Is It Rude to Apply Deodorant in Public?

One editor questions why his good olfactory intentions were scorned by a stranger.

As I took my seat on a packed flight yesterday, I noticed a musky, er—manly—scent emitting from my underarms. In my race to make the connecting flight, I had rendered moot that morning's underarm swipes. Luckily, I had packed deodorant in my carry-on bag. I applied it discreetly in the window seat—and ever so modestly—before anybody sat beside me.

But there, across the aisle, a woman in the opposite window seat stared at me disgustedly. Had I committed a crime against hygiene by applying my deodorant on the fly? Her shaking head told me I should have stepped into the restroom. It's not like I was on the subway or at a restaurant here—isn't there an understanding with cross-country travel that we're all a bit... hygienically compromised?

What say you, gentle readers? Was I wrong in thinking I was doing everyone a favor with a 2-second in-cabin reapplication, or should I have excused myself to the restroom as hundreds of other people jockeyed for their seat?

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