Liver and onions. My grandmother used to make that dish on a regular basis. It is the first memory confirming my heightened sense of smell. When I came home from school and the house reeked of that disgusting concoction I would promptly (and very dramatically) rush outside to the patio to do my homework—the requisite gag reflex loudly kicking in. “That’s your weak stomach, you’ve been puking since you were a baby,” my gram would say, unruffled.
I was beginning to wonder if I was being too particular about looks. Perhaps lowering my standards was something to consider, then I got an email message from Randy. Tall, older male model handsome, and a clever writer to boot–finally a guy who grabbed me immediately and we quickly scheduled a first date.
We met in front of Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle. Randy was even better in person. He wore a beautifully tailored dress shirt, jeans, and stylish loafers that had to be Italian.
I love a man who knows his way around a shoe store.
We went inside and headed to Stone Rose Lounge for cocktails. The view of Columbus Circle from the massive windows was spectacular and I promptly ordered a martini and felt rather chic. Randy ordered a glass of wine and as the ridiculously long French name flowed effortlessly from his mouth he met my “sophisticated” requirement.
The conversation was easy–he was exactly the sort of man I was hoping to meet. My only concern was that I’d have to stop blogging about my year of online dating now that I’d met the perfect guy only two months in (I know you’d miss me).
Could it really be this simple?
Two drinks later Randy walked me home. We held hands as we strolled together and it felt natural. I imagined that passersby must be glancing at us and thinking, now there’s a pair made for each other.
He kissed me in front of my building and I felt THE feeling. The butterflies in my stomach, feels like I’m floating, can’t believe my luck sort of emotion–I couldn’t wait to see him again. We talked and sent texts over the next few days until our second date. I even told my daughters that I’d met someone special.
Date two we’d arranged to have dinner in my neighborhood. Keeping with the “he might be the one” theme I invited him to my apartment for a drink and appetizers before we made our way to the restaurant. I carefully chose the wine and several kinds of cheese. Small portions, arranged artfully on a plate with bits of freshly baked bread, some ripe berries and the tiny sesame crackers I adore. I was bringing my A-game.
Randy arrived, greeted Nigel and Kate (my dogs) and sat down on the sofa as I poured the wine–such a civilized life in the big city.
Dear God, did Nigel break wind?
Wonder Boy does that sometimes when he’s excited. A tiny gag followed, but I rallied. As I sat down next to Randy the odor intensified.
Is it the cheese? Why would I get Maytag?
Bigger gag and a slight heaving sound.
“Are you OK?” Randy asked and leaned in. I had just started to revel in the feel of his lavender cashmere sweater against my arm when it hit me like a sock to the gut.
RANDY WAS THE FUNKMEISTER.
A longtime friend of mine, Gene, could always make me laugh but never more than when he described a smelly individual. He’d say, “The funk knocked me to my knees.” Randy’s smell was a big roundhouse smack that had me recoiling.
This is what sasquatch smells like.
“Let (gag) me (urp) get (heave) the (odd choking sound) wine,” I said as I stumbled to the kitchen, stood over the sink–just in case–and took several deep breaths.
This odor did not attend the first date because there wouldn’t have been a second and before you think I was overreacting I’d like to describe the smell. It wasn’t just your average post-gym sweat. Oh no, that musky male scent is rather appealing in small doses.
THIS was the Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) character after he’d been on the island for a year, Cast Away Funk. A concentration of pungent scent so odorous that his only solution must be to leave Manhattan and seek refuge in a remote part of the country and live the rest of his life in solitude as his gift to humanity. This was Empty Subway Car At Rush Hour, Get Kicked Off A Plane, Asked To Leave A Restaurant, and Don’t You Dare Get In This Elevator–noxious odor.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I must have the flu. You’ve gotta go. HURRY.”
He sensed the urgency and quickly got up. “Poor baby. This is sudden,” Randy said as he made his way to the door. Just before he put on his jacket—the barrier—he threw his arm around me and gave me a squeeze.
I tried to twist away but there it was. Resting on my shoulder: The telltale pit—stinking, stinking, stinking.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, MY BEST CLEAVAGE SHIRT. WHY, WHY, WHHHHHYY? GET—OUT, PUTRID BEAST.
When the door shut I sprang into action. Ripped the blouse off, opened every window and Fabrezed the sofa (yeah, he had his arm on the back), then jumped in the shower, scrubbed my body and mentally constructed the “thanks, but no thanks” email message I’d be sending to Randy. I regretted not having tomato juice to douse myself with.
Once clean and bundled up (it was freezing), I gave my place the sniff test.
Eau de Randy was hanging tough. Another round of Fabreze, the shirt went down the garbage chute, and all I could do was wait but not with Randy’s essence clinging to the space. The dogs and I headed out into the crisp Manhattan evening for a lengthy walk—Kate was justifiably grossed out.
AND on that night as we strolled along for an hour, the distinct river-smell of the Hudson that normally made my nose wrinkle was magically transformed into something almost as pleasant as my favorite Creed fragrance as it wafted over my olfactory glands.
Have you had an experience like this? Make me feel better and please share in the Comments section.
”Wear perfume wherever you want to be kissed.” Coco Chanel