FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What Scents Made You Gay?

Hi, wandering but not lost ducklings!

Welcome to the Friday Open Thread! This week we’re talking about smells, the scent of a woman or the smell of the wild, the specific smells that made you realize you are, yup, very very gay/bi/les/queer or however you identify your non-heterosexual identity. Do you have certain memories tied to smells? I know I do!


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The queer person who may have been my first love if I had yet understood the language to identify WTF my emotions were in high school always wore patchouli oil. It was a signature scent. Sometimes patchouli can be aggressive and heavy. It never was on this person, my person. You couldn’t smell it unless you got close and it was extremely rare to get close. I felt honored to even be in proximity.

I remember how that soft grounding scent would float suspended for just a beat, all tied up with the feel of the wooly sweater hug and my intense teenage friendship emotions and my genuine appreciation to be invited into a close embrace. I still think of this person whenever I catch a whiff of patchouli. We reconnected for a bit after college, became close again, and then lost touch again several years ago. Sometimes I write little notes or send a DM, but I haven’t heard back and I assume it’s not personal and I’m also pretty sure my lingering friendship heartbreak around this person is very much because I was in love with them.

Smoke Machine Maple Syrup

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My college friend Tuttle and I had this joke about smoke machines at gay bars and at this one particular bar in Buffalo, in particular. There was a tiny little room off of the main dance floor at Club Marcella that was sort of like a lounge. I mean it was a lounge, but it was tiny and not particularly chill. They used a smoke machine aggressively in the room circa 2001. It just shot out from a spot near the wall at random intervals and it smelled overwhelmingly like pancake syrup.

Do you know what I’m talking about? That maple syrup-like smell that fog machines have sometimes? I don’t know! But I’ve definitely smelled it since and it always reminds me of Marcella and Tuttle and our inside joke, which was just us yelling slightly drunk at each other “Maple syrup! Maple syrup!” and waving our hands around whenever we smelled the fog or talked about the fog at the gay bar.

It wasn’t a very good joke, but it was very gay.

Clove Cigarettes

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I don’t smoke, but I did try smoking in college. At one point, I was smoking Djarum Blacks, an Indonesian brand of clove cigarettes. Clove cigarettes and all flavored cigarettes became illegal in the United States in 2009, but you can still get them. They’re slightly different in size and they call them “cigars” now and I still occasionally catch a whiff of someone smoking one. I’d recognize the smell anywhere. It takes me right back to 2005.

Clove cigarettes were perfect for me at 22, ready to fight the world, not sure who or what I was doing with my life after college, all fuzzy red jacket and beanie hat and corsets-as-tops and feeling very cool with a clove hanging out of my mouth trying to engage Waffle in some pseudo-intellectual conversation on the back loading dock of the student union. I just wanted to feel things deeply back then and I was finally visibly queer after a breakup with my college boyfriend of three years and I wanted to get in a little bit of trouble and that hint of sweet clove felt just dangerous enough on my chapstick lips. Smoking cloves does not make you cool. For serious. But it made me feel cool just a bit for a little time. I still crave the spice on my lips whenever I smell cloves on someone else. I’m licking my lips. I can taste it right now.

What about you? What smells made you gay or gayer? What scents do you associate with your coming into your queer and/or trans self? Tell me all about them in the comments and the stories behind them! Also, tell me anything and everything else. I want to know what your week is like, babe, and what you’re doing with this one short and grand life! So light a candle or some incense and give me some Friday love!

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KaeLyn is a 40-year-old hard femme bisexual dino mom. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Upstate NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a scaredy cat, an elderly betta fish, and two rascally rabbits. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 230 articles for us.


  1. i had a not-an-ex-because-we-didn’t-teeeeechnically-date-but-we-had-a-whole-Thing-thing wear egyptian musk every day. to this day, years later, if i smell it, instant flashback.

