Sunday, March 21, 2010


On Friday night I went to a friend's house for an evening of food, drink and board games. Totally my kind of night.

As tends to happen while playing games the topics of conversation were varied and plentiful. Also totally my kind of night. You just never know what might come up.

One of the things we talked about was how big a role smell takes in attraction. As in if you don't like how the other person smells no matter how incredibly perfect they may appear to be for you chances are the attraction just won't be there. And by attraction I do mean physical attraction and compatibility long term.

And damn if that hasn't proved to be true for me. Historically speaking that is since I'm still very much single.

My first girlfriend wore Liz Claiborne perfume. The smell of that perfume can still make me stop in my tracks even now, over a decade later. I'll stop and look around to see if it's her I smell. It never is (thank god! That was a messed up relationship to say the least but my brain will never forget that smell and all the things associated with it).

The funny thing for me looking back is how many times I can remember Ms. Ex telling me she thought I smelled badly. You know, after coming inside from walking the dogs. Or having worked in the yard. Mostly when I'd get sweaty. I can still hear the tone of her voice and see the way her nose would turn up, her lips curl, as she said "god, you stink!" or "ugh, you smell like outside, nasty." If this was a one time thing, or even something that happened on occasion it probably wouldn't be written so indelibly into my memory. But it happened all the freaking time. A match made in heaven we were not.

Then there was FMHW. She smelled great. And she told me I smelled great no matter how sweaty I might have been. Apparently, based on the smell theory, we were very compatible (god knows the attraction was there; my god was the attraction there; on a related note? It's been a very long time. I'll leave it at that.). Too bad we weren't able to spend longer finding out just how compatible we might have been. There are still times when I think I should send her an e-mail and see what happens. But I never do.

And most recently I realized (after looking back on things of course, 20/20 hindsight and all that) that the woman I most recently went on some dates with (four! A new record!) wasn't attractive to me. No matter how great she was. And she is. Great that is. Her head is together. She has a great career path. She's pretty and funny and easy to talk to. She's smart and kind and responsible and lots of other wonderful adjectives. But there was no attraction for me. And now I wonder how much of that might have to do with smell. I'm sure smell isn't all of it, but maybe it is some of it.

Of course on my next date (potentially tomorrow, but no confirmation yet) on top of all the other things that run through my mind upon first meeting someone will be the "do I think she smells good?" question. And really, how do you subtly smell someone? Because asking would be a tad awkward. "Hey, so nice to meet you. Can I just smell you real quick before we sit down?" Yeah, I don't think so. But you can damn well bet I'm going to be taking deep deep breaths (subtly of course) to see if I can smell her across the table as we talk.

For this post the lyrics come from a song that will always remind me of Maine, Far Away by Ingrid Michaelson. I do love a good Ingrid song and this one really fits with the theme of the post. Without further ado:

I will live my life as a lobsterman's wife on an island in the blue bay.
He will take care of me, he will smell like the sea,
and close to my heart he'll always stay.

I will bear three girls all with strawberry curls, little Ella and
Nelly and Faye.
While I'm combing their hair, I will catch his warm stare
On our island in the blue bay.

Far away far away, I want to go far away.
To a new life on a new shore line.
Where the water is blue and the people are new.
To another island, in another life.

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