Saturday, April 01, 2006


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.

You boys.


srchngformystry said...

kissyface, you are so prolific. and sensual. this is my favorite post of yours so far.

Billy D said...

Sorry. I didn't know we worked in the same office. I'll turn "it" down.

srchngformystry said...

actually, kissyface, cbs page led me to yours.

and billy, i dont think its you. i think its the idiot who works in the administrative office at this school.

whosyourhuckleberry said...

Ah yes, the olfactory curse.
I have what the Woman describes as 'hypersmell." Its weird. I can smell things VERY far away. I can't even walk within 100 paces of Bath & Body works without my senses being assaulted in a most curious way.
Funny you link taste and smell. For me, my sight and smell are linked, as in if I can see something, I automatically smell it, and many times, vice versa.
I will have to do a post on this subject, I think.

kissyface said...

I can't walk through the detergent aisle at the grocery store without sneezing; it's too much. How do you experience Bath & Body Works? Too many synthetics there for me. Plus malls are generally a source of trauma. But the farmer's market always smells amazing to me, all those fresh fruits and veggies, you feel healthier just walking by it.

It's a point of physiology, I do believe, that taste and smell are intrinsically tied. If you lose your sense of smell, a not uncommon side effect of a serious blow to the head, as I understand it, your palate dims.

If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend you add to your book pile Diane Ackerman's, A Natural History of the Senses. It's one of those interdisciplinary works I love - cultural history, science, touch of memoir, anecdotal, the stuff of essayists.

But the sight and smell link is interesting. As you've described it, it seems memory linked mostly, but are you at all synesthetic? Definitely do a post on this topic, I'd like to read it.

whosyourhuckleberry said...

That book sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up on it.
I'll do a post on this, surely.
I'm certain some of it is memory linked, as its always an image that pops into my head that is very similar to whats going on.
Stay tuned...