Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eau de life

I was in a queue yesterday and the woman in front was trying to kill me. She didn't know it, of course, she looked fairly nice, but her liberal use of personal stink juice overwhelmed my senses and brought on a coughing fit that a TB sufferer would have been proud of.

I have a catlike slavery to my nose and could probably follow a nice smell for a couple of miles but a bad one is enough to put me off something for life. I suspect most people are the same and like me find that the over use of any perfume/aftershave hides the essence of the real person underneath. I feel cheated.

In our bottle of personal smell we carry around a gentle concoction of the lives we lead, the food we eat and the regular products that we use. At the base of this is our very own parfum, mixed in our own skin and as individual as a fingerprint. As the eyes take a photograph so the nose seeks out the essence and decides whether the smell is attractive or repulsive (or somewhere in between).
I have found over the years that I must be able to store a thousand smells and each can bring back a memory - my dads starched, soapy collar, my grandmothers floury, cigarette smokey apron and the smell of my children moments after they were born. This sense of memory is so powerful that one dip into my mums powder box can transport me back to her bedroom in the late sixties.

So. Give me your smell, your personal pong, the essence that makes you you. By all means wear something that enhances it, subtly, but leave me with a sense of you and the life that you carry around with you. Nothing is more powerful than the effect of warm, clean skin so please stop hiding it under those nauseating, malodourous man-made scents that nearly kill off the sense of smell in one ghastly sniff.


31 comments:

Debi said...

You might not say this if you'd unpacked LG's rucksack after his recent week spent on a farm.

It wasn't the smell of the animals that worried me, but the carefully folded pristine underpants and socks that he assured me he HAD worn and refolded to factory perfection.

Yeah. Right.

fatboysblogg said...
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girl with the mask said...

The Boyfriend's smell is divine. All clean and... and MANLY. Mmmmmm.

Minx said...

Little Guy is obviously telling the truth, Debi, how could you think otherwise?

Umm, I like cigars, FB.

Clean and manly is all you need, GWTM - nothing worse than a man drenched in He-man juice. Cough, cough, cough....

fatboysblogg said...
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john.g. said...

WILD STALLION aftershave...smells of horses, perfect at Royal Ascot!!

Minx said...

I smoke 'em, FB, preferably ones that have been rolled on the thighs of Johnny Depp.

John G, I am swooning!

Nothingman said...

knew a girl once, she smelled brown, like wet earth after rain...

:)

N

soubriquet said...

So true, Minx.
One evening, a couple of weeks ago, in the pub, our quiet table of contemplation, discussion, argument, and friendship was beset by a (probably) expensive pong. One of our number, known for his olfactory intolerance, (he regularly berates the staff for spraying tables with assorted cleaning confections which assault the nostrils), got up, nosed his way into the crowd, targeted a starch-shirted self-important toff, and asked him, out of consideration to the assembled many, to retire outside, where his aftershave or spray-on armpit treatment (ball or aerosol?) would at least be ameliorated by the redolent pungencies of Nigel's muckspreader, parked behind the farm shop.

A round of applause was due. Group of starch-suiters huffed a bit and fled to the far end of the pub.

fatboysblogg said...
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Minx said...

Mmm, love that smell, Nothingman, not sure how I would feel if it was wafting about my house though.
Favourite smell? Hmmm...clean sheets, newly washed hair, a salty breeze and sun on the skin.

Soub, I would have kissed him - bravo that man. I would imagine that if you pay £100 an ounce then you feel that you should share it with the whole world.
I had to teach the Feckers that 'less is more' as far a deodourant is concerned (ball or arsehole?) - the stuff was eating their t-shirts!

leslie said...

Sheets and towels dried on the clothesline in the sun, coffee, garlic, and some Chanel.
You'd know me anywhere...

The fragrance of tomato plants, marigolds and cigar smoke conjure my Grandfather.

Sawdust conjures my father.

Roberta said...

I appeal to my grandfather's scent. Old Spice and corn.

I adore the smell of babies. Lathered in lotion and freshly washed.

A pipe, or and old sweet cigar...bring me back to another grandfather. Husband does bring on the memories at times.