    • Mmm. Egyptian musk. I used to love those little roll-on essential oils you could get in head shops in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Maybe they still sell them? Egyptian musk is definitely one I used to smell at the head shop. As well as the patchouli, obviously…

  2. Bonfires. I cannot express to you how gay things got around bonfires when I was a teenager. We were so fucking angsty.

  3. Deodorant as a teenager. Probably an aspie/touch sensitive thing. When I was with my first girlfriend, I put on some deodorant to smell nice for her and it burnt/stung my skin :( Smelt nice though and she was worth it (first real love).

    She was really femme.She had so much makeup and perfume! Like a star or something! A whole table full of it which was rare at our age, even I was impressed.

    • Can I tell you something? I hate deodorant and the way it feels on my skin and I stopped wearing it for a long time and wear it again now, sometimes, like if I’ve gone a couple days without a shower. But I very distinctly remember the deoderant smells that all my loves have worn. Maybe she remembers you when she smells it!

      I love that your first girlfriend had a glamorous lifestyle! I feel her!

      • Thanks for this :) I hope she does.

        I’m not sure how het this was or wasn’t (much to the misfortune of my mother who keeps stressing what a little ‘girl’ I was – I was a short haired, boy clothes wearing kid who went by a boy name for goodness sake, I identify as non-binary or trans masculine or just butch) but it wasn’t cishet. I felt like a boy at the time but I’m AFAB.I distinctly remember hearing heterosexist propaganda about how ‘girls and boys fall in love with each other’ when I was 11, never any other narrative and wondering where I fit into all that. Then ignoring it and chasing all the girls ’round the playground and making them blush while having a crush on a boy. Where I fit was definitely bi…

        Yeah, she was really glamorous for 13. I was really lucky to have her as a first proper girlfriend.

        We listened to Tatu together which probably dates me.

  4. Definitely BO, the smell of urban gardens and late night bike rides and crowded sweaty summer punk shows.

    I had one person who I dated kind of in passing for a few months, literally almost 20 years ago, and she wore some kind of scent. It hit the back of my throat with this cloying sweetness that I didn’t particularly like. I still smell this occasionally and it brings me right back to a kind of fun thing we had together that never got serious or committed, but also I don’t like the smell very much, so?

    • That whole hot punk american summer vibe sounds very youthful and gritty and lovely!

      I wonder what the scent note is that you remember from your ex? I had a perfume made for me by an AI machine recently (yes, weird science) and it had this sweet undertone that I very much disliked. I wonder if it’s the same thing…?

      • Oh my gosh you asked a robot to make a smell? How does that work? It stinks that it was not quite right (feeling punny I guess, I’m sorry).

        Did you get pregnancy supersniffer? Mine never went away! I was never very fussy about smells till after my supersniffer kicked in and never left me.

        And yeah- I miss those days. I feel like it’s stress on top of stress these days. If it’s not finances it’s poop or another virus or childcare falls through. I’m so grateful but it’s so hard. And the midnight urban bike rides are done for the time being. Hopefully some of that will come back later, and we do have a really lovely veggie garden doing its thing this year. :)

  5. I had a giant crush on one of my rugby teammates and while we were out one night I gave her my jacket when she got cold. My jacket smelt of the perfume she was wearing for weeks and now any time I catch a whiff of the same perfume it brings back all of the feels I had for her.

  6. I have a flannel-scented candle and even though I was dubious when I bought it (because what can flannel smell like, really) it has become one of my favorite scents!

    Also I had a Bath & Body Words perfume when I was younger that was just “Capricorn” because gay.

    • OMG As a fellow Cap, I want to know what, precisely, “Capricorn” smells like. I’ve seen pics of the flannel scented candle and I have literally no guess as to what that would smell like.

