It’s not as bad as it sounds, but for this first time in I don’t know how many years I asked my wife to buy me some deodorant.
This does not represent a confession of guilt for failing to fit in. My Egyptian friend tells me most men on the street do not use deodorant; after many rides on the crowded summer Metro I can attest there may be validity to his words. Deodorant seems to be available only in pharmacies, and imported brands predominate, at a cost of three or four American dollars. It is simply beyond the price range for many Egyptians, over 40% of whom live below the poverty line. Besides, if everyone smells, your personal odor is a non-issue. In many ways, it seems a better, less self-conscious way to live.
But my sense of belonging does not stretch so far as to offend a neighbor’s nose. Rather, it is a shared sense of frugality.
The last time we enjoyed an extended stay in America we made liberal use of the Sunday coupons, clipping every one on basic personal hygiene. If timed well with regular sales and double or triple value coupon weeks, it is a relatively simple matter to obtain deodorant, toothpaste, and other items at no cost or a few pennies.
The last of my accumulated stash ran out yesterday.
We hope to spend some time in America this upcoming summer. Coupon donations are gladly accepted. Feel free to keep your deodorant.
- The Sole of Belonging – April 1, 2011