Do you like the new redesign? It’s all because Anna Beth is a good friend who hates looking at an ugly webpage. She did it all herself while I sat on my ass going, “I don’t like that color.” “Fix that.” “Make it work in Netscape.” Anyway, I love it, and I love her for it. Not that I didn’t love her already.

So a strange thing happened to me on my way to my meeting this afternoon. It was on a studio lot, and many of these lots expect you to valet, which as a struggling writer is a bit of a drag. I’m already counting out quarters for the coffee needed to be as entertaining as possible in fifty minutes, but now I have to keep a couple of singles on me to tip the guy who gets in my car and parks it in the space right in front of me. Valet is everywhere in LA; the Coffee Bean near my old apartment charged you to park in the lot to get your cup of coffee — something that could cost more than the coffee itself. I’ve gotten used to it as just another part of going on these meetings, like an added expense.

In any event, today I drove in and there was a spot right in front of me, so I did that hand-motion thing to the valet asking if I could just park in the spot. He gestured back that I could, so I pulled in. I could see him in my rear-view mirror telling me to keep moving forward so he could park another car behind mine and I’d eventually require the services of a valet.

So I get out of my car, lock it and walk over to the small valet man. I hold out my keys towards him and ask, “Do you need these?”

He walks up to me until he’s standing close enough to dance, takes my hand that holds the keys in both of his hands, brings my hands to his chest, rubs my fingers with his and says, “No, you hold onto these.”

Like he was trying to seduce me while sending me on a mission. Now, this is a big lot and it takes a bit of gumption to find the building you’re looking for (the parking attendant said “Good luck today,” when he gave me my drive-on, if that’s any indication), but I wasn’t expecting this Antonio Banderas-like approach to valet.

I can’t remember how I reacted. I wonder if I laughed right then or as soon as I turned away. I hope it was once I made it to the elevator. I remember that’s when I wanted to call everyone I knew and go, “I think the valet just made love to my hand.”

Once out of the meeting I went to the bathroom and saw that I’d been sweating. I didn’t even feel nervous in the meeting, but I think talking for an hour straight, sitting on a couch, after just driving across the city might just make for a bit of sweat production. And I know usually I’m nothing but a lady on these pages, but today I want to ask a little question. I’m actually doing this because I’m at the end of my rope, and someone said to me, “This is now the time that you should ask your readers. They fix everything.”

It’s not ladylike, and it’s rather embarrassing, which is probably why I’m telling you this instead of something else, but here goes. I can’t seem to put on deodorant correctly. No matter what I do I end up with some of it on my clothing. If I don’t get it on my clothes, then I end up sweating through them. I hate it and it makes me hate myself.

If I put the deodorant on before I put on my shirt then it gets all over the sides of my shirt when I’m pulling the shirt over my chest. I could stretch the shirt out far over my breasts, but that just stretches the shirt a little, and usually I still end up with deodorant on the sides of my shirt.

If I wait to put on the deodorant until I’ve put the shirt on, then I often end up dragging the deodorant on the bottom of my shirt, or it ends up a little bit on the sleeves.

I even use deodorant that’s not supposed to leave any marks. I’ve tried clear deodorants and alternatives, but the only deodorant/anti-perspirant I’ve found that actually keeps me from sweating and isn’t some bizarre crystal thing I refuse to hold to my pits is Secret Platinum, a high-octane weapon so strong I’m sure I’m getting one step closer to Altzheimers with every passing day. In any event, it fails if I don’t put enough on, and when I put enough on it gets on my clothes. If I’m wearing a black t-shirt, sometimes the deodorant will soak through the shirt.

I guess I could put it on first thing in the morning and walk around topless for twenty minutes and then get dressed. This is also what the rest of the house voted as the best solution. I don’t necessarily agree, however.

So, I’m asking you. How do I put on anti-perspirant/deodorant like a lady? How do I save my clothes from stains, stretches and strains? How can I have nice dry underarms and still smell good and not have white stripes across my sides? Is, once again, the problem just my chest?

Who was supposed to teach me this in life and failed? Am I the only one with this problem? I don’t know anybody else who can’t put on a shirt without making a mess of it. What is wrong with me?

Admit it, sometimes you’re ashamed of me, aren’t you? I understand. I really do.

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