    • I went through a huge flannel shirt phase at sixth form so I’m really curious as to what flannel smells like…

  7. For me, it might be cannabis/hemp as I think at some point on it I discovered, “wait I don’t feel cis.” Not exactly in those words, but yeah. I’ve had cloves and I am not really a fan(it was the sweet paper kind), but an ex-friend told me that cloves are referred to as lung bruisers as the smoke can hurt the lungs more than regular cigarettes. I dunno if that’s true, but I did taste a bit harsher. I’ve since switched to hemp cigs(50 state legal and minimal cbd) for those times I really need a smoke fix. The smell is a mix of hemp and cigs(uses the regular cigarette type paper).

    How’s everyone’s week going? Mines has been fairly good since it was a shorter week. On a down note, my best friend hasn’t really spoken to me since leaving town and that has me bummed out a bit. A lot of thoughts are going through my head that I am trying to push out but at the same time kind of preparing myself and heart for the negative knowing the type of luck I have. Wish me luck!

    In positive news, there was a Zinefest over the weekend were at a Saturday night event Archie was at. It was a great event as I got to meet Archie, and see a reading of Grease Bat live, which was magical in its own way. Also, got to see a few other talented artists sharing their work too. I purchased a copy of their game Sweatgasm and zine on flags, which(the latter) I plan to donate to Cuties Coffee. The venue was pretty neat as in the front was a good bar and in the back was like this neat room where the event occurred.

    I spent my Sunday biking shopping and purchased a road bike. Then Monday I spent it riding 30 miles along the coast, including Venice Beach. I plan to ride my bike more for fun and exercise, just need to upgrade the brakes for safety reasons. This Sunday I plan to go Cuties for their monthly event, and then get the brakes upgraded. It also starting to finally feel like May here after weeks of feeling like March. Yay!

    Flowers are still in bloom. From my ride near the Ballona Wetlands.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • That’s so cool that you got to meet and hear and support Archie!!! I saw pics on Instagram and that event looked so charming and cozy and cute. Glad you had fun!

      Yes, I smoked the sweet paper cloves and, after just a few months of fairly regularly smoking them, I started developing a cough and decided to CHANGE MY WAYS. So I think it’s very likely they are worse on the lungs! Also, medical professionals say they’re worse than regular cigarettes, so…

      Love the pic of the flowers and hope you hear from your friend soon. As someone who can be unintentionally inconsiderate when it comes to staying in touch with my friends, I want to suggest that it may just mean your friend is busy, not that they don ‘t care.

      Hope you have a positive weekend, too!!!

      • It was cozy and it’s good another bar option down the street from my work. My friend would say cloves are sharper smoke, why they get their nickname, which didn’t make sense to me until I tried a pack(took me like a little over 1 month to finish 10 cloves).

        I have a feeling they might be busy also, but in a world of connection and fb telling you someone was seen 10 minutes ago it can fuck with a person mind.

  8. Tobacco and smoking in general. A freshly lit cigarette, the stale smell on clothing, doesn’t matter.

    My biggest high school crush/first kiss smoked. Since I was such a goody two-shoes with mostly goody two-shoes theatre friends, for a long time it was my only association with the smell. It still makes me swoon/feel gayer. Especially since the only times I’ve ever smoked cigarettes myself are when I’m drunk and flirting with someone.

    I always carry around a lighter and people are like, Oh do you smoke? And I’m like, not really just a fan!

    (as a Capricorn who has mostly dated air signs this feels very on-brand…)

    • OMG SO MANY CAPS on staff! I’m a Cap who has mostly dated water signs and, despite my no longer smoking at all, I’m always drawn to the folks around the smoking pit outside. I absolutely love that you carry a lighter just to be ready if a friend or QT asks “Does anyone have a light?” So peak Cap!

      I love that your associate the smell with your first crush/kiss! <3 So cute!

  9. True facts: men and women smell very different to me. I remember noticing this when I was a little kid about my mom and dad, but I didn’t know why until I was a lot older and learned about sex hormones. Also true: the relative levels of estrogen and testosterone influence how sensitive one’s sense of smell is. When I started taking exogenous estrogen, the effect was dramatic for me, and one of the things I noticed was particularly how male/female smells became more noticeable to me and my own scent changed. I don’t exactly *like* either, but now female smells are generally less unappealing, ehich at lessy fits with being predominantly attracted to women.

