To smell or not to smell

noseEarlier this week I was sitting in my car enjoying life. There was a smell assaulting my nostrils. Hmmm….maybe a food smell. Yes, a food smell gone stale. Like French fries or hamburgers. Like from three weeks ago. Where was that coming from? I wasn’t passing any food places.

Dang! It’s me. More precisely, it’s my coat.

We had been in a local bistro the week before. (It always sounds better when you call them bistros!) It’s a nice place with real cloth window treatments and wallpaper on the walls. Clean, good food, everything you want in a restaurant. That is except for one thing. When you leave you take a piece of it with you.

The odor of cooking fats is in your clothes, your hair and yes, your coat. Every time we go there I wonder why we don’t go more often. The answer is that we need a complete cleaning afterward. Just hose us down in the back yard.

As a person over 40 (hey, did I hear some snickering there?) I am very conscious of smells. Old people smell. Yes they do. I’ve blogged about it before. If you missed this pithy piece, here it is. The bottom line is that I am intent on not getting “old people smell.”

When I was young I worked at a place where the coats hung on a common rack. The men’s coats reeked of grease, smoke and body odor (that was back in the smoking days). The women’s coats smelled of old perfume and soft body odor from wearing wool coats for 10 years without getting them cleaned.

I would keep my coat segregated so it didn’t get contaminated. I like to think my coat smelled of good times, shopping excursions, new shoes, FRESH perfume and all things wonderful.

Eventually I had my own office and kept my coat there.

When I started to get very hot moments (did I hear more snickering?) I switched over to washable coats. You can get very nice coats that are washable.

I worry about cat smells too – almost to the point of being neurotic about it. It hasn’t stopped me from accumulating cats though.

Neither has cooking smells stopped me from eating. I am going to a Chinese restaurant tonight. They have an unusual odor. However, the odor doesn’t linger in my coat. I think.

On Thanksgiving Day my house will smell of roasting turkey and all the trimmings. That will be so welcome that day. By Friday morning I will be trying to get the smell of stale food out of the house! Candles! Exhaust fan! Plug ins! Maybe I should bake cookies?

I don’t know why some places envelop you in odor and some places don’t. I love Bath and Body shops. They smell good and I always hope that I smell good coming out of them but I’m not sure it sticks.

Someone needs to invent a smellometer so I can tell more easily if my house or clothes smell. Hmmm….Maybe that’s what my nose is for!

Clipart courtesy of via Google

34 thoughts on “To smell or not to smell

  1. This made me laugh. Had visions of you dropping yourself off at the Cleaners..same day service. I hate smells too. Oh God, and you’re right. They cling to your clothes. When I’m at the library reading, which is often, I realize with much distaste that others smell…especially if I’m sharing the couch. And I don’t have to tell you how annoyed I am…the wafting of either stale cigarettes or bacon or chicken…or bad cologne. I always move in a huff and want to say..YOU SMELL….at the library no less where if your cell rings by mistake, the whole room puts down their book to give you murderous looks.
    Washable coats…I dunno Kate…will that be the only ultimate answer? I fear smell is on the rise.


  2. Nothing smelly here. Pithy to be sure, but you’re on to something here. My sniffer is so useless I’ve talked myself into thinking it’s a good thing…until I catch a whiff of the gas station when I pull my coat off….maybe that (and hints of other places I’ve visited) is what’s generating the looks of the folks standing behind me in line at Wal-Mart. Great…thanks Kate. Another complex!


  3. My nose’s smellometer is off. It’s both good and bad. Like I can’t smell certain flowers while most people can smell them from feet away. But on the plus side I don’t smell the old people smell and most BO unless I’m sitting three inches away from it.


  4. Oh boy this is so me. As a kid, the smell of frying onions at the Hockey/curling rink was unmistakable — and it hung with you long after you got home. Now, whenever I smell that same thing, I immediately think of lacing up my skates … but I’ve learned to only buy coats that are washable.


  5. The smell of fresh baked Italian bread, or French bread, pumpkin or apple pie … I think I could live with those smells.

    At school, no one is supposed to spray perfume or men’s cologne as some are allergic. Some smells can also trigger allergies.


    • I love the baked foods smells best. Roasts and stews are good while you are cooking (and famished) but I don’t like the lingering. Back in the “old days” the old ladies I worked with always oversprayed perfume. People are much more sensitive these days.


      • A couple of teachers where I work have posted signs outside their door banning anyone who is wearing perfume. They are highly allergic, get migraines, etc. I’ve told students that perfume/cologne should be applied subtly. You should not be able to smell it before you enter the wing of a building. 🙂


  6. I hate bath and body shops! Almost everything they sell sounds like something to eat, purely peach, pumpkin pie, etc. Who wants to walk around smelling like food (woops, isn’t this where we began?).


  7. This post makes me long for the days of bundling up in Dry Clean Only coats to go out to eat in restaurants that send home a doggie bag of odors home with us. NOT.

    Here, when we eat out, we often are sitting outside with no aromas being absorbed into our outer wear because out outer wear is t-shirts!

    Of course, when we pick up pizza . . . the aromas linger in the car the next. But that’s a good smell. :mrgreen:


  8. And certain house inhabitants complain when I open the windows all the time. (we get fresh air off the gulf most of the time – I do notice wind direction) Put on a sweatshirt if you’re cold – animals, cooking, and people….the windows will open.
    Post certainly passes the sniffy test!


    • During mild weather I do that too. I’ve been known to crack the door a little after Thanksgiving to get fresh air in (helps the exhaust work better too). It’s mostly during the winter that I really notice the smells. I know that sounds odd but the worst smells aren’t the summertime mild perspiration odors from people but all those other nasty ones combined.


  9. I’m with you, Kate, I never mix my coat with others. Besides the odors, you never know whose child might have a case of lice. 🙂 The last time I went to a Japanese steakhouse, where they cook the food at your table, it took two showers to remove the odor and the grease. I learned not to ever where suede or leather to those places.


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