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Lynxnote : for that cheap teenage smell of desperation.
Andy Parsons, Mock the Week
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Body scents can be a nice way for a guy to spice up his attractiveness, but when used inappropriately, they can give an air (so to speak) of smarmy overconfidence and overestimation of charm, to the point of coming off as sleazy or creepy. Cologne and aftershave are the classic avenues for this, but in modern days the go-to is body sprays, especially brands like Axe and Tag. If a male character is known for using body spray, the chances are very good that he's a clueless lout who thinks that smelling good is all that's needed to be attractive, or is using it to mask his insecurity and lack of game, or he sprays himself down so heavily that people can't stand to be around him. He may even use it as a substitute for proper hygiene. The actual odor itself can also be offensive.

One particular brand of male Jerkass is often referred to as a "douchebag". The term carries certain connotations about his personality, clothes, hairstyle and/or accessories, but (over)use of body spray is a very common association.

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This negativity comes from blowback against advertising for body sprays. They were usually marketed as the aerosolized key for a man to draw the attention of every woman in olfactory range. However, some brands ran that theme to over-the-top and borderline misogynistic levels that began to draw the ire of both women and media.

Anticipatory Breath Spray can cause a similar reaction if the guy doing the freshening up fits the same kind of loser image.

Contrast Sex for Product, where the product actually does attract women.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Many hygiene products cottoned to the negative reputation that body sprays developed and tailored their ads to play on this:
    • Brut did a Take That! to Axe's ads with a man implied to be using body spray. It was strong enough to turn a bunch of tough bikers into Hard Gays.
    • Axe and Tag were parodied by a commercial for Nivea body wash. The commercial opens with assorted gangly adolescents and man-children criticizing the product for failing to make women want to have sex with them. Finally, a clean-cut young businessman takes a look and says "It won't dry my skin, it doesn't reek... isn't that the point?" followed by the tagline "Nivea for Men: the body wash for grown-ups."
    • The "Axe Hair-Crisis Relief", which seems to portray any guy with spiky hair as a complete failure in society. Some of their personalities are never mentioned; when they are, they seem to be rabid.

    Comic Strip 
  • Zits: This strip shows the unfortunate results of 'Body-Spray Brandon' and 'Too-Perfumed Pam' passing too close to each other and their fumes mingling. It's not pretty.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Endgame: During the Time Heist, Scott and Tony are in charge of stealing the Tesseract from Avengers-era Tony, who was still known for being a womanizing playboy. The plan starts with Scott shrinking down to slip inside past Tony's shirt.
    Scott: Ugh! Is that Axe body spray?
    Tony: I keep a can in the desk for emergencies, calm down.
  • Invoked in That's My Boy when Donny asks Todd if he has any Axe:
    Todd: No, Donny, I don't have any Axe body spray because I'm not a fucking douchebag.
    Donny: That's a douchebag thing? When did that become a douchebag thing?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cougar Town: In "Little Girl Blues", Travis behaves like a jerk to his girlfriend because he's insecure about his sexual performance. When he promises to make it up to her, he mentions putting on body spray for their date and then nixes the idea when she expresses dislike of the idea.
  • Subverted in one The Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment where John Oliver is replaced by Patrick Stewart in a bad toupee and five tons of stage ham to parody an NFL labor dispute. Jon starts fanboying over Patrick, even thinking he can smell Patrick's cologne.
    Jon Stewart: Is it a hint of lavender with a trace note of cedar and a soupçon of Balinese ocean sand, is that what it smells like?
    Patrick Stewart: It's Axe body spray.
  • Fam: In episode 4, Shannon's neglectful, irresponsible father is said to wear Axe body spray by his ex-wife.
  • In The Good Place, while infiltrating the demons in The Bad Place, Big Bad Shaun tosses newly reformed Michael (who's pretending to still be evil) a can of body spray and tells him to "Axe up" for their next openly evil act.
  • An episode of Impractical Jokers had a variation with a "Joker vs. Joker" challenge between Sal and Q. In the challenge, they were supposed to present a fragrance to a panel, and Sal's fragrance was called "Eu Ver Compensat" (overcompensate). The packaging featured an overconfident looking guy kneeling in front a sports car. The "Inside Jokes" version states that the art department was asked to use the "douchiest" looking stock photo they could find.
  • The Office (UK): When David Brent affects a contrived cool-guy persona for a motivational speaking gig, he changes shirts in front of his bemused client and hoses himself down with body spray, catching his Beleaguered Assistant in the face. He isn't hired back.
  • Parodied in The Sarah Jane Adventures, when a fake brand of body cologne is used to repel aliens because it is just that gross.