    Bay Area folks: I live and work away from SF. Are there any Pride events in SF I should look into? Getting into SF after work is pretty much a nonstarter, so this is more weekend stuff, ideally places I could make more local queer friends.

    • Oh, welcome to intense human smell awareness! I have a really intense reaction to some peoples’ smells and I think hormones definitely affect smell. One of my partners has a really nice scent that I can smell over anything else and it’s a huge distraction/turn on.

      • I couldn’t date some people because they don’t smell attractive to me, so I know exactly where you’re coming from.

    • I am certain I would be more bi than I am (basically not bi) if I didn’t heartily dislike the way that most men smell. In fact, any man I’ve been close enough to smell, unless he was literally just out of the shower.

      Some guys smell like goats – the heavy meat-eaters – and one time a colleague literally made me gag.

      I certainly don’t like the way every woman smells, but for the ones where I like it very much, it’s hard not to have a very intense reaction to it. Some women are very literally mouth-watering.

      Strangely enough, though, the best smell I ever encountered was a gay guy wearing a tiny amount of Kouros aftershave, in the 80s. It’s way too heavy to wear myself (it can be as cloying as Poison, ugh). But I’d love to find a lighter version of it as a perfume. While I often like the aroma of an aftershave, they are way too strong most of the time (to cover up the goatiness).

      As for hormone balance, yes, it’s a big thing. I’ve definitely had the experience with transguy friends where I feel less inclined to be very cuddly with them when their smell changes past a certain point (although I still like cuddling my friends, and thankfully none of them has ended up goaty).

      Oh, and while I might sound like I’m harping on about the goat thing, it’s just me. I have friends who love a good stinky guy, and while I don’t get it, I GET it!

      • I was staying with some friends and went in to bathe after one in particular had just finished showering. His smell was so overpowering (after the water had been running) that I had to air it out a bit before I could. It definitely wasn’t anything he did, it was just the way he smelled. I’m pretty sure smell is a significant chunk of the reason that I’m queer-identified.

    • Wow! This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you have fun at SF Pride!

    • This is how I really sorted out my sexual orientation. I could not get over that, despite partners who were genderqueer, and looked like the “other”. But smell was like a wall. Also, when people transition, they suddenly get attractive to me when their smell changes and I stand close to them. I can even tell if people have started hormones recently, by that effect.

  10. oh geez there is a certain herbal essences shampoo scent that makes me fourteen again in a single breath. ylang ylang and hibiscus!

    it never fails to catch me off guard when i catch a whiff in the wild, like, wait, who was that, let me put my whole face in your super soft hair at a sleepover

    (PS that fog machine weird maple syrup smell is SO SPECIFIC i could smelled it as soon as i saw the image!)

    • ME TOO, except it was the late 90s, and it was the “original scent” Herbal Essences. My crush sat next to me in first period, and had really lovely long hair. She would come in with her hair still wet and in a bun, and would take it down and braid it, releasing a wave of shampoo scent.

    • I know that herbal essences shampoo and I can remember the smell specifically from when I used it. Do they still make it even?

      Also love the bonding over high school crush shampoo smells! <3

  11. One of my early unrequited gay crushes often carried a mug of peppermint tea with her, I don’t think of her every time I have it but occasionally I’m like oh yeah mmmmm
    Not a gay thing or a crush thing, but my old roommate told me she misses the way I made our apartment smell with my baking. Favorite compliment! I hope people associate me with the smells of baking, especially my crushes cause I often will bake for them lol

    • I love that your friend associates you with the smell of baking. What a lovely, lovely fondness for you!

  12. My first kiss with a woman she was wearing Red for men by Giorgio. She mailed me a little scrap of her camo pants soaked in it that i carried around in a little leather bag in my pocket all summer. Occasionally (but rarely) i get a whiff of that and i’m right back at the Guadalupe river.

