Smells. Noses. Nose Hair. Big noses. Peculiar things. Smells like teen spirit. Cue 90’s grunge riff. No, this is not a post about nirvana or Cobain. It’s about smells. The good. The bad. The ugly.
Like any of the senses, the sense of smell can elicit many a memory.
The above picture is a collection of some of the colognes I own. You could say I like smelling nice. My most recent re-addition was the Tommy. Love it. I was first introduced to Tommy by some rich kid on sailing camp back in ’97 or ’98. I can’t exactly remember when. But I do remember this. From that time on, I swore I’d never wear anything from a can again. It was one of the most amazing things to ever happen to my teenage, un-muscular, gangly self-esteem. It helped me almost get my first kiss (it wasn’t my amazing 16 year old personality or confidence that almost got me over the line!). That smell reminds me of the freedom of youth. Of awkwardness. Of first lust. Of spending $55 on 50mls of pure sophistication.
It was a smell that even got me thinking about this post. Not a pleasant smell, but a homely one. I was sitting outside in the hot Queensland sun, tanning myself, sweating. It reminded me of one of the most humble, hardworking people I know. I can close my eyes and just remember his smell. Sweat, car oil, coconut oil and Solvol soap. A masculine mixture of love. Yes, it reminds me of my Opop – my grandad. It was that smell that was in stark contrast to his last days – the last times I saw him. Hooked up to clinical machines in a hospital, then at a viewing. That rough, dirty, loving, sweaty smell had been replaced by the cool, businesslike smells of hospital and morgue. How can smalls change so quickly, so dramatically?
Mangroves have their own, pungent aroma. It has something to do with gas from rotting leaves mixing with the water and mangrove roots that give rise to that disgusting smell. No wonder mud crabs are always so cranky – they have to smell that God-aweful smell 24/7. But the mangroves for me have a different meaning. Every year, I used to go on holidays with my family, my grandparents, my uncle and aunty and cousins to my grandparents holiday house. At the bottom of their garden sat a tidal mangrove beach. Let me tell you, countless hours – days even were spent hunting soldier and mud crabs through those mangroves, under rocks, in the shallows. Now every time I smell those stinky mangrove odours – I think not of my burning nostrils but many a sweet summer spent with my siblings and cousins ‘at the bottom of the garden’, playing in the mangroves!
I’m interested – what smells remind you of what? Don’t be shy. I want to hear about funny ‘cupcake’ stories. First perfumes of colognes. Baby poo. The good. The bad. The Ugly.