If ever I have been so deceived as to think that I am not an animal, at least one part of me constantly belies that notion, my nose.
Walking into the coffee house by the yoga studio, I was overtaken by longing for my last real (by that I mean an agreed upon exclusivity) boyfriend, Christopher. This soft-eyed yet strapping Luso-Italian (via Argentina), who was born and raised in Yonkers, hated the winsome dark chocolate curls that crowned his bonny head. It seemed he always fought the very quality which drew me in - the light brushstroke of epicene charm drawn on his form.
This morning I smelled him in that coffee shop. Though I have been "over" the break-up for some time now, it was remarkable how much memory and emotion came rolling back. It's said that scent is the strongest trigger of memory. It's also a vast indicator of what happens now, it's just that I'm not always smart enough to know what I'm smelling.
My current step-father is cursed with an extraordinary olfactory sense. He should have been a sommelier or a perfumer, then I would say he was blessed. But, as it is, he suffers from what seems to others the slightest malodor. His ability to pick up on pheremones is quite impressive as well. He says that while married to his promiscuous first wife, he could not only easily discern when she had been unfaithful, but also when she was intending to be. The aroma of her body changed when she was ready to hunt.
I would describe myself as someone with an informed palate. Since taste and scent are intrinsically linked, I imagine my sense of smell is pretty good, also. But I've no claim to a conscious understanding of human sexual chemistry. I can sometimes smell the onset of sickness in another person, particularly one close to me. Certainly, I am aware of the crucial role the aroma of a lover can play in the longevity of desire. I don't like it when men mask their natural scent, particularly not when it's heavy handed. I have lost all attraction to otherwise decent men because they just didn't smell right, and once I get this notion, I can scarcely think of anything else when they draw too near. Maybe this simply becomes a fixation point, when the reason for separation is more complex.
The opposite is also true. I have been so attracted to a man based on his natural perfume, that I overlooked the red flags. Sense of smell might be an overwhelming allure for certain people with whom we intersect. Case in point, the Audio Guy from the last television show I worked on. First meeting he was solicitous of me, which never hurts. I don't balk much at the attention of a desirable male, though there aren't many who fall into that category. Except when I do, which is when I am stricken with a streak of crippling modesty. It usually means I really like the person, but am intimidated.
Anyway, the Audio Guy was dark haired and light-eyed, which is my favorite, though not exclusive, combination. He was also blessed with that sexy little space between his two front teeth, a diastema. Not too wide, just a little slit. Why that makes me want to take my clothes off is beyond me, but there it is. The mere presence of this fellow would literally cause me to swoon; I can only assume it was pheremones. The second time I encountered him, I was walking through the office. I saw him, he smiled, I smiled back. I rounded the corner, and had to sit down, because I thought I might pass out. What the hell is that? That's some kind of voodoo magic. It's completely unnerving.