    I loved smoking cloves back in the day.

    • This is the plot of a lesbian romance coming-of-age movie. The cut up camo pants! The leather bag in your pocket! It’s too cute and sweet!

      • that kiss *was* my coming out, so yeah! someone should totally make a movie about it!

  13. The smells that really get me are building smells, so usually an exact combination of dust and disinfectant.

    BUT the smell that takes me back to my first nights out is that sticky student bar smell of spilt alcopop.

  14. CBD always brings me back to my most recent ex. They always smoked it for anxiety, and hanging out with them eventually brought me back to magick. Without them I wouldn’t have found my own path to witchcraft and magick, furthering my own queerness.

    My tattoo artist/crush smokes Japanese cigarettes. I cannot for the life of me describe how they smell but they smell very different from cigarettes available in the U.S. They’re very into Japanese culture and my gay heart swooned everytime I went to their house. I miss them.

    The smell that really marks my coming into my transness was when my own smell changed. Testosterone bodies and estrogen bodies smell very different, and when I noticed, when it clicked, I lost it. My body had finally reached normal levels of estrogen, and I was finally right. I smell great if anyone was curious XD.

    My weeks going good. Got rid of toxic people. Fully coming into my spellcraft. I do sigils and song for my magick, with a craft built from the ground up for me by me. Got a whole queer group together for Minneapolis pride, I’m super excited! I’m going to a gay bar for the first time! I spent my teen years in a small rural town. So my rowdy queer shenanigans are happening more in my mid twenties than my teens. I have two semesters left of school starting in the fall, and I’m juggling 1-3 therapies a week, work, apartment hunting (live with parents), job hunting, and attempts at self care. But hey. I’m alive! I’m an openly queer trans woman! And I have a roof over my head, food in my tummy, and the best found family ever! Things are good and finally going my way 💜💜💜 (though I still can’t figure out how to post pictures. I’m on mobile so it’s maybe that?)

    • I bet you smell so amazing, QT! Especially since you got rid of toxic people, are making plans with queer friend, and are coming into your own personal magick! I’m so happy for you! Have so much fun this weekend!

  15. My frenemy (who in hindsight I was deeply in love with) used to smell like the sweet, overpowering smell of when you get culinary vanilla extract fall on your skin. She tried to kiss me, once, while her boyfriend stood 5 feet away paying for our cab. I kissed her back – then told her to fuck off bc she didn’t get to you with my emotions like that.

    I first smoked cloves in the first lesbian party I ever went to. An older and cool-looking butch offered me one, so non-chalantly that I accepted despite having no idea what cloves even were, so that she wouldnt think I was lame. Later, I started smoking them whenever I was around girls I had crushes on, bc they often liked the smell and I could make a move asking them if they wanted to taste it in me. Very gay, very inexperienced with flirting. Surprisingly, this method worked a lot better than you’d expect.

    I left my bottle of Flash by Jimmy Choo “accidentally” on another girl’s house so we would keep having reasons to see each other. We have seen each other many times since but she always “accidentally” forgets it at her place (in a city 1 and a half hours over) and we have to schedule a next date. I still haven’t gotten my perfume back, and she once wrote me in a letter that she sometimes sprays it in her pillow when she misses me (most of the year, since I go to school halfway across the world).

    Overall, there were a lot of smells that made me gay.

  16. Totally has to be Cheap 80’s Hair Gel for spikey hair. First crush wore it a lot

    • Like LA Looks? Haha! I think that was more 90s but also why did I spend mental energy storing the name of hair gel in my mind for 30 years?

  17. Back when we were teenagers, the raw pheromones of a woman I knew made me pretty gay. We were going through the atrium of a Walmart, and I swayed close to her. Somehow, I managed to coincidentally get a big whiff of her neck. It didn’t smell like anything identifiable, but I almost turned into a wolf on the spot. I was instantly tuned in to her and her body and focused on her. Becoming a werewolf because you can’t ignore the scent of a woman is gayyyy

    • I didn’t know cloves were queer culture, but obviously, they are and it makes total sense.

