Friday 6 November 2015


The King has a nose like a bloodhound. I’m not kidding, it’s a thing of beauty, and let’s be honest, sometimes a thing of extreme annoyance. Take mint for instance; he hates it and if he smells it within a half-mile radius he will sniff it out and tell you to get rid of it. We have an ongoing war over chewing gum (you’d think he would be championing to chew it, but alas no). He’s the chewing gum police and I sneak it like an addict until he smells it, calls me out and demands I spit it out. Obviously I tell him who is boss when I feel like it, but he actually does me the favour of not looking like a bovine animal.

Funny thing is, I’m starting to realize his bloodhound nostrils are a genetic trait. I’ve always had a keen sense of smell (which was a nightmare in pregnancy and when living in Manhattan) and such acute sense memory when it comes to scents and my childhood. Certain shampoos, foods, types of trees, you name it, and I’ll be catapulted back in time like I’m trapped in some studio film. Which being a writer, I quite like. Not to mention, I also have sensitivity to other smells that I simply cannot be around – obviously dog poop and garbage go without saying. Perfume for starters has to pass a litany of tests in order to make it onto my neck and most of course, don’t.

Funny enough, when I met my husband, he was also huge on smell (as you can imagine, finding the perfect candles and diffusers for our house take us weeks as my husband likes to literally smell 100 of them before making a decision). When we were looking for a flat, he'd walk into a room, say it smelt like damp as if he was a building inspector, turn and leave without another word. He was also as equally as picky as to what he – and I – put on our skins. There is nothing worse than being told you smell like something NOT desirable to keep you from buying it ever again. Well actually, there is something worse and that’s when your husband and your father end up buying the same cologne. IT’S JUST wrong.

Equally fitting, when I’m away from the King or my husband, the first thing I miss is their smell. It’s a strange subconscious thing, but if I can smell them on a t-shirt or item in my possession, I somehow feel more grounded. On that same note, I am that strange mother that often smells the top of their son’s head, or the back of their neck just to get a hit of that something that makes me feel more sane. And no, it’s not always the good smells that I covet. The King’s morning breath for some reason I find adorable (I never said I was rational).

Apparently in the realm of relationships, scientists have tested it, and one can actually smell compatibility. According to a famous study (that I’m too tired to look up), “human beings are capable of sniffing out certain parts of our potential partners’ DNA that make up their immune system, called major histocompatibility genes (MHC), to determine whom we’re compatible with.” Furthermore, we tend to be attracted to people whose MHC compositions are different from ours so that our offspring's immune system covers as many diseases as possible. It’s not exactly romantic, but it would make sense as we’re just mere steps above animals. And what do they do all day but smell things. 
Back to the King and his great smelling neck, I’m not sure if the smell of his adorable boy sweat means we’re compatible, but it definitely makes me feel like my blood pressure lowers by a few points. Maybe it’s not fresh cut grass or rainfall, but I’ll take it.

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