Friday, March 14, 2008

How's Your Sniffer?

I have always had a pretty good sense of smell. In fact, my family used to call me 'The Nose' because on one family road trip through West Texas the smell of the oilfields woke me from a sound sleep miles before anyone else in the car could smell them.

It's a gift and a curse.

Having a vivid sense of smell ensures that some memories are stored only in the 'nose' part of the brain - they don't have any other accompanying information, just a recognition of scent. I walked past a bank of blooming wax leaf lagustrum one spring day my first year in Boston and my mind flashed instantly to 'Monarch butterflies' - not because I recognized the plant, but because of the heavy smell. I'm not even sure what exactly to associate the memory of that smell with. Maybe in my very early childhood we had such a shrub in our yard and the butterflies used to flutter near it...? (My mom should be able to clear this up for me.)

But what I want to talk about today is not the memory of a smell, but the memory of a conversation about smells - and its evergreen presence in my life. That's right: smelly talk.

It all started with my friend Miss Amazing.

One of the first things I remember about meeting my friend Miss Amazing was that she was in the center of a group of people discussing the following topic:

“Gorgeous Famous Guys Who Also Look Like They Probably Smell Bad”

And now - probably due in no small part to our grass roots efforts in this arena - this topic is a national news story (follow this link).

Led by Miss Amazing about 5 years ago, consensus ruled that the following guys met the criteria:

Matthew McConaughey

Lenny Kravitz

Colin Farrell

Simon Baker

Russell Crowe

(You will notice our list coincides quite well with the version. Except that Australians are well represented on our list - it seems so obvious.)

As time has passed the list has grown to include:

Josh Holloway

Milo Ventimiglia

Owen Wilson

Woody Harrelson

Wilmer Valderrama

I’m sure you have your own suggestions for the list.

I think the common factors these guys share are as follows:

1) They don’t shave often or well.

2) They usually look sweaty

3) They often leave their shirts behind – which always suggests to me not the freedom to go shirtless but a desire to flee the shirt, flee the smelly shirt.

At any rate, Miss Amazing will probably be thrilled to know she is the friend I think of first when coming across such a news item, and that as a recurring conversational theme in my life and that of other friends too, I always give her credit for being the originator.

No, thank YOU, Miss Amazing!


Anonymous said...

I agree with the concept of celebrities who look like they could use some quality time with a shower and deodorant. What about any celebrities who look like they smell really nice? No surprise that top of my list would be Rob Lowe. (PS Monarch butterflies + waxleaf ligustrum = shrubs around your grandmother's front porch) Love, J-mom

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