I have this rather adverse effect on women.
I don't try to do this. In fact, I try to go out of my way to attract and thrill the opposite sex. At my age and disposition, this is no easy task, so I need all the extra help I can get.
I try, but no matter what I do, the results are usually pretty dismal - sometimes even catastrophic.
For instance, I thought if I went out and bought a really expensive cologne rather than the cheap aftershave I splash on myself by the bucketload, it couldn't help but have a beneficial effect.
I was encouraged in this belief by a fellow worker who also is a saleslady for a cosmetics firm. At first I was dubious. After all, a cosmetics firm? That sounded pretty sissy to me.
She assured me that they also have plenty of products for men and was very enthusiastic about the mesmerizing power of this particular product. It was so good that in some more prudish countries (and Boston) it was banned. A few squirts of this and I would have to beat the women off with a stick. It would really ''knock them out."
Wow. I pictured myself playfully whacking away at a mob of wanton women, besotted with desire and determined to have their way with me. I had to have some of this stuff.
As you can imagine, it wasn't cheap. In fact, it was about $35, which I consider pretty darned extravagant. I could buy a year's supply of my regular stuff for that, but, hey, this might be worth it. The first day, I sprayed on a healthy dose, then went outside to find a good-sized stick to protect myself.
Can you believe it? Not one sex-crazed female tried to attack me. In fact, nobody even noticed.
So I figured maybe I wasn't using enough. Why, of course, that had to be it. I was being too stingy.
So, the next day I gave myself a full blast in the face and spritzed a little on my neck, chest, and wrists. I figured I was on the right track when my cat, Spook, took one whiff, wrinkled up his nose, and scampered off.
Well, the results were not exactly as I had hoped. Not at all.
First of all, it did have a profound effect on a lady that I see from time to time. She claims it gave her a migraine.
But the clincher came when I went to the doctor's office. They won't forget that visit any time soon.
There I was, waiting in the examining room for the doctor to enter. When she did, she wasn't in there 30 seconds when she began to sneeze. And not just once, but a series of sneezes and coughs. These were accompanied by teary eyes and runny nose. I asked if she was sick today.
''No, I was fine,'' she gasped. ''Until I came in here."
I just looked innocent, and I might have gotten away blameless if not for that bit of nastiness at the counter.
I was standing there as the doctor wrote out a prescription while a young woman and her mother were waiting behind me.
Suddenly there was a muffled ''thump'' behind me and an exclamation of surprise. I turned around to see the young woman flat on her back, out like a light. There was a bit of scurrying about and some smelling salts appeared, and, fortunately, the girl was revived and was just fine.
The doctor went back behind the counter and looked from me to the girl with narrowed eyes.
I beat a hasty retreat.
So, I've been kind of laying off the scent for the time being, at least until I think the female world is ready for it.
The good news is, I probably won't need a stick, after all.
Tom Ensign is a Blade columnist. E-mail him at email@example.com.
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