Sunday, December 30, 2007
Smells have been on my mind recently. Not just the kinds of smells you can buy at any perfume counter or soap store but that basic, underlying personal smell. Even as a small child I was fascinated by it. I used to revel in telling people about their smells, I used to make character judgments based on them and I suppose I still do. I remember once trying to explain to a friend in the second grade how she had such a strong smell and I loved it and I wished that I had one when she informed me that I did, in fact, have one but she couldn't nail it down and it didn't matter anyway. I forgave her because we were only seven at the time and had not yet found the words to describe certain things. I chalked it up to a general lack of intellectual maturity. I don't have to concentrate hard to recall her smell, she and it are strong in my memory. It was clean and sweet and permeating.
I rarely notice personal smells anymore and I think that's because I can now pretty well put my finger on the source of a particular scent, be it soap or detergent or perfume; most of the mystery is gone. On occasion there is a scent or combination of scents that really sets a person apart in my memory and there is no replicating it. That's when the old intrigue sets in. Sometimes, as recently happened, a smell will be so overpowering as a memory in itself that one sniff alone is enough to send me crawling back to the first instance of heart break. Strangely, it is the basic feeling, rarely the person attached to it. Sometimes I find myself wondering if my feelings would have been so strong if I had smelled that one particular scent out of a bottle instead of on a neck. Evidently I am not the only person to have this particular reaction to this particular fragrance. I was in a shop recently and the saleslady handed me a bottle that was all "him". It was the fragrance that an ex spritzed liberally. I said as much to the salelsady and she laughed saying that a customer had just been in and when she smelled it she said, "Wow, I stayed with the same woman for ten years based on how she smelled and this is it. If I knew you could get it in a bottle I would have dumped her years ago."
I also think a person's unique smell says a lot about their personality. A dear friend of mine has a smell that whispers who she is before her mouth says a word. It is a combination of the heady, classically scented candles she loves that so often bring a wrinkle to my nose just before they invite a headache to stay the night and a little vial of oil she rubs behind her ears, and on her hands in a pinch. The latter is more descriptive of her. It is soft, musky, floral, wispy and unassuming. Sometimes you can't miss it, it walks in, holding her hand and loud and clear says, "hello, here I am!" and other times you really have to take a long deep breath of her to even get a hint of it. The great thing is that this is her in a nutshell. Being that these women, their scents and personalities have had such an effect on me I have become rather keen on figuring out what my smell is and what it says to the world.
In the past I have had friends tell me that they smelled a perfume that smelled like me. Usually it's something I have never tested, much less worn. The one the is most often happens with is Marc jacobs, though any white floral evidently used to smell like me, even when I refused for years to wear perfume. A former girlfriend offered up her opinion without my having to ask. She once said, "You always smell so amazing and clean, I've never meat anyone who naturally smells like you". Another time she picked out my shampoo as the magic smell, underlined with cake. How the hell does a person smell like cake??? I haven't the faintest.
My current girl, I flat out asked her what I smell like. She thought for a minute and said, "you always smell good, you smell like cookies and flowers and... well... every part of you smells like something different. You smell like a very expensive soap shop". When I told her of this little essay her response was, "did you mention the cigarettes and expensive lady perfume?" I'm not sure how I feel about that. She has a very sensitive sense of smell, so maybe she is able to pick out the different scents. Of course, I have been rather experimental in the fragrance department as of late, whereas with the first girl I was at my olfactorily plainest as I was traveling without perfume, scented soaps or creams. This worked out for us I think partially because her scent, like her, was overpowering, loud, at times antiseptic and grating while still somehow being mysteriously lovely. I had no room to add more to the olfactory party. Hmmm, sounds a bit like our relationship.
I guess, for me, the nose is the window to the soul...and the future... and the past.
and no, the scenario that lead up to this is not AT ALL what you might think.
SO today, same fucking cafe. I walk in wearing my new dress. Having the kind of day where things are going pretty well. (except for being sent home early from my volunteer position and walking around all day with a hole in the back of my pants.) As I walked in I thought I saw someone I knew, years ago. years ago when I was fat and miserable. Um, right, because I am so skinny and thrilled now, well, im pretty happy, but I digress. So i went in, got my coffee and as I walked out, thinking, "oh, look at me, I'm a grown up now, with a special dress and hip bones" I nonchalantly took a sip of said coffee, pouring it completely down the front of my dress. That's fine. Just fine. I brushed it off and got in the car. I don't even think he saw. That is until I looked over and realized that it WAS him, got out to say hello and announce that I was wearing my newly purchased beverage. I don't have the time to go into the full four part harmony of the thing but let me tell you, I'm still kind of laughing. I love my life.
