Hermits Rock

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Either the hummus, or the baba ganoush, or the combination of the two at the local falafel joint, where I ate lunch yesterday, disagrees with me such that it makes my skin smell. My body does not react this way to all spicy foods, but if there’s excess garlic, for example, or someone was heavy with the cumin, then the spices rule my integument for a day or two after. Fortunately, both because I inherited my father’s impoverished sense of smell and because of the happy truth that one’s own scents are lesser than others’, I can’t smell it. K can, however, which she tells me—again and again and again.



When I cook with garlic I tend to overdo it. And B raises hell at me for the rest of the day. “Yaw! Pis kokiyorsun!” which translates to something like, “Goddamnit, you stink!”

You too! Why women’s olfactory senses had to be hardwired to their tongues I’ll never know.

I just want to know what they have against garlic. It’s fantastic.

K’s Italian; we’re not antigarlic by any means. It’s whatever smells the garlic (etc.) cause my body to make that she objects to.

Speaking of garlic hatred, I sat through a sermon once in which the preacher hated on garlic for five minutes (“I used to live in California near the garlic fields. You could get garlic anything around there. Whew!”). I lost a significant amount of respect for him for that, which was unfortunate, too: he’s a nice guy and I didn’t want to have anything against him. But hating on garlic was too rich.

General Tso’s Chicken.

It gets me every time.

I’ve tried it without MSG, with extra chilies, etc., but nothing seems to work.

It usually takes two or three days to dissipate. At least, that’s what S says, and since I can’t smell it, I have to take her word for it.

If everyone is so afflicted, then why is it a partner’s unwritten duty to complain?

Sometimes, just for that chance, I wish my nose were more delicate…

It’s just so offensive that one can’t possibly keep quiet about it. It’s so offensive that I have to question my previous idea of you as a human being. How could I be married to someone who smells like this??

And no, I don’t think everyone is similarly afflicted. I’m sure I’ve never smelled like that. But then again, with your pathetic olfactory capacity, we may never know… :)

Kathy, you should NOT, nay NEVER consider riding the Cairo metro! Let me reiterate… DO NOT use public transportation in the Middle East. On the other hand, grab your galabiyya Greg and we’ll take the microbus down to the market where you can savor Arabian delicacies and feel no shame in your own aroma.

Exactly! How, if I’m so offensive, do you ever hope to stand others’ odors? Or is this just a relational thing, whereas other anonymous persons may smell bad of their own accord without incurring complaint?

I know, I know.

I know my delicacy with body aromas is extremely American. And I must confess that I consider myself to be very smelly much of the time. I think the difference is that I’ve had 30+ years to get used to my own smelliness, while going-on-6-years is apparently not enough for me to rid myself of the shock and horror that is Smelly Hermit Greg. That’s all I can say in my own defense.

Man, all the fistfights break out when I’m away from the intertubes.

I have no sense of smell myself, but Jim once told me I smelled like cauliflower. I’m not sure that this was a compliment.

I suppose that depends on whether Jim likes cauliflower?

As far as I know he does. Several days later he said I smelled like rutabagas, but I’m pretty sure that was a joke.