In a story appearing in a recent issue of New York magazine, Corrie Pikul, a self-professed "rampant perspirer," tested some sweat-prevention solutions. Secret Clinical Strength anti-persperant? "I still developed big splotches at the gym," she writes. She also tried Drionic Iontophoresis kit, which sens a mild electrical current through the skin (no noticeable improvement); sage leaves (relaxing, but ineffective); anti-cholinergic meds (100% dry from head to toe!) and Botox ("It felt like I was being attacked by bees, but for the next three weeks…my underarms only dampened on my morning jog"). Yeah, it's summer, and the armpit stories are afoot. (Aarm?) Anyway, it's one thing to try and combat perspiration. It's quite another to search for the perfect pit. Dodie Kazanjian penned a piece for August's Vogue titled "Up In Arms," and the subhead says it all: "With all the body parts we've grown to obsess over as we age, should armpits, too, be on the list?" In a word, Vogue says: Yes.
Ms. Kazanjian's two-page story of solid text about armpits begins thusly:
I first noticed it one hot day in August 1999 on my way to a luncheon party on Long Island. As I studied a map in the car, my eye caught an unsightly bulge of skin peeping out from under my sleeveless blouse, where my left arm joined my chest. That's sort of unattractive, I thought. Over the years, I've obsessed about one part of my body after another — my fat thighs, my nasolabial folds, my elbows — but I guess I wasn't ready for the armpit… I kept noticing the errant bulges, though, and watching them morph, as I passed 50, into flaps of loose skin."
And so, because Ms. Kazanjian is obsessed with her pits, she tries to convince us that other people are, too. She visits famous dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler, who indulges her. "Women come to me about this problem all the time," Dr. Wexler says. "They're not called armpits, they're called gludgeons, those fatty things that hang over a strapless gown." Wexler used Thermage (radio-frequency therapy) on her own gludgeons, and recommends it for Kazanjian. Ever the consummate reporter, Kazanjian gets a second opinion from Dr. Haideh Hirmand, who has her head screwed on right. "When you first called me about this," Dr. Hirmand says, "I thought, are you serious?" Hirman goes on to say Kazanjian could have plastic surgery on her folds, but: "Honestly? It's not worth it."
Determined to get someone to share her armpit horror, Kazanjian meets with designer Vera Wang at her Park Avenue duplex, where she gets the mother of all pull quotes:
"Yeah," Vera Wang agrees. "we all know exactly what you're talking about. The armpit is nasty, nasty. Even young girls can have this problem."
No, really. This was an actual pull quote. Look:
Thanks, Vogue. You took a perfectly natural occurrence — skin that connects arms to bodies — and turned it into something "nasty" that even youngsters should worry about. Ladies, we'd better forget our health, our weight, our noses, our thighs, our cleavage and whatever else we think we're supposed to be worried about: Armpit hate is the new hot shit.
Drip Stop [NY Mag]