What Smells Worse Than That?

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Let’s play a game.

The game is called, “What smells worse than that?”


Here we go.

When my son entered adolescence, he discovered a fragrance. A fragrance that is worn by most teenaged boys to cover up something pretty rank. The smell they are trying to mask is the smell of teen aged boy body odor. Now that, in and of itself, can be a very bad smell.

But what smells worse than teen aged boy body odor?

“Not much,” you’re going to say. Right?

And you’d be right.

Unless it’s this:

The Bane of My Existence for a few years. 

My boy never really did stink much, au naturel. He has always been pretty good about keeping clean. But other teens were wearing this gosh-awful fragrance, and he fell victim to the delusion that this was a good smell. A powerful smell? Yes, I could agree with that: it was powerful indeed. But good? Not so much.

The goodness of a scent is in the olfactory of the sniffer, is it not?
An armpit on any other adolescent would not smell as sweet.

(In my son’s defense, I will admit that in my own adolescence, I too, fell victim to group-scent-think. I wore Jovan’s Musk Oil with the best of them. Our junior high smelled like it had been invaded by a colony of sex-starved muskrats. You mix junior high aged pheromones with musk oil, and the result will be some kind of heady, odoriferous cloud that hangs in the air like the chemicals Union Carbide was emitting into our local atmosphere back then. But no, baby, it was just us teenagers, and there was a whole LOT of stinkin’ goin’ on.)
(I will also add that in the years following those,  I have, in turn, fallen prey to Love’s Fresh Lemon, Love’s Baby Soft, Calvin Klein’s Obsession, and Estée Lauder’s Cinnabar. Some phases were worse than others. So, really, my honeysuckle blossom hasn’t fallen far from his sweet-smelling vine. Know what I mean?)
Happily, my boy is growing up. The Axe phase seems to have been chopped down at the root. I couldn’t be happier. These days, a new scent has entered our home.
“I’m on a horse. Hyah!”

Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate Isaiah Mustafa, shall we? Moving on…

I remember bottles of Old Spice sitting on my Dad’s chest of drawers. I never cared for that smell, either. The smell of Dad’s aftershave, mixed with car exhaust, plus a 30 minute car ride to church on country West Virginia roads = one carsick babygirl Susan in the Boonies. Scent is a powerful thing, isn’t it? Such memories it evokes.
Thankfully, my boy is not using the traditional Old Spice scent, but a couple of the variations on Old Spice that they have come up with since the ad campaign with Isaiah Mustafa helped their sales go through the roof. My son uses an Old Spice body wash and one of their deodorants, and they’re not the worst things I’ve ever smelled, and are certainly a step up from Axe.
Which brings us to the next question in our little game: what smells worse than Old Spice Body Wash?
So…yesterday morning, we’re all getting ready for church. Well, most of us were. My son had already taken himself to church, where he was playing in the band. (And they did such a great job, too!) Here’s a little picture of my sweet smelling offspring, yesterday at church:
Offering up the sweet smell of praise to his Lord.

So, like I said, the rest of us were getting ready to go, the dogs were taking care of their dog business outside in the woods, before they come back in to guard the house. I hear the sharp “Woof!” of Deacon D. Dog, indicating business has been taken care of, and he’s ready to come back inside. Then I hear it again. “Woof!” And again, “Woof, woof!!!” Why is no one letting the dog in? They’re all downstairs, ready, waiting for me to finish getting ready. “Woof! Woof! Woof!!!”

“Would somebody let the dog in, for crying out loud?” I yell.
“Mom…” my daughter calls. 
“Dad wants to know if we have any dog shampoo…!”
Because apparently, a reasonable facsimile of THIS was barking at the door.
One man’s stink is another dog’s treasure.

 We actually took this picture at an earlier date, because turkey-poo-rolling is a sport Mr. Stenchy enjoys from time to time.
So, in keeping with my theme of “What smells worse than that?” the only reasonable answer could be, Deakie Boy, wet (because we ALL know there’s nothing like the fragrance of wet dog, alone, to knock you over) + turkey poo + Old Spice Body Wash, the “High Endurance” variety.
We were so glad to get out of the house for a few hours and go to church, where we offered up our hopefully sweet smelling praises to God, who I suspect may find some of our prayers about as stinky as Deacon D. Dawg. 
I am happy to report that upon our return, the odor of wet dog poopiefied perfuminess had been knocked down a level or two.
So, tell me: surely I’m not the only one! What scent-lemmings have you followed off the cliff of good scents/sense? Confess!!!! Don’t leave me sitting here all alone in my stench!


  1. Ok, I’ll bite.

    When my two brothers and I were in high school, the Easter Bunny did his thing a little too well. There was one last hidden egg we couldn’t find. Being high schoolers and only playing along so as not to hurt Mom’s feelings, we all somehow forgot about the missing egg … until June, when we couldn’t figure out why it smelled so bad in our living room.

    We put the offending recliner on the front porch to air out after we extracted a rotten Easter egg. Talk about airing dirty laundry!

    It was a bit humiliating. But thanks for the perfect opportunity to retell this stinky tale.