  18. I love smells that remind me of people. There’s a certain dryer vent smell that reminds me of my little old lady friend who died several years ago now, but I have a lot of happy memories of helping her and just hanging out listening to her stories of our town from when she was a girl.

    The smell of a certain chapstick reminds me of my first kiss with my best friend. <3

    This weekend we're on family camping trip and it's off to a really good start. All four kids are having a good time! We've got this!

    KaeLyn, best wishes to you travelling with your little one to A Camp!

    • Oh, have fun family camping! That sounds great! And will hopefully produce many happy smell memories! :) Campfire is definitely one of my smell associations–not with queerness, but with family and summer.

  19. Musty Old dry hay with the scent of burlap and old barn wood like faded pine.

    We used to play in an old barn make bedrooms out of old stalls and any old thing discovered lying about. It was there that I learned that trans women exist albeit a pile of old porn magazines. There she was. Of course she wasn’t called trans but I knew I was the same. That old barn served as a great makeout hideout location where young kids would fumble in the dark. First time I went down on a girl was in that barn also the first time going down on a boy too. I liked the girls better.

    • This reminds me of growing up rural and playing around in a friend’s hay barn, too. I didn’t have nearly as much fun and self-discovery as you did, though. LOL.

      • Well we did find a pile of old porn mags which were quite influential to our summer activities. 😈❤️

        That old farm had a pond perfect for skinny dipping and sunbathing to dry off.

        I cried when the new owners tore it down. Not only was it a special place for me but it was an historic Dutch style timber and pole barn with a slate roof.

  20. Aqua di Gio men’s cologne. A girl I dated for a few months my freshman year of college wore it. She was what I’d describe now as soft butch, and I thought it was super sexy and cool that she wore men’s cologne.

    KaeLyn, I’d forgotten about clove cigarettes until you mentioned them but boy does that take me back too. I never smoked myself but a lot of the other theater kids in the late ‘90s smoked cloves, because they thought they were somehow better for you than regular cigarettes? They’d also use them on stage if a character had to smoke in a show.

    • OMG, cloves are WAY worse. It’s been proven. I don’t know why the myth persists that they’re better for you. They are literally 20% worse for your lungs.

      Thanks for the 90’s memories of Aqua di Gio cologne. What a time! Remember CK One?

      • YES, CK One. So many girls wore that one too. I feel like the whole ‘90s aesthetic (fashion, etc) was very gay. Or maybe it just seems that way to me because I was very gay in the ‘90s? Regardless, growing up around all that flannel and cargo pants and androgynous perfume/cologne definitely contributed.

  21. It’s memory that comes with some major self hatred I had as a child, might be upsetting to read.

    Girls were supposed to smell nice and be found beautiful, boys were not which combined with my sadism made me feel like an evil disgusting thing. Thanks for that sex negative biphobic “feminism”.

    Being 12-13 and fighting my sexual desires, being so aware of how good other people smelled,how tender necks look, my body’s reaction to it all, and how hungry I felt reminded me of Lucy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) in all her feverish craving.

    I began to associate with vampires, abandoned all attempts at trying to be as good and pure as a lesbian because if I was irredeemably tainted why not embrace it?

    Don’t remember the boy’s name that smelled so nice, but I remember the tanned soft look skin of his neck and the birthmark just below the hairline to the left that looked kinda like a tiny melted Alaska.

    Another and more positive scent memory that’s attached the smell of fresh cut grass and hot old pavement in summer is of this girl who was more than a calendar year younger than me but feasibly an age mate, a baby gay soft butch who blushed so beautifully.
    I was freshly 18 and she was still 16 living with her mother who was NOT dealing so well with her daughter’s coming out so there nothing possible between us except for some light flirtation and I like to think that did something for her self esteem at the time.
    Also I hope she kept that hairstyle, it was very flattering on her as well as wonderful texture.

