I didn’t like fizzy floral scents on my girlfriends. I was not interested if it smelled like someone had spilled a horn of plenty on the deck. And likewise, I resisted attempts to have me wear elaborate, supposedly “male” odors as an aftershave. Concoctions given in recognizance of a birthday or Christmas that had too much reek were politely tried once and then consigned to a shelf of similar products. If asked, I politely mentioned that I did not tell them what to put on their body, and they could not likewise tell me what aftershave to use.
But truth be known, spending too much intimate time breathing in what I did not like acted as an impediment to long-term relationships. And I can’t blame them if they resented the variety of Bay Rum ( eight varieties on my shelf at last count; worn in rotation) I was wearing. I assume this is a sort of mate selection via odor.
So many a relationship died on the way to intimacy on the obstacle of scent. I think this is more common than the literature reports. Perhaps a Ph.D. thesis project?
If we made it through the initial stages of getting to know each other: finding each other engaging, fun to be with in casual situations, scent appropriate, and romantically and sexually alluring, there were more significant hurdles—the family.
No, I don’t mean mother and father. That came later. I mean the very large, grey tomcat that lived with me.
His name was Clancy J. Bümps, AKA the Grey Menace. I found early on that warning a young lady did no good. If she walked in and did a baby talk, “ohhhhh, aren’t you a pretty kitty!” He’d probably wander off and ignore her. So he wrote those off right away—no need for further action on his part. But if she ignored him, or worse, slyly mentioned that he seemed a bit overweight, he’d take offense immediately. Revenge could come at any time after he figured out whether a stalk or an outright attack was the preferred means of expelling the young woman before she could corrupt his father.
After he sorted potential mates one or two times, it became a litmus test for more serious dating. After all, the Grey Menace was staying no matter what; suggestions that he go were cause for an automatic rupture in the relationship.
I began to rely on the cat’s sense of correctness after ignoring it once or twice and regretting the relationships as they developed.
The Gray Menace had his scent preferences as well. Tea rose and Patchouli and 0pium, he loved. Fizzy florals he despised.Funny how our tastes were similar.
All these years later, I realized that Victor Hugo was right,
“Nothing awakens a reminiscence like an odor.” Fizzy florals remind me of quickly passing summer squalls – they didn’t persist. Tearose immediately recalls an excruciating but dear relationship, Opium of a seductive beautiful young woman I almost connected with, and Patchouli of my wife who no longer uses it but whose scent magic is still alluring. The Menace would approve.