I travel sometimes, I used to travel a lot more. Sometimes I miss it so I frequent various travel and air transportation websites and read people's stories just so I don't feel totally out of the loop. Vicarious travel, if you will. I read them all, the horror stories, the reviews of in-flight entertainment, which airlines had the hottest staff, who serves the best hot nuts the fastest - wait - hot nuts? What hot nuts? The more I visit these sites the more I see that they're everywhere. Every site has multiple threads and posts dedicated to these little warm airborne gems and I had never even heard of them. From L.A. to Chicago to Shanghai to Portugal first class passengers are enjoying and devouring the objects of intrigue. Hot Nuts!! Now, not only have I been a very frequent traveler in my life, but I have also been a very frequent first or at least business classer. AND I HAVE NEVER HAD HOT OR EVEN LUKE WARM NUTS. Never even been offered them while the posters on these boards have apparently had them enough times to be able to tell you which airline has the best ceramic bowls to serve them in and who has the best variety. It makes me wonder. What have I done to deserve no nuts? Do I look like the kind of person who dislikes hot nuts? Do I look like the kind of person who would turn up her nose and wave away hot nuts? No, I don't.
I look like the kind of person who would welcome said nuts with open arms and an open mouth. I would love them gently but with passion. I would take them in my fingers and lovingly place them into my mouth where I would crush them with the delicate precision only incisors are truly capable of. Then I would send them sailing down my esophagus where they would enjoy the company of their fellows who had gone before them. Yes, I have great plans for my future nuts and I'm ready and willing to put them into action. You hear me flight crew?? Action.
Of course that's not the end of it. Our safe, happy place was soiled again within minutes. he came out onto the patio doing his best red carpet paris hilton bimbo face. He looked around for a minute and spotted what I assume he was looking for: the only two gay men in the bar who hadn't run away from him. He sashayed up the them swinging his one ball and flirted for a minute or two. One of the men actually gave him a hug and the other one fiddled with his hair. Gerald found it important to note that these men were not unattractive. Not attractive either, but that's not the point. So while our scary friend was flirting he reached back and began fiddling with the string that ran up his ass and I guess kept all of his business where he wanted it. At some point while we were gaping and gagging over this his two little friends went away and he was left alone, pulling and itching. THen he walked back inside. Fine, thank god, we're safe again. Well, everyone but Gerald, who had to pee. Gerald walked into the bathroom and who do you think is taking a massive shit in the first stall with no door? You guessed it. Apparently while Gerald was at the other far end of the bathroom having his pee the door opened and shut many times with people too afraid to enter the restroom. Smart men, but poor gerald didn't have the choice, he had waited too long. Of course he was traumatized and there was much comforting upon his return.
No segway here just jumping off the deep end because here is where is gets strangely sad (like it wasn't already, right?). Some of our number were playing pool, once we realized there was really no escaping we gave in and went inside figuring that we might as well enjoy ourselves and not let certain atrocities ruin our evening. Meg, having lost the table in a valiant effort with sam was half sitting, half leaning on my lap. I turned to kiss her and there he was! Not a foot away from us, loitering, lascivious, loquacious (okay, I just wanted a third "L" word). I buried my face into her shoulder and willed him away. evidently it worked because when I resurfaced he was gone. Sam was now in his place giggling like a maniac. "Awe man, that was so sad, he just slunk over here and grabbed a cupcake and took off with his head down." I should note that there was a birthday party and there were cupcakes. At that point we all kind of started voicing what, I'm sure, had been in all of our heads. What was this guy's story? Had he screwed up his bar nights and accidently happened upon a bar full of lesbians instead of the leather bounds bears who normally inhabit the place and was just really confused? Or was he some exhibitionist who really just enjoined the horror and glaring eyes of the masses? Or was he just some crazy lonely guy who needed somewhere to go and was hoping to find a friend? I guess we'll never know and I really hope we never have to wonder those things again.
Sidebar, we did try to figure out what his fetish might have been but came up empty, one day you'll have the opportunity to see it for yourself and make your own assessments.