Oh patchouli… that fragrant oil with the distinct scent… it’s making me gag.
Back in the 80s when I was self-proclaimed “hip” I owned a vial of patchouli oil. I would liberally baste myself in its fragrance.
With my permed hair and eternally black clothing I was convinced I was the envy of all suburbanites and urbanites. If someone turned their nose in aromatic disgust I knew instantly they were not my kind of people, not of my tribe.
As that decadent decade of synthesizers and alt music and bad hair faded into oblivion I left the patchouli in the sock drawer and got on with my life.
Every now and then I pass someone on the street or in a store or at a restaurant and a whiff of patchouli permeates my space. For a split second I’m brought back to a time and a place and the skewed memories of who I thought I was.
Not too long ago I was at the gym rigorously burning calories on the elliptical machine when a woman came along and stepped on the machine next to mine.
Whiff whiff… that aroma… whiff whiff… a sudden memory of the 80s… whiff whiff… that stench!… I felt I was about to gag.
Then I noticed beads of sweat crawling down her neck, prominent underneath her bosom, dark against her armpits, and realized that…
Patchouli + Sweat = Gag
I was forced to stop my cardio. My sense of smell was in bad-patchouli overload.
A few days later the same thing happened, but this time she was a few elliptical machines away from me. I smelled her before I saw her.
I watched people jump on the machine next to her. Their nostrils flared taking in a big whiff of the sweaty patchouli lady. They responded like one responds to a really stinky sulfuric fart or the sudden spray of a skunk. They looked around with the “it’s not me” face and quickly bolted to a machine away from the sweaty smelly patchouli lady.
Does she think she smells alluring? Does she not smell the difference of her body once she puts the oil on and after it’s mixed with her gym sweat?
Next time she jumps on the machine next time I’m gonna have to tell she stinks and hopefully she’ll move to another machine or else she’ll be on the receiving end of my projectile vomiting.
I’m so grateful I rarely sweat… especially back in the 80s.