I wish I could say I was surprised to learn that bored teens are dousing their forearms with Axe body spray, igniting it and then gleefully posting these videos on YouTube.
But sadly, it doesn’t really surprise me. Honestly, when I first heard about this new trend, I just sort of shrugged and said to myself, “That sounds about right.” Then, as I always do when having these types of conversations with myself, I feigned disapproval at my callousness with a playful, “Oh Joel, you incorrigible, handsome devil, you.” (Side note: I need to get out more.)
But I digress …
Of course Axe body spray users are lighting themselves on fire. Why wouldn’t they?
Teenage boys are inherently stupid to begin with. I knew kids who would spray hairspray around their bathroom sink and then drop a match on it to watch a flame shoot up. Friends of mine got drunk at a party once and started shooting propane tanks with guns so that they could film the resulting explosions. My best friend jumped through a flaming table in moment of “Don’t try this at home” pro wrestling mimicry. Young men are idiots to begin with. And they like fire.
But the difference between your average kid and your average Axe user is that most teenagers are at least trying not to get hurt. Teens tend to assume they are invincible, but there was always an illusion of safety to my friends’ exploits, some sort of bare-minimum precautions taken in an attempt not to be injured. These Axe users though are lighting THEIR OWN ARMS on fire. Seriously, unless you are making a bold statement about the persecution of monks in your hometown, there is really no reason to light yourself on fire. It’s not going to end well. If you believe otherwise, you are an idiot.
And, let’s be honest here –Axe body spray users are idiots.
That sounds harsh, I know. And typically, I’m not in the habit of rushing to judgment or making blanket statements about groups of people. However, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there aren’t a ton of Mensa members using Axe.
If you don’t believe me, just watch their commercials. The ads for Axe imply that if you use their product, women will become so overwhelmed with desire for you that they will tackle you right there in the street and have sex with you. And not just any girls. Not those rough-looking skanks that show up on Rock of Love or in Tiger Woods’ bedroom. I’m talking about attractive girls. Even intellectual ones (you can pick out the smart ones because they are wearing glasses). These are strong, independent, classy women with high paying jobs on their way to discuss Proust at their weekly book club. Then the scent of your body spray wafts into their nostrils as you strut by and suddenly they lose all inhibitions. One little spritz and – BAM! – instant orgy. The commercials make it clear – spraying yourself with Axe is a license to bang.
And those are just the commercials that make sense. There is a whole different ad campaign where a guy sprays himself with Axe Chocolate and suddenly morphs into some sort of terrifying, dead-eyed chocolate golem who is ripped to shreds and eaten by hot chicks. The whole time these women are tearing him apart, he keeps the same docile look on his face as he continues his stroll down the boulevard. I’m guessing this idea must be appealing to someone … I just hope I never, ever meet that person.
So yes, of course this is the same demographic that would want to light themselves on fire because they think it would make a “cool” video. And call me heartless if you must, but is it really such a bad thing to let them do this? I’m pretty sure this is how Darwinism works.
And I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. It’s clear these newscasters at KTLA in Los Angeles are also encouraging Axe users to keep lighting themselves on fire. Sure, they use their sad, disapproving newscaster voices to make it seem like they think this is a bad thing, but I can read between the lines. First of all, they explain exactly how to do it. Then, throughout the story, they continually show the YouTube clips, essentially validating the kids who have already done it. The message is clear – light yourself on fire and you can be on TV too. At the end of the story, the correspondent even mentions the fact that Axe body spray is “readily available for six bucks” at local stores. She might as well have listed which aisle you can find it in.
Of course, the people who make Axe are doing all it can to discourage this. You can see their solution in the above clip. A beautiful girl sprays down a guy with a fire extinguisher, followed by the tag line: “Lighting Axe on fire can kill your game. And you.” But of course Axe has to try to stop this. They need to protect their bottom line.
The rest of us have no such obligation. I’m not saying we should encourage it like those heartless newscaster. But could turning a blind eye to it really be so bad? Sure, they are only teenagers, but someday they will grow up and become douchey, unstoppable dead-eyed chocolate monsters. So let them wipe themselves out now … before it’s too late.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.