    Music 
  • The Garfunkel and Oates song "This Party Just Took a Turn for the Douche" gives this as one of the signs that the party they just walked into has... well...:
    The techno music starts to play
    And the room smells like Axe body spray
    I'm like Golda Meir with no gold in my ear
    Please tell me what the hell happened here

    Music Videos 
  • In the Eminem video "We Made You", one of Eminem's characters (called 'the Douchebag' in the behind-the-scenes video) goes on a date with Kim Kardashian. His side of the table is covered in cans of Axe.

    Web Comics 
  • Ennui GO!: In "Spray", rather than using the school's showers after gym class, Max's nemesis Skyler saturates himself with Ass body spray. He thinks it attracts girls, but when he walks by Max's friends Calixta and Bee, Bee remarks "Ugh, what smells like piss?", which echoes Max's opinion of how it smells.

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "nightlife", Strong Bad douses himself in body spray (which he insists is "the blood of slain warrior mammoths") while preparing for a night at the "cloughb". It fits with his personality of a Jerkass and Casanova Wannabe who tries to look cool and tough.
  • Thought Catalog's post "31 Hilarious Ways to Explain What a 'Douchebag' Really Is" includes this:
    In terms of geography, douchebags can be found nearly anywhere. For instance, douchebags can be seen in New Jersey where fake diamond earrings, frosted spiked hair, Razor phones, half a can of Axe [...] are considered "tight".

    Web Videos 
  • In an episode of Adult Wednesday Addams, Wednesday gets catcalled by some frat boys and later shows up at their house, having followed the scent of their Axe body spray.
  • In Derrick Comedy's "Bro Rape" video, one sign of being a Bro is use of body spray, with one of the bro rapists using a can and a half of Axe Body Spray on a dildo he intended to use on another bro.
  • Invoked in "Disney Villain Therapy Session". Gaston claims to hide his insecurities behind "muscles and tough-guy cologne", part of his overly masculine façade to hide the fact that he's gay.
  • In episode 20 of Trash Taste, a discussion of things the guys saw at anime conventions that weirded them out started with the inherent wrongness of glomping, then segued into the creepiness of people offering "free hugs".
    Joey: It's 2019, who does this?! [...] It just looks really rapey to me!
    Connor: I mean, I'm like in the one meter radius and I can smell the Axe body spray, I don't need this!

    Western Animation 
  • Pickle and Peanut: The episode "Body Spray" has Lazer selling Crossbow Body Spray, an amazing-smelling yet extremely expensive (a hundred dollars for just one can) body spray that makes anyone who wears it popular with everybody in town. He later throws a party that is exclusively for people who wear the spray, though Pickle is quick to point out when the duo get turned away that the party is nothing but obnoxious guys obsessed with smelling each other. Peanut couldn't care less and tries to sneak in to steal more Crossbow, only to be threatened to be shot by Lazer with a literal crossbow. Luckily, Pickle saves him using their Gonk-inducing homemade body spray and a small army of animals that are attracted to it.
  • Regular Show has Dudetime body spray, that advertises itself pretty much like AXE, but in action smells terrible, and all it actually attracts are jackassed Frat Bro unicorns. And considering the legends around unicorns and their attraction to virgins...

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