C2H60 + H2O + C10H16O2 + C3H8 = R4NK

B.O. It’s not fun. I don’t I have it, or at least none of my friends have said anything as yet, what I mean is B.O. wafting from other people is not fun. There’s nothing worse than getting a nose full of someone who has been a stranger to bathing for a while, their stale odour crawling its way down your airways to flip your stomach. Actually, that’s not true, there is something worse and that’s standing in a queue with someone who does have B.O. and having a mental breakdown hoping that no one else present thinks it’s you that has the bodily musk of a landfill site. I can’t speak for you but it takes me all of my willpower not to shout out: “That smell’s not me; it’s them, the fucking walking collection of piss soaked rags in front of me. Here, smell my pits, it’s like summer rain in there.” Horrible, truly horrible.

A seesaw has two ends though and it is the other end of the aroma teeter totter I am confronting tonight because I sincerely fear that my life is getting shortened as surely as if I had been an asthmatic slate miner in Victorian Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, sucking in mouthfuls of silica dust. (Those poor bastards even had to buy their own candles.) For although I accept perfume in its many guises has a place in polite society the use of it on an industrial scale is nothing short of chemical warfare. Maybe I’m wrong but I assume the instructions on a can of Lynx deodorant state: ‘Total contents to be used in one application’. There is no other explanation for the choking mist that envelopes most male teenagers that pass me, causing the water in my eyes to boil off until my retinas curl up and I lose the ability to see colours. I could forgive that, teenage lads are complete numpties with raging ‘find a mate’ hormones so their sense of smell is pretty low on the brain’s priorities but this fashion for seriously strong scents seems to be prevalent regardless of gender and age.

There used to be a time when this kind of aromatic assault only happened if you were in the perfume department of a large shop, Boots or Lewis’s, etc., places filled with glass cabinets displaying crystal phials filled with amber liquid and peopled by women who learned how to apply make-up from Coco the Clown. It was (probably still is) an horrendous experience, stripping several layers off your throat and lungs and leaving you with stinging optic nerves for a week. You would envy the breath holding skills of pearl divers as you tried to clear the floor without inhaling or having ‘Canal No 5’ sprayed in your mug like Mace by a shop assistant whose face would crack if she blinked. Lately though this toxic atmosphere has leaked out into the world in general. An airborne plague that could easily, without any exaggeration on my part, lead to an extinction event.

Picture the scene, you’re in café tucking into a good old Full English when a bloke walks in who buys his aftershave by the tanker and applies it with a bucket. The establishment now smells like a stable where the horses are fed nothing but genetically engineered Jasmine buds and your breakfast tastes like it has been cooked in gin infused sand as it burns its way down your dissolving gullet. The bloke responsible for this is completely ignorant of the ecological disaster he is causing because he is at the epicentre, with the offending pong radiating out from him. In fact, if you asked him he’d think he smells as sweet as a unicorn’s arse. The same is true of the fairer sex (is that sexist, are they no longer fairer?) some birds sling enough perfume on themselves to melt the chaps off a cowboy at twenty paces and contravene several Geneva conventions in the process.

What happened to subtle? A hint? Surely the delicate fragrance of newly mown grass outranks shoving your head in a compost heap? When did a quick squirt on the wrists or under the arms become a fucking ten-minute total body soaking making you more flammable than a fire lighter? I also don’t get this overuse because some of this smelly shit costs a fortune, you could literally be atomising several hundred quid into thin air. Plus the more you use per application, even of the cheap crap, the more you have to replenish your supplies; the perfumers must be laughing their highly developed noses off all the way to the bank.

This is what we need to do to sort out this infringement on our rights to clean air untainted by daftly named pongs. (‘Fuel for Life’, ‘Bad’, ‘Loverdose’, ‘The Game’, ‘The Brilliant Game’, ‘Metal’, ‘Guilty’, ‘Bamboo’, ‘Milkmaid’s Stool’…I may have made that last one up but I am willing to licence that tag if anyone is interested in marketing such a whiff.) Much like the way the amount of alcohol consumed can be detected on a driver’s breath, coppers will be equipped with handheld particulate meters to record how many atoms of perfume there are within a two-foot radius of a person. If the level exceeds an acceptable amount, a fine will be issued and the criminal will be hosed down with an odour suppressant until the offending stench is reduced. Can’t say fairer than that.

I also propose any deodorant be only sold in those ‘bullet’ sized jobs to be used solely in a situation like a jam-packed night club or after a session of exercise before going to the boozer if showering facilities are not available or you are too ashamed of your winky to use them. A couple of quick squirts is all you need to keep yourself smelling relatively fresh so we can get rid of the larger cans that contain enough product to deodourise a herd of elephants.

There is absolutely no excuse for B.O. from either end of the spectrum as regular washing and use of soap (lightly fragranced or not is your choice) will eliminate any foul odours and also negate the need for any overpowering masking agents such as cheap deodorant – which is mainly propane, and a massive rip off. If you must take a ‘bath-in-a-can’ don’t overdo it, there is no need to block every pore on your body with aluminium, enough to stop you smelling like a haddock on a radiator will do fine for you and the innocent public. I myself never use deodorant, antiperspirant or after-shave and I still smell as sweet as a cottage garden because my plumbing is linked directly to the fabled lotus springs of Tibet. I also avoid leaking sweat at all times. This is achieved by ensuring I never move too much or too quickly, avoid any form of work and I never get upset or stressed by anything except the lack of money. Mainly the fact I rarely venture out into the real world or come into contact with other people ensures I never get up anyone’s nose in any sense of the phrase…possibly with the exception of you having to read this pile of nonsensical, stinking crap I’ve just written.

A little rhyming mnemonic to help combat the Body Odour Problem (BOP)…

If you stink
Find a sink
And wash away the sweat
Don’t spray shit
Into your pit
You polluting selfish get

…it needs some work.