Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eau de la Snowmobile Fuel

"What's that smell? sniff, sniff. It smells good, like...snowmobile fuel. sniff, sniff. Mrs. Bahlmann! It's you!"
I raised my eyebrows in surprise at the beaming young high school student.
"No, really, it smells good," he assured me. "When I'm out riding, sometimes I get behind the snowmobile in front of me just so I can breathe in the exhaust fumes."
Well, that explains it.
Perfume shopping is one of the least desirable joys of my feminine life. After high school, when I went through my fruit basket phase (Lemon Sunburst body spray, Strawberry Fields essential oil, Peach Delight perfume), I've preferred to find one scent and stick with it. In college it was "Smitty." Then it disappeared from drug store shelves. After some painful, headache-inducing forays to the perfume counter, I finally found "Scoundrel." That was a relief, until they quit making it. There was one with an Italian name that I forget, which is just as well, because they quit making it, too.
"Just go without," my non-feminine husband, Bob, suggested.
I opened my eyes wide at him. "You mean just smell like deodorant?"
He shrugged. "Yeah."
"Then I'd smell like a guy," I said, and launched my next best plan.
I took several small baggies and cotton balls to the department store. I spritzed cotton balls with sample scents and sealed them in plastic so the mixed smells wouldn't assault my poor nasal passages and make my brain ache. I wrote the perfume names on the outside of each baggy, and took my soggy little treasures home. Each day, I tried a different cotton ball behind my ears, on my wrists, and in the crooks of my elbows. Each day I asked my husband and sons if they liked how I smelled. None of them cared, until the day I dabbed on vanilla scent. "Do you like how this smells?" I asked, holding my wrist under one son's nose.
His eyes snapped open, he leaned in toward me and took a big sniff. "Wow," he said. "Are you baking cookies?"
Another son perked up. "Cookies! That's what I smell! When will they be ready, Mom?"
A chorus of "Cookies! Cookies! Where are the cookies?" filled the air.
After I'd baked a quadruple batch of cookies, and eaten far too many myself, I sorted through my perfume baggies to get rid of the vanilla flavor. That's when I noticed that most of the marker labels had rubbed off, leaving me to wonder what smell was in which baggie.
Aw, forget it. I tossed them all in the trash.
Now, without even trying, I've found myself smelling like a popular winter sport. I have six bottles of this scent stashed in my underwear drawer. Ah, well. At least it doesn't give me a headache, and there are worse things I could smell like.
Hey, how's the powder this year?

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