Why I Don’t Get Out Much


I can think of absolutely nothing funny with which to caption this borrowed image. Nothing. Now I am very sad. And it all started with a post about humor. How ironic.


My sister made me go to Lotion and Smelly Stuff Works a couple of weeks ago. I never go in there, having lost hope that there is any fragrance in the world that will make me smell good. It’s too depressing. Seriously. There’s something about my body-chemistry that breaks down even the classiest perfume and leaves me smelling like a middle-aged streetwalker. And if you are a regular reader, you know how hard I am avoiding anything to do with middle age. But she had a coupon, and I will never, ever stand between a girl and her coupon. Against my better judgment, I went.

The saddest part about walking into the store is everything smells good. I know that sounds like a good thing, but it’s not. I end up frustrated and confused. I can go into a music store to buy a CD. Even if I don’t know the name of, if I can hum a few bars of the hottest track, I at least stand a chance of leaving with what I wanted. If I walk up to a sales-clerk in Lotion and Smelly Stuff Works and say “I want to buy that smell,” a frustrating conversation ensues.

“What smell?”

“The one that reminds me of my second grade teacher. Not my first grade teacher. She smelled like beer.”

“Um, can you be more specific?”

“Guiness, I think, although I do recall seeing her at the 7-11 buying Budweiser.”

“No, your second grade teacher. Er, I mean can you describe the fragrance you are looking for?”

“I smell it right now. It’s like soap. And maybe some fruit.”

“Fruit? We have 42 different fruity fragrances.  Um, we have Pear Passion? Is it this one? No? There is also Citrus Circus. You might like that one. It smells kind of like those giant orange marshmallow peanuts. We also have Apple Anarchy. It’s saucy…”

“No! Not those. I want THAT smell. The really loud smell.” And you know what I’m talking about. There’s always one aroma that stands out over all the rest but is impossible to identify. In frustration, I must break off the conversation and set off on my own, hoping I can find it by its name.

The store is a confusing array of colors and shiny things. They’ve got their smells arranged by mood, I think. There’s an entire section labeled “Sexy.” But their signature fragrance in that department has something to do with pomegranates, a fruit both adored and renamed in my household. I’m not sure a spritz of “moose apple candy” would get anyone in the mood for anything except a “Rocky and Bullwinkle” marathon. I move on.

Maybe looking by name isn’t going to help me. Perhaps one shops for fragrances by actually smelling them? I’m asking. I don’t actually know. Here’s how it goes for me:

1) Locate promising bottle of lotion.

2) Remove tester from shelf.

3) Carefully open tester and raise to nose.

4) Accidentally apply too much pressure to tube and squirt lotion up nose.

5) Lose ability to smell anything besides Twilight Vampire for three hours. Game over.

At this point, you could shove a decaying skunk up my left nostril, and I’d never know. I slink out of the store in defeat. My sister finds me an hour later with my head in the mall wishing fountain. Guess what my wish is?

The good news, though, is that my sister did get to redeem her coupon. There’s always a silver lining, you know.


42 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Get Out Much

  1. I can relate. I’m a bit gunshy when sniffing bottles of lotion. I have squirted plenty into my nose in the past. Now I approach sniffing things like I somehow expect whatever it is to come to life and attack.

  2. I have been on a quest for a certain scent for about 5 years now, ever since the scent was discontinued. It was the only thing that actually smelled nice on me, ever. I’ve been trying to deconstruct it so I can reconstruct it on my own. Definitely lavender, but maybe also some white musk? Maybe if I can get the essential oils, I can recreate it myself. Hope springs eternal.

  3. I recall too many Christmas shopping trips for my sisters or mom where I ended up in this place. I, like you, carried out the pick-it-up-and-smell-it technique for finding the right one. I’m wondering if who ever labeled these things maybe focused on accuracy as opposed to coming up with a neat alliteration we might be able to locate our buy a bit easier! 🙂

  4. This reminds me of my trip to the Yankee Candle Village. There is a reason that was a once-in-a-lifetime visit.

    I have one perfume. It smells perfect–soft and subtle. I never remember to put it on, so I’ll never run out. Even when it is discontinued! 🙂

  5. One of the bonuses of having really really sensitive skin is that I can’t get sucked into going to these types of shops. “Nope, can’t wear it, DO YOU WANT ME TO BREAK OUT?!”

  6. So, I propose the fragrance makers have to submit an MSDS and full list of ingredients so we actually know what in the world we smell like, cannot stand and are allergic to, so we can dispense with the streetwalker scents, floral nose-bombs and spicy disasters which just smell like science lab on acid.

    Then, the only thing left to improve is a per user maximum number of squirts available. It could work like the time release safe at the convenience store. Two squirts…hafta wait ’til tomorrow for some more. No more green clouds following the moron who believes MORE of a good thing is necessarily better.

    And next time, rub your nose with a little lemon juice. Smell eradicator extraordinaire!

  7. We should come with labels at birth…you know,so when our parents take us home, on the bottom left hand corner of our birth certificate it would say, “citrus vanilla blueberry musk” or “passion fruit, cedar, coffee” so we wouldn’t ruin our smellers or walk around like middle-age street walkers from too many spritzers of smells in the Smelly Lotion Store.

  8. My sister is dangerously addicted to Bath and Body Works or anything of the like. I cannot go to the mall with her without being dragged into a store for hours that overwhelms my senses to the point of no longer being able to distinguish a single individual scent or if I am even smelling anything at all, in fact I can usually TASTE all the fragrances mixing together in the air. But there is something strangely intoxicating about the whole experience, it’s no wonder we keep going back. 🙂 Great post!

  9. I somehow seem to accumulate large amounts of those lotions and body sprays, and rarely ever like one enough to finish it to the end of the bottle. Did you know that they go bad after a certain amount of time? While packing for my last move, I found a six year old bottle of vanilla-something-or-other under my bathroom sink and it was kind of decomposing inside the bottle and no longer smelled quite like vanilla….scary.

    • I think old body lotions are used in creating zombies.

      My mother keeps getting these “buy two, get a whole-ton-a-bunch free” coupons. She cleaned out her linen closet and discovered 24 unused bottles.

  10. e-music (the subscription service). Just saying. Much better than buying CD’s, though I do that too. e-music let’s you dip a toe into the warm waters of new music without having to get completely wet. Or something.

    I’m not sure there’s an e-music for smelly things….hmmm….sounds like a business opportunity 🙂

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