A freshly mown lawn leaves me in tears.

Roberta said...

Perhaps scent is what configures us all?

Minx said...

I probably would, Leslie, now tell me what the desert smells like.

I think you are right, Roberta, smells certainly do conjure up memories of people or events, good or bad. I can't bear the smell of candyfloss and burgers - brings back the time I was sick at the fair!

leslie said...

The desert...
smoke from the fire on the mountain, wet dust from the rain in the distance.
At midday, not so much a smell, as a sound and feel. It buzzes from heat. It lies on you with a white light that will gladly kill you. It hurts. It makes you breathe in cautious tests, with mouth open, so you don't burn your nostrils.
When it rains, and it is pretending to today, you can smell it from a hundred miles away.
"I smell rain", I say, with my nose lifted like a dog.
Sage and creosote and desert dust, dampened.
(How's that?)

Hoodie said...

I love the smell of sunscreen. It always means good times with good people.

Had a boyfriend once who had the greatest smell. clean and sweet, but he only wore a mild deoderant. I used to smell his shirt while he was away. I've been married to a different man (whom I absolutely adore) for years, but I can still remember how that other boy smelled.

fatboysblogg said...
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c.s. said...

me no perfume...me shower clean...me nice body aroma...

Minx said...

Leslie, that's fabulous, conjured the desert perfectly.

It appears the scent memory is very strong, Hoodie, we don't seem to forget a good quality skin!

A real mix there, FB.

And I'm sure you do smell lovely, CS, nice to see you!

handmaiden said...

Smells I don't like...people who smell like, cheap perfume, day old sweat, cigarettes, or french fries. I don't mind people who smell like, farm animals, sawdust, soap & clean laundry.

Some perfume is so horrible it literally gives me a headache & makes me sick to my stomach. I wonder how this stuff ever passes inspection?

Jefferson Davis said...

The nose knows all.. Every time I put on a cup of Earl Grey, I'm instantly transported to my nanna's kitchen where she'd tell me stories about the first horseless carriage she ever saw. Whenever I walk into a pub where Guinness is being poured, I recall some very good times!

In quite a few cultures, a person is considered dodgy, if he or she shrouds their scent with man made odours.

Great post as always, Minx. Sorry for not commenting in such a long time. In two months I'll be leaving 'Merka for a very long time. I'll be right across the Irish sea. :)

That's So Pants said...

Hi Minxie

i doubt I'll ever feel the same about Miss Dior again.

xxx

Pants

mutleythedog said...

I mostly smell of egg sandwiches, vest curry and farts..

When take my monthly shower I smell of aldi disinfectant..but you know that as you 'hosed me down' last week!

Minx said...

Total agreement, HM, especially chippy (fries) smells. People who wear too much perfume should be hung, slowly.

Jefferson (nice to see you as well), I am amazed that our memories of our grandparents are so tied in with the smells we associate with them and vice versa.
Good news about Ireland, a long time coming, I think!

I'm sure Eau de Pants is preferable, Miss Pants!

And you loved it, Muts. Next week I shall be getting to those important little places with carbolic soap!

handmaiden said...

"chippy" smells. Ha! I like that. I will try that one out as I pass the local fast food joint,

"My goodness, THAT smells CHIPPY!"

"Jesus H Christ! That is one fucking CHIPPY smell coming out of there!

Jesus CHIPPY Fuck! That stinks!

Jesus Fucking CHIPPY Christ!

Oh, the possibilities...

Roberta said...

Does Eau de Aspercream count? I've gone and hurt my self.

Minx said...

I am sure you smell beautiful, Roberta, no matter what foreign sounding cream you put on - hope your injury clears up soon.

Kate said...

Chanel No.5, Babies after they have been bathed and dusted with Johnson's Baby Powder. My husband after his aroma-less soap bath. Oh and the smell of tar on a hot summer day when it is starting to melt. (brings back memories of summers of being a child - while playing outside - carefree).

Minx said...

Hot tar, mmmmmmm.......

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You figured out how to bottle Minx?

So start selling it, you'll make a gazillion pounds.

Love the bottle, it's very you.

And... yes, the smell of people's essence is something very powerful.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore