I walked into the hallway and the pungent scent filled me with a familiar feeling of both fear and dread. I felt panicky.. and my heart was racing as if I’d ingested far too much caffeine. I began walking more slowly.. as if to catch my breath.. confused that I suddenly felt this overwhelming anxiousness and not really being able to put my finger on it…
I have a weird thing with odour. I have a fixation about things that smell good…and conversely with things that stink. I love the smell of fresh laundry.. just in, off the line, smelling of wind and sunshine. I love boys who smell good.. I have a weird affinity for “Swiss Army” .. but enjoy most men’s colognes other than Brut and Hai Karate… but also savor the scent of warm skin and soap and water. The Glade people love me.. I am a huge purchaser of those plug ins.. I like my house to be fragrant all the time. I often will light candles, air things out, etc… I like things to smell “clean”. I hate huge florally bouquets (other than real flowers).. I prefer citrus type smells.. vanilla is good too.
I like to smell “pretty”.. I usually wear Roots Spirit, or Cool Water.. or sometimes Swiss Army for women (which a friend tells me makes me smell not just regular good, but “stripper good”) When I was younger I wore Oscar.. my tastes changed over the years and now I can’t bear to wear anything “flowery”. For a very long time I wore Vanilla oil from the Body Shop which I always received tons of compliments about. I used to say “I like to smell like things you can eat.. and tuna sandwich didn’t seem to cut it…”
“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” – Helen Keller
A certain smell can bring up a flood of memory.. influence moods, affect behaviour.. the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, an area very closely associated with memory and feelings that it’s sometimes called the “emotional brain”….because smell can call up memories and powerful reactions almost immediately. You catch a whiff of fresh baked bread or oranges or fresh cut grass.. and suddenly you’re in a different time or place for a few seconds.
There are the obvious.. pine is Christmas.. so are cinnamon/gingerbread type smells. Turkey will bring up memories of the holidays.. most smells that conjure up memories for me are food scents.. doughnuts that my Grandmother would make.. coffee.. cabbage rolls. And of course, certain perfumes immediately make me think of certain people.
A whiff of baby lotion brings back a flood of memories of my now nearly adult children.. as does the smell of playdough, baby wipes, crayons and plastic kids toys. Shalimar is reminiscent of my mom when I was younger..Magie Noir takes me back to 20 years ago and adventures with my friend Kelly.. fresh cut grass, lavendar, lilacs.. campfires.. all bring back various memories of good times. Coconut suntan lotion is the trip to Florida when I was 15… rose scented body powder reminds me of my Grandmother.. The scent of fabric softener, sunshine and sandwiches smell like a picnic to me… the odd combination of rye and minty gum makes me think of high school dances… When I smell the lake I can almost feel myself rollicking on the waves of a boat trip I took with my family years ago.. so many scents conjure up good memories.
Mind you, there are just as many smells that are awful and trigger bad memories… I’ve chosen to stick with the good ones. I don’t think I need to tell anyone about bad smells do to you.
Strangely enough, my best friend Jodi has no sense of smell due to a head injury and subsequent surgery. This has led me to be her “smelling nose person” (kind of like a seeing eye dog, but I’m human….) I help Jodi pick out perfume and anything that might have a scent. It is also my responsibility to inform her when something does not smell “right”. And to remind her to use a timer when cooking as she can’t tell when something she is cooking is burning.
I read an article recently about smells that trigger memories and comfort… among other things. It actually quoted a study that apparently proved that men’s arousal increased when exposed to the smell of baked goods. The theory is that the smell relaxes them and increases blood flow. Hmmmm. Apparently the optimum smell for male attraction is a combination of pumpkin pie and lavender… which sounds kind of odd to me. I think I’d rather stick with the Vanilla.
As for the smell that made me so anxious… a flowery, powdery but tangy deodorant smell. I finally figured out that it smelled of a deodorizer that was used at a place I used to work. A place that stressed me out to even go there… a job that was mind numbingly boring and stressful and awful. And the stench associated with that place still makes me tense up. The mind is a mysterious thing.
So’s your nose…. mmmm… I smell coffee..
Life: I smell some good things happening!
Love: Love those boys who smell good
Pants: One time, I asked my friend Jodi if my pants smell. She said they smelled fine to her. She has no sense of smell.