The Histrionic Chamois Cream
The quintessential cycling ointment is available from a variety of brands. They all have their proprietary blend of ingredients, usually including those that have something to do with smell.
Some are there to prevent or inhibit bad odor by preventing bacteria from flourishing in your nether regions.
Some are there to neutralise the odor arising from all the perspiration and heat.
Some are there to mask the odor.
The last one is generally called “fragrance” and can be either natural or synthetic.
A discreet concoction or a screamer.
Pleasant or repulsive.
Preference for fragrance is a very personal thing, and whatever blend they use in the cream, what people end up smelling is a unique cocktail of the ingredients and the wearer’s own chemicals. Let’s call this the Mix. The Mix is inherently a difficult one.
A screamer amplifies the risk of the Mix ending up on the wrong side of that preference.
When you’re the only one out on the road, all this fuss about smell is pointless either way. The problem is that the Mix does not hit the olfactory nerves of the wearer but only of those that are behind him or her.
Sometimes, someone in front is using some cheap perfume, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, layering of some or all of the above. However, even if you are not familiar with every single chamois cream on the market, you can tell that what you are smelling is a chamois cream, particularly if the Mix is a screamer.
Whether you like the smell or not becomes a secondary concern when you realise that, regardless of your olfactory preferences, you are smelling someone’s butt.
It could be a rather pleasant thought.
Therefore, the question is, to sniff or to be sniffed.