Hey, Swamp Crotch!
A new type of underwear
promises to eat your odor
like a Pac-Man pole cat.
by D. Trull
As much as we try to fight it and hide it, there's no escaping the fact that human beings are just plain stinky. Fancy soaps and detergents and deodorants can hold our stench at bay for a scant few hours before we're reeking like an old pack of pimento loaf. But now, thanks to space-age technology, the textile industry has developed a new miracle fabric that could revolutionize the world of B.O., forever.
Courtaulds, the British manufacturing giant responsible for the Wonderbra, has created garments that actively battle your bodily smells. Throughout history, clothes have acted as sweat sponges that merely sop up our stinkiness so we can carry it around with us the rest of the day. Courtaulds is proposing an exciting New World Odor with its Amicor line of fabrics, which are saturated by compounds that stamp out nasty microorganisms before they can get to work on underarms, feet, and the, uh, "land down under":
"The fibers prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that are responsible for the smells from sweat and urine that collect in underwear," said David Service, Courtaulds researcher.
Amicor's biological warfare comes courtesy the antibacterial compound irgasan, commonly found in such items as mouthwash and toothpaste, and a secret-formula antifungal agent. Service claims the fabrics are potent enough even to combat athlete's foot and jock itch. Amicor will debut in stores in the form of socks, bed sheets and towels, with underwear and sportswear set to follow.
Are the unwashed masses ready to go along with antibiotic Fruit of the Looms? You bet your staphylococcus they are!
Hypochondria is hip these days, and consumers love products that kill germs nearly as much as they do fat-free ones. Leading the hyper-hygienic charge is Japan, where shoppers go after anything labeled "anti-bacterial" with a zestfully clean fervor that would make Howard Hughes look like Pig Pen.
Besides, it looks like this Amicor stuff might actually work. Courtaulds' breakthrough process embeds the stink-resistant chemicals into fibers in ultra-secure polyacrylonitrile chains, so the stuff's there to stay. Amicor boxers should keep on sparring with your personal olfactory signature even after two hundred washes.
Oh yeah, there is that unfortunate drawback: you don't get to stop doing your laundry. We can hope one day there'll be Extra Strength Amicor II, with patented "Nev-R-Change" vulcanization.
The only serious threat to Amicor's success is the monolithic deodorant-industrial complex. Who's gonna want to buy Right Guard when your T-shirt alone can keep you fresh and confident all day long? Courtaulds had best beware of a hostile takeover and shutdown by Proctor & Gamble, and saboteurs out to replace the antifungal compounds with rancid lard.
It's an ambitious marketing challenge, certainly, but remember who we're dealing with. Never underestimate the power of the folks who made the Wonderbra. When it comes to helping consumers feel better about small, displeasing things on their bodies, these guys know exactly what they're doing.
Source: The New Scientist Web Site
(c) Copyright 1997 ParaScope, Inc.