  2. Oh, Dawn, that’s HORRIBLE.

  3. We had a ‘Possum once, crawled into the garden an expired. I kept going back to see if he was still there thinking he was, you know, playing ‘Possum. After a couple days in the August sun it dawned on me he wasn’t. Now this thing was the size of a small dog. What a smell. The whole neighborhood enjoyed it.

  4. Oh, my gosh, William. No play was involved in that death scene. Ugh!!!!

  5. Hilarious post! Thankfully my sons follow in their dad’s footsteps re: deodorant. They all like unscented. Whew! And they wear a very light cologne applied sparingly.

    For myself, in high school I also wore Jovan stuff, White Musk perfume. I adored it, even though I’d get an occasional whiff of that yuck factor musk has. I never wore Obsession, though I well remember both guys and girls over-utilizing that one. Also Poison. Ugh.

    So what perfume do you wear these days? I love perfume and adore smelling every bottle I find. My favorite standby is Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, accompanied by the original No. 5 lotion. Swoon. But I’m on a long-standing BBW kick- Sensual Amber – at present. It smells a lot like Flowerbomb, for a lot less $$. Love the lotion, bodywash, and perfume.

    Oops, look at me taking over your comments. Sorry!

  6. Stephanie (Just Me) says

    Oh my goodness, I hadn’t thought of those awful 70’s perfumes for so long. I went through several phases in junior high… Love’s Fresh Lemon Pledge, Sweet Honesty, somebody’s oriental amber that actually wasn’t horrible; oh and do you remember Charlie? Gag! I shudder to recall! If I believed in karma, I would expect my offspring to reek of Axe for a few years. Mercifully, they discovered that it is much better used as a potato cannon propellant than a personal grooming product.

  7. Ahh, smells!


    Because of their association with memories of my grandfather, I love the smell of cow manure and Lava soap. 🙂 Not necessarily at the same time, mind you, although the dealings with one may lead to the need for the other…


  8. Ick! Memories of the stench of Axe. The bane of mothers everywhere. lol

  9. Lol! My husband used Axe when we first got married. I told him, “Isn’t this for teenagers?!” He’s graduated to something a little more mature now. 🙂

  10. HAR! Stephanie mentioned Charlie. OH LORDY – i nearly get dizzy just recalling that wretched odor. *GAG*

    Nothing could truly compare, though, with the occasional Sunday morning combo of my Dad’s aftershave, my first stepmom’s perfume and her very very very bad breath and a tic tac. Minty fresh nausea!

  11. You know, I actually don’t like Axe’s smell, either. Both of my brothers wear it.

    And, those Old Spice commercials are pretty hilarious, you have to admit…even if in reality they don’t smell so good.

    I think it’s funny your dog rolls in turkey poop! We have that all around where I live, too, but thankfully none of my cats have liked rolling in it…yet.

  12. Hmmm, I do remember wearing some Love’s Baby Soft. As a nurse…I could tell some stories about some stenches…and which is the worst…but I will spare you the details. But most nurses have fully trained noses to detect blood or the various bacterial infections of the human gut. I won’t say more 🙂 Sometimes it is a gift that we don’t ask for….I’m glad God doesn’t call me to use it on a regular basis. Thanks for the laugh!!

  13. Sweet memories of Loves Baby Soft! My boys are AXE fans – the new one, that’s brown – now that smells awesome. Give it a whiff the next time you’re in Wal-Mart! My buy wears Grey Flannel – totally yum! Kind of weird when I find one of my boys wearing it,though!

    Soccer Cleats – now they stink pretty bad. It gets a bit harrowing when one of the boys takes their shoes off in the van!

    Thanks so much for your comment at SITS on my SITS Day! All those words of encouragement amazed me. SITS made a tiny-weeney mistake – my name is Maryleigh, not Melissa! Just thought I’d pass that along! Again, thanks for the sweet words!

  14. NONONONoooooooooooooo! Gosh you are FUNNY 🙂

  15. I love how you wove all that together!
    Great pictures!

  16. my younger brother loved drakkar noir in his adolescence.

    i think the only fragrance i’ve purchased that i’ve ended up not liking after the fact was calvin klein’s eternity’s summer. at least i think that’s what it’s called. they used to make one called rose blush that i loved. my favorites are abercrombie and fitch’s eight and polo’s romance. i LOVE romance on a guy. that’s some good stuff, right there.

  17. This post was hilarious! I hate it when any male overdoes it on the cologne, or spray on deodorants, and what not. Wet dog is truly awful too. The worst smell I am faced with right now is when my bf comes home from working all day on a pig farm. Nothing smells worse than that! And it lingers. For a LONG time!

  18. Oh, my gosh, Lindsay! That is so true! One time the Big Bison was handling the audio on a video shoot that our friend was doing that was being shot on a pig farm in Iowa. He came home stinking, all his clothes stank, andhe had showered already! When he came in the door late that night, he showered again, climbed in bed all warm and fresh from his second shower. I snuggled up next to him from behind, stuck my head next to his to cuddle, and my nose was next to his ear. And then I promptly shrieked and recoiled in horror: that smell had permeated the inside of his EAR!!! ACK!!!!!!!!

  19. I grew up on a pig farm, now we thought we did not stink! funny how one stinker could call down another stinker, I can remember my mom commenting on how much the dairy farmers stunk

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