Ah, smells. Good or bad, they’re my undoing.
My keen sense of smell proved particularly troublesome when it came to online dating. Not only did potential partners have to fulfill a laundry list of non-negotiables—wittiness, kindness, intelligence, attractiveness, earth and animal-friendliness, to name a few—they also had to smell good.
Thoughtful profiles didn’t do the trick; someone needed to invent a scratch ‘n’ sniff app just for me. No wonder I failed miserably at online dating.
Fortunately for me, I knew my current partner IRL (in real life), smells and all, before we became romantically involved.
When we first met many years ago, we were enmeshed in lives that included kids and spouses. Back then, he smelled of scented dryer sheets and coffee overload. I suspect I emanated cheap soap and stale French fries. No sparks flew, which is probably a good thing, since they might have ignited the French fry grease on my fingers.
Both of us were settled into conventional suburban family lives, and we reeked of obvious domestication.
As time passed, we’d bump into each other here and there, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter years later that my perception of him shifted.
By then he and I were both uncoupled. His change in status was heralded by his new scent: fresh and chemical-free. And possibly because he’d hopped out of a car on a sweltering summer day to greet me, he also smelled of sun-warmed skin with a tantalizing hint of delicious smoky promise.
Just one whiff, and this scent-starved single woman was suddenly drenched in the perfume of lust and longing.
In those early heady days, my hungry nose catapulted me into overdrive. I couldn’t soak up enough of my new partner’s deliciously intoxicating smells. Separated by 600 miles, I decimated his laundry basket by “borrowing” more than a few of his worn shirts to console me through our long weeks apart.
But three years have passed since those early pheromone-soaked days. We’ve become just a little too comfortable—even complacent—and we’re too often overrun with family and work obligations to get together as often or as seductively as we’d like. We’ve longed to re-connect.
So a few months ago, we ditched our grown-up responsibilities and booked a romantic getaway on the West Coast. Our cozy room, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, proved the perfect setting for re-igniting our flame. We walked along the beach, laughed, played, made love, and simply reveled in each other, becoming, once again, the passionate lovers of three years past.
After one particularly wild and energetic afternoon, I lay drowsing in bed while my partner headed to the bathroom.
Suddenly a tubby, long, low blurrrrph escaped from the bathroom’s open door. Moments later, a noxious gaseous odor filled the small room. It seemed to hang directly over my head, insulting every fiber of my sensitive olfactory system.
Yes, my beloved had farted a mighty fart, the kind that frightens small children and attracts amorous skunks.
So much for romance.
My partner ran out of the bathroom exaggeratedly waving away the gas cloud as I pointedly held my nose. He flung the window open, but alas, there was nary a hint of a breeze to carry the fumes away. We were alternately howling with laughter and gasping for air as he crawled into bed with me.
Despite the lingering toxic odor enveloping my partner, I wrapped my arms around him lovingly and pulled him close.
That’s when I knew we’d crossed the line from complacent to commitment.
Let the rest of the world breathe in the honeyed fragrance of blossoming romance.
For us, true love is a gas.
Author: Melinda J. Matthews
Image: Courtesy of Mark N. Taylor
Editor: Catherine Monkman