Monday, September 13, 2010

Forget How He Kisses, What About How He Smells?

Being the imaginative person that I am, the other day while I was reading, I came across a description of how the leading woman in the story took one smell of the man she was with and couldn't get enough. You read that alot right? How it was so appealing that she would take deep long breathes, taking his scent deep into her lungs. When I come to these parts in the story, along with picturing the scene, I also try to add in details using my other senses. I try drawing on past memories of smelling similar things and I have to say that I'm kinda glad that I don't have a great "smellgination" because seriously, I'd think I'd puke all over my book. Here's why:
(click on the title)

There are alot of ways that authors describe their men and with some of them I really have no problem with. I can picture myself nestling into the man I love and smelling his crisp cologne. Whether its spicy or cool (or any other way the author describes it) I can draw back on what I know and I take a deep breath with a smile on my face. I can also imagine how a man smells if he's described as smelling like the rain, the earth, fields of grass etc etc. Those are smells that I love and again I take a deep breath and smile. This brings me to the next two smells which frankly are the ones that gross me out the most and no matter how good looking and rippling muscled the guy is, my first reaction will always be to screw up my nose and start breathing through my mouth. I'm talking about when the author describes the man's smell of sweat mingling with some of scent and leather.

When I read the word sweat, I don't picture a man with a glistening body that loudly screams "I want to reach out and touch you". I think of a balding grunt of a man with sweat dripping off him by the bucket loads. I used to travel using public transport and I can't begin to tell you all the horror stories of being TRAPPED for 30-45 minutes next to a man whose body odor was so bad that I'm surprised he didn't peel the upholstery off the seats and have passengers hanging their heads out of the windows. I admit once I get past that initial "eww" factor and push those memories aside, I can realize that there are subtler male scents that I guess you could say were pretty sexy. I'm REALLY hoping it's the latter that the author is using when they describe their mighty Highlanders, who after intense sword play and mock fighting are said to approach the woman they're pursuing. There's no hints of showering so you can assume it was a matter of wiping the sweat off their faces before going onto the next task. I'm hoping it's the subtler scent of male sweat combined with the smells of day to day living in a keep because it wouldn't be as romantic for those seductive moments where passions are ignited and the woman takes one whiff and proceeds to vomit all over the guy, begging for him not to take another step towards her. So for the safety of my MANY Highlander books, which I'm totally addicted to, I'll focus on it being the latter.

My aversion to the smell of leather is actually quite funny and totally my fault. I had an incident a few months ago that has ruined any previous or future encounters with the material in the books I read. It's actually sad because if I was to hold in my hands a leather jacket and breath it in, it's a great smell and putting it on a man whose wearing some kind of mouthwatering cologne and it's pure magic. But yep, I killed that image so let me explain. One of the people I work with was selling candles and brought samples in for everyone to smell. There were so many yummy smells and I started creating a little pile of possibilities. I picked up one and saw that it was "leather" and thought to myself "ooo this is how the men in my books smell" and opened it up to take THE BIGGEST sniff I think I've ever had. I'm surprised I didn't vomit and pass out right there on my chair. It was THE MOST vile smelling thing EVER, so bad I'd rather smell a rotting skunk who'd been eating garlic and onions (add in any other smelly thing) Before my brain could even begin to register that it didn't like what I had smelled, I leaned back in and with the SECOND BIGGEST sniff ever, breathed it in again because surely I'd been mistaken the first time. Nope and with my lunch making a quick break for freedom, I politely left the group shaken and incredibly traumatized. You can see now why a man smelling of leather doesn't incite feelings of lust and attraction but of wanting to close the book and stay away from food for a few hours.

So, here's the question for you all - do you have any problems with the smells described in books? Is it something you just gloss over or do the words cause you to draw on past memories so you can experience it along with the heroine? Is there a certain smell of a man that does the opposite of turning you on and leaves you gasping for fresh, unpolluted air? Please feel free to add your comments.

6 comments:

Emily said...

OMG!!!! Toooo funny!! In my reading travels, I've noticed that a lot of men men smell either like rain or sandalwood. I'm sure there have been others, but those are the two that I've encountered the most?! But really, there's no need to get fancy LOL, I there's a certain deodorant my fiance uses that makes me just want to sniff him all day long!!!

Cialina said...

What an entertaining post!!!!! I'm so sorry you had a terrible smell encounter with leather... Usually when I think of leather I think of the smell of a really expensive leather bag. I can't imagine why someone would make a candle with a nasty scent.

I like it when authors describe scents... the sweat thing gets me a little, but most of the time, I can't even imagine how these guys smell like. Haha.

LMW said...

GREAT post! HA HA HA! I was laughing so hard!! I personally hate the use of the word "musky". It just doesn't sound attractive to me. I don't know if it reminds me of musty or sweaty, but I don't like it. I prefer something cool and crisp as a manly scent!

Lyndsey said...

I agree with Lacey. Musky reminds me of something that has been shoved away in a drawer or closet etc for a good couple of months. If that was a man, the poor thing would be dead. Definitely not what I want my man smelling like.

Also, leather would immediately remind me of a handbag or shoes and I dont think I'd want my man smelling like either. Maybe I need to have a think about this and add it to my perfect man.

thekams said...

I personally don't think much about smell descriptions. It's just there, and sometimes I'll try to imagine what the smell would be (especially if it's a very vivid description), but most times not.

Leather is the easiest one for me to imagine since I work in a leather store - but I can't actually smell it anymore! =D

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