Feb 21, 2012

Smells Like Teen Armpit


Teenagers smell.


And not just any kind of smell; they have their own particular fragrance which has unfolded over time, and just like manufactured perfume, the notes reveal themselves in perfect, lingering, stinking harmony.


Take my 17 year old Daughter. (Pleeeeeeease, take my Daughter. No, I'm kidding, she's okay, she just smells) She and her friends, whilst all varying slightly in the overall olfactive impression they leave behind when exiting a room (and which can take several Dog farts to clear), have generally similar bouquets they love to radiate, as only a gaggle of teenage girls can.


The top notes, which are perceived immediately upon being in the same postcode as the girls, consist of a heady mix of celebrity-endorsed perfumes, chain-store body sprays, and fruity-flavoured lipgloss (the subtle differences between Fruit Pucker, Tropical Smooch and Pomegranate Pout are what makes girls unique). These top, or 'head' notes are a tad superficial but form the initial impression upon presentation, and are therefore important in selling a girl's persona. So if one wears a Britney Spears perfume with Paris Hilton Passport body spray ("It's, like, totally hot") and Sweet Sucker lipgloss, I will assume she is also wearing no underwear.


As the top notes evaporate in a cloud of squeals, hugs and OMGs, the middle notes come to the fore. These consist mainly of freshly applied nailpolish, a strong splash of anti-perspirant-no-white-marks-no-yellow-marks-lightly-scented-for-sensitive-skin-body-responsive-best-protection-ever deodorant, and a generous helping of de-frizz hair straightening product. These are sometimes known as the 'heart' notes. Probably because the pure power of them combined can cause heart palpitations in the uninitiated.


The middle notes are generally used to mask the often unpleasant first impression of what is known as the base notes. The scents of these base notes are often very rich and are usually not perceived until about 30 minutes after the all-night-loud-music-dancing-screaming-gossiping-vampire-movie-marathon-sleepless-sleepover has begun, otherwise known as the "Bitch Please" stage. They can include, but are not necessarily limited to, excessive oestrogen oozings, garlic and/or alcopop breath, the whiff of a favourite never-laundered-because-Justin-Bieber's-bodyguard-touched-the-shoulder tshirt, and odour emanating from feet which have spent the day in school shoes/sports shoes/the moshpit at a music festival and are as yet unwashed.


Then there's my 19 year old son. He and his mates exude aromatic compounds somewhat different to the girls, with only a few minor similarities. However, their head-turning abilities are second-to-none.


Their top notes can be detected as soon as one of their vehicles pulls up in the street, and become more apparent as they collectively waltz into the home environment, via the back door, unannounced. Heavily advertised after-shave designed to attract women, poorly applied hair products designed to avoid haircuts, and just-eaten Big Mac/KFC/garlic yiros. All highly concentrated and intense, but fleeting. Like sex on a chair. (Now I get the 'head' notes thing.)


As these top notes dissipate during the grunting/greeting process, the middle notes emerge to be recognised and acknowledged. Pepperoni pizza consumed some time in the preceding 24 hours, the remnants of the previous night's alcohol consumption on either breath or clothes, an exceptionally acrid signed soccer shirt which only gets washed at the end of the season, the sharp pungency of pimple creams, the very barest hint of cheap but allegedly manly body washes with an undertone of testosterone, the trace of a fart long trapped in the jeans, and sweaty socks which in one more day may be able to grow legs and crawl to the laundry by themselves.


After 30 minutes of hardcore gaming, these aromatic middle notes give way to the depth and solidity of the all-important base notes...


Armpits.


At least I understand something now. All of these odoriferous compounds and accompanying activities were the reason headache tablets, automatic room deodorisers and cask wine were invented.


And I am not in Nirvana.




How does your teen smell? (and please don't answer "through the nose")








18 comments:

  1. She has a nail varnish fetish which leads to the whole house smelling vividly of pear drops. It's even more pervasive than the cat litter tray. As for pre-teen, there is defo something smelly going on in his hair and NOTHING gets rid of that!

    Great post, thanks. Saw you at 'Looking for Blue Sky's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to think the litter tray was the worst thing I'd ever breathed in, until I had kids. My cats had nothing on a group of teenagers!

      Delete
  2. It's been a few years now, but memories of my teens are aminly about the cheesy socks and sneakers. It got to the point where I kept a big box of bi-carb near the back door and each kid had to sprinkle some inside the shoes before going to bed. A nappy soaking bucket filled with hot freshly mixed napisan daily took care of the socks.
    Unwashed clothes of any description were out of the question. Absolutely everything went into the weekly wash, no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the kids wonder why I have scented candles everywhere.

      Delete
  3. What a brilliantly written post!

    My son smells of a selection of Lynx body sprays, minty toothpaste and crisps. His feet are quite fragrant but those of his friends are evil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd totally accept toothpaste and crsips, that would be like heaven. Feet, blech.

      Delete
  4. Oh yeah! I am with you. It is an assault to open that bedroom door. Frequently, I leap up, when the moment allows, to open all the windows and start up the aromastone to try to rid the house of the curious mix of testosterone and other poisonous pongs.

    I hope it improves, although your teenagers are older than the one that wafts through here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like to hold my wine glass up close to my nose too, it helps.

      Delete
  5. Ha! Yes, I am gagging in recognition. It is peculiar, the smell of teenage boy. Rampant hormone mixed with feet, arse gas, and armpit.

    I've years of it to go yet. May as well invest in a gas mask.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the end is near, or else I'll have to live in a bubble.

      Delete
  6. Excellent post! Thankfully those days are almost behind me now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looking forward to my empty nest. It will smell pleasant.

      Delete
  7. All this to look forward to. I think.
    In fact, can I just send them to you when the time comes? I think FedEx will work...

    LCM x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget to poke holes in the box or the smell when they get here will beat all other odours.

      Delete
  8. Oh yes. Body spray, perfume, nail polish and remover, lipgloss, bubble gum, body lotion, too much shampoo/conditioner.... I'm sure if you mixed them all together there would be some might chemical reaction!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lighting matches has become fraught with danger!

      Delete
  9. Hmm, well I'm slightly perlexed. I have five teenage boys and all I have EVER experienced is armpit. No wait, armpit and and feet. There's no variety in my life anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have No Teenagers....and Now; I'm Glad! LOL Good Luck to Ya....and when they move away for college/university; de-stinck the place! But, You should also change the locks! ;P

    ReplyDelete

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