    Y’all this fucking song I can’t stop listening to it

    Lovers Death by Ursine Vulpine

    I don’t have an emotional need to listen to a song about mourning love’s end I just like sounds of the music and the singer. It does make me wish I made fanvids and had some ship that canonically ended tho.

    • So many memories of past loves and crushes and kisses for all of us! Thanks for sharing your memories, even the more painful ones.

      I personally love a good sad love song or yearning love song and I’m 14+ years into a very stable (nowadays) relationship. Why not?

      • I felt like it needed to be shared in the day and age where some queer people are putting down other queer people as too strange or not belonging is going to some how protect their more “normal” selves from the right wing because it won’t. Exclusionary politics do nothing but cause hurt to kids and adults already struggling and of course as you know make the community as a whole easier to thwart.

        Never enjoyed sad love songs per se…and I think it’s the metalhead in me that is confused as to why we are listening to something this emotional on repeat without a cathartic connection to it.

        Like “babe you’re listening to this at half power, how can you REALLY appreciate this work of art?”
        It’s kinda comical.

  22. The first girl I realised I loved smelled of unwashed hair, cigarettes and sweat. She was Greek, with a husky smoker’s voice and dirty knees from gardening. She had a mane of long, curly auburn hair. On a long coach trip to Germany to protest the G8, she laid her head in my lap to sleep, and I could smell her scalp, a softly oily body smell. I sat absolutely still, heart thumping, praying she wouldn’t move, resisting the urge to hold her. We were passing through Belgium. She was straight.

  23. My college girlfriend worked in a coffee shop that roasted their own coffee. We all hated and made fun of the flavored coffees (staff had to spray ‘flavor’ that my girl discovered removed nail polish onto the freshly roasted beans), but when she smelled like coffee and hazelnuts, I swooned. My heart still beats faster at the thought of that smell.

    • That’s concerning, flavor spray that can remove nail polish. Was that even safe to consume?

    • That’s….very yucky and helpful to know! Ew!

      But coffee and hazelnuts sounds amazing!

    • It’s not a cliché if it’s a real experience, I save cliché for bad writing like having a independently powerful queen go full merciless villain at the drop of a hat.

  24. My “friend” wore Narciso! O. M. G! It still does it for me, as well as Eros❤

  25. I first met her at the beach during a Pride event and I was instantly smitten. She smelled like Downy fabric softener (the one with the blue cap, I later discovered) and coconut oil. We hit it off and exchanged numbers as friends because she had a gf and I respected that. We hung out many times for the better part of 4 years and during that time she had a gf or I had one but one thing remained constant, she smelled like Downy and coconut oil and I wanted to know if she smelled like that all over.

    The weekend before I was to move out of state for my job, I invited her to my sendoff party (we hadn’t spoken in a while) and for the first time in 4 years, we were both single. We danced raunchily on the dancefloor and through the liquor and horrible perfumes/colognes, I could still smell the Downy and coconut oil.

    She invited herself back to my place (to my surprise and delight) which now only had an air mattress. As 90s slow jams played through her phone, we slow danced with my face buried in her neck, drinking in her and that strange but enticing combination of smells. Long story short, we had an amazing night, but like the previous 4 years, we had bad timing.

    That was the last time I smelled those 2 things together. I saw her last year (after 2 years away) when I went back to my home state for a visit. She no longer smelled of Downy and coconut oil and she was engaged. To this day, anytime I’m in the detergent aisle or I use coconut oil I think of her. She’s the one that got away.

  26. The first girl I was in love with wore fake tan for schoolies (grade 12 graduation holidays) and that kind of beachy, orange, sweet salty scent is what feels like the first scent that reeled me in by the stomach and I can still almost bring it to mind, although I could easily remember it clearly for years after and would gravitate to anyone wearing it for a bit as they walked by.

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