When I was in high school, one of my friends told me that I have a smell, that my home had a smell. They said: it's not a bad smell, and I can't explain it, it's just a smell. Another friend piped in: yeah, you're right, I've noticed that too. A year or so later, an unrelated person said essentially the same thing. This person was stoned at the time, though, and sitting in a haze of bucket-bong smoke, so I'm not so sure how well her olfactory senses were working at the time
If you've ever been a teenage girl, you'll know that this kind of non-specific statement about how one smells does not go over well. If you want to make a teenage girl paranoid and slightly obsessive, this is a great way to do it. I started sniffing things, my room, myself, checking to see if there was a smell, what it was. Was it BO? Was it something I ate? Was it my shampoo? No, no, no, my friends said, nothing like that. Was it a mould smell because sometimes there was rising damp in my room? No, ew, no.
To me, my home smelled like my mother and my younger brother (long after my sisters had moved out). He owned a pair of socks with an upwards pointing arrow and the phrase 'where farts come from' that were pretty apt. He smelled of boy armpits, unwashed socks and squished sandwiches at the bottom of a school bag. But he also smelled of clean laundry, a cold bedroom, dishwashing liquid and our non-smelly cat who slept curled up underneath his shirt, and vita-wheats and melted cheese.
My Mama made up the rest of the smells, and she smelled of make-up and face cream and warm, wet face washers and special shampoo and new leather shoes and African violets and English Breakfast tea and cold toast with lots of margarine. She also created the smell of Friday night for me, a wicked combination of Coco Chanel and take-away pizza, as she headed off into the city for work drinks.
Moving in with Lovely Husband, our home smelled of his t-shirts, which smelled like him, and I would sleep with them under my face whenever he'd be away overnight. When he spent six weeks in Denmark, the shirts started to lose their smell in the last week or so, and the house smelled more like my things, like steamy lavender oil, rosemary, lemon juice, open windows and sweaty gym shoes.
With Dear Boy in our lives, I'm fairly sure our home smelled like old milk and poo. I'm fairly sure I smelled like old milk and poo. Now he's older and not leaving milky posits all over us and the carpet, he smells like toddler. Our house smells like toddler, like soft toys and wooden blocks, like his favourite trains clenched in his fist, like wet towels and baby shampoo, like slobbery kisses and dirt.
Other than my deodorant and moisturiser and shampoo, I still don't know what I smell like. I'm not smelling much of anything as another congested cold has had me in its grips for the last week, just a week after I got rid of the last one. Our house could be smelling of anything by now and I wouldn't notice.
*This post's photos are completely unrelated to its content. These were just shots sitting on the SD card that had never made it onto Facebook or another post.