, and one at home. It’s either red, blue, or green.”

Who knew scent had colors?

The explosion of male body sprays in the last year has become the bane of many a girl’s existence. While it’s great that men are putting forth a little effort to smell nice without depending on the likes of Stetson or Old Spice, many seem to think that dousing themselves in any sort of perfume is going to impress the ladies. It doesn’t. In fact, body spray has become just another clichéd joke, like gelled hair, chest waxing, and grown men with Velcro wallets.

Axe body spray was originally launched in the U.S. around 2002, but its popularity didn’t pick up until a couple years later when prime time television was suddenly bombarded with dramatic commercials displaying the fantastic results of drizzling yourself in said product. Scent names such as “Kilo,” “Tsunami,” “Wild Card,” “VooDoo,” “Touch,” and the limited edition “Willing” began flying off the shelves and taking up residence on dorm room night stands almost overnight. Walk into any dance club on a Friday night in downtown Charleston with a large metrosexual population, and you’ll become lightheaded from the intermingling scents of not only Axe, but all the other body sprays on the market, including Tag and BOD (yeah, remember those stupid “I want your bod” commercials? I can’t believe someone fell for those, either!).

The thing that confuses me the most about male, or even female, cologne or body spray is the fact that it covers up one of our most powerful attributes in the struggle to attract the opposite sex — pheromones. Though the subject is still widely debated as far as its effect on humans, there’s no question that pheromones play a main role when it comes to the mating dances of other species. Most scientists agree that pheromones cause menstrual synchronicity among women and Psychology Today has reported that body odors play a part in the highly selective process of choosing a mate. Hell, there’s even a huge internet market based on the sale of bottled pheromones. Why cover up something you already have, especially when it’s being offered at almost $100 a vial?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I like a nice, subtle fragrance on a man, but the keyword is subtle. Don’t go crazy, fellas, or you’ll get the exact opposite reaction from those displayed in the over-the-top body spray commercials. No girl wants to be with a man that smells prettier than she does. Three or four short spritzes is all you need — remember, you’re not putting out a fire, for God’s sakes, even if you don’t have time to take a shower. Whatever happened to a good old French bath and a bar of Irish Spring?

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