Her face quickly morphed from perplexed to amused, to a contorted smile. I watched the corners of her lips turn quickly upward forming a grin, followed by outright laughter. All of these micro-facial movements, in just a matter of seconds.
"You're hilarious," she said.
I leaned in toward her, both elbows on the table holding my position, like a sailor eating a square meal. "I am serious," I said, "there's something about that smell." I couldn't get the smell out of my nostrils. For some reason, it called to me.
She said, "You don't even smoke."
"I know, that's the crazy thing. But..." I trailed off.
It got me thinking about how certain smells trigger memories and thoughts, of certain people who have come into and out of our lives. And about how even a non-smoker like myself, could still crave the smell of American Spirits and sweat. Really, just a nice way of saying cigarettes and body odor.
According to research, my very primal reaction to that particular combination of scents, probably has something to do with pheromones.
Ever smell the sweaty t-shirt of a family member, and get totally repulsed by the odor?
That's pheromones at play. Much in the same way, pheromones can have the opposite effect, attracting us to romantic partners.
But what happens when a long-term or short-term relationship ends? Does that scent ever really leave us? My guess is that it does not. Perhaps, never will.
I mean, do you really want to give up having positive memories connected to a particular person and his or her scent?
When I was in college, an old boyfriend gave me a t-shirt to keep, after the relationship ended. I remember not wanting to wash it, just one more inhale, one more memory.
But it wasn't long before the shirt lost its draw, and those pheromones dissipated and disappeared into my nostrils one last time, before the washing machine won the tug-o-war.
So men of the world, here is my battle-cry: "Hark! Bring-eth on the American Spirits and sweat, and raise your swords." Alas, you might have a fighting chance.