In 1983, my 7th Form Geography class went on a field trip to Red Rocks on Wellington’s south coast to look at seals and landforms. I dressed in full safari kit because I believed that would impress the girls. Turns out the most impressive thing about the day was the massive quantity of sweat (and accompanying pong) that gushed from my pubescent armpits and into the highly absorbent costume.
It wasn’t an especially warm day, but by the time it was over those stains were gargantuan. They stretched from elbow to elbow, across my shoulders, meeting in the middle of my back and chest. My classmates stared in utter astonishment. I think even the seals (and the millions of blowflies they hosted) were offended by my appearance and odour.
Peter Watt was on the trip too, so I should’ve realised the girls would have no interest in me anyway.
From that day forwards I accepted the need to confront certain personal hygiene challenges.
Oh, if only Duke Cannon had existed in 1983. Essence of forest, ocean and mountain – the aromas of my emerging masculinity – would’ve pervaded the school bus. Armpit leakage would’ve been curtailed and contained. Female attention would’ve wrested from Peter Watt’s chiselled jaw and onto my irresistible comic charms.
In 2021, as the heat and humidity rise once more, there’s only one girl whose attention I crave and whose sensibilities I wish to protect.
Mrs Blackwell does us both a favour. When she senses my pong-ometer edging towards the red zone, she’ll subtly slip a tin of Duke Cannon Solid Cologne onto my vanity and refresh the Big Ass Brick of Soap in the shower.
If things are getting really fruity, she’ll dot a few Duke Cannon Heat and Light Candles around the house. Those babies cover a multitude of sins, if you get my meaning.
It’s a stern test I deliver to any grooming product, but Duke Cannon passes with flying colours.
As far as I’m aware, Mrs Blackwell is not secretly rendezvousing with Peter Watt and most of the seals at Red Rocks have now recovered.