Satire: I Like Stinky Smells and I Cannot Lie

Aimée Gramblin

Last Dog to Fart is a Rotten Egg

Early on it started — my head buried under the covers as I snuggled with my mom and we let our farts loudly rip. I inhaled the pungent scent of our mingling gases and enjoyed the nose-stinging assaults. I’d keep my head under the covers until the hot air and trapped farts became too intense for me and I’d emerge for a gulp of air before diving back into the pleasantly acrid bombs we produced.

When our dogs have gas, I’m impressed with the variety of odors they produce and until now secretly enjoyed the old egg aroma that sometimes emanates from their cute dog heinies. On really special days, I’ll hear the soft release of gas and know one of my favorite smells will soon follow. The sound of dog farts makes me laugh. I also have an affinity for dog breath in small doses, puppy breath in larger doses, and freshly bathed wet dog.

Growing up, I went camping in a town called Sulphur. It had lots of naturally occurring Sulphur. Instead of being offended by the strong scent, I enjoyed it as I swam through Sulphur’s gorgeous clear streams. The scent of rotten eggs adding the ambiance of lazy summer days and reminding us to check for unfound Easter eggs in the yard when we got back home.

Driving through the country roads, we might pass a dead skunk or startle a live one. The scent of skunk from a car entices me to deeply breathe in the aroma and enjoy it while it lasts. Yes, I also enjoy the scent of marijuana — though it’s admittedly difficult for me to differentiate the nuanced aromas of weed smoke and skunk spray.

Consensually Huffing Armpits is Safer Than Huffing Gasoline

Pumping gas is a pleasure because it smells delicious. I’d never huff gas because I like the scent too much and I don’t want to damage my brain like that, but the smell is one I enjoy immensely. I wonder if anyone’s made a gasoline-scented candle yet? More on that later.

Roz Warren included my armpit preference in her humor article about uniquely scented candle ideas.

Sweaty armpits are perhaps my strangest icky scent infatuation. I don’t know if it’s pheromones or my strange taste in smell, but I love burying my nose in my husband’s armpits. It drives me crazy sexually, while it just drives him crazy. But every once in a while, he’ll grant me access and I’ll inhale deeply before wanting to jump his bones.

If he’s weirded out by my armpit fetish, which is more often than not, I can always forego deodorant and inhale the strong scent of my own sweat. It’s not the same, but it’s a good alternative for my olfactory satisfaction.

Garlic Exudes From My Pores — I Must Not Be a Vampire

Sarah Paris pointed out she knows I’m not a vampire since I love garlic — even garlic breath. I once baked an entire head of elephant garlic and proceeded to eat it all in one sitting. If you’re interested in trying this, buy the garlic, wrap it in foil, and pop it in the oven on low heat until you squeeze its guts out the top. then squeeze those garlic guts directly in your mouth or on other foods. Delicious! After consuming the elephant garlic guts in their entirety, Eau de Garlic escaped my pores and scented the air around me. My BFF apologetically walked several steps behind me to avoid the aroma, which she found offensive. Maybe she was a vampire.

In college, I proudly cooked a curry meal when my roommate barged out of her room with ire, and glaring at me, said, “Why are cooking Indian food right now?! I hate that smell. It gives me a headache and I have a test tomorrow!”

I apologized, but what could I do? Once the scent of curry is in the air, it stays there for a while. I refrained from making my favorite Indian dishes after that.

Strong food scents are especially evocative to me. While I enjoy the standards that many others enjoy as well — cooking bacon, percolating coffee, curried foods, there are other pungent food scents I enjoy that are less popular.

For example, foods that smell like farts when cooked, are some of my favorite foods. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale give me the satisfaction of inhaling aromas I enjoy while eating nutritious foods. Fish sauce, kimchi, muenster, pecorino, and blue cheese also top my list of delicious stinky eating treats.

There’s Science Behind the Love of Stink

There’s a term for this attraction to stinky scents. It’s called benign masochism.

Psychologist Paul Rozin described the effect in 2013 in a paper titled “Glad to be sad, and other examples of benign masochism.” His team found 29 examples of activities that some people enjoyed even though, by all logic, they shouldn’t. Many were common pleasures: the fear of a scary movie, the burn of chili pepper, the pain of a firm massage. And some were disgusting, like popping pimples or looking at a gross medical exhibit.
The key is for the experience to be a “safe threat.” — Erika Engelhaupt

So, while I don’t gravitate to all forms of benign masochism, stinky scent love is a big one of mine.

In researching stinky scents I might be missing, I discovered the Stinky Candle Company, which reminded me of more strange and stinky scents I love. There’s a popularity feature on the website. The top 12 rankings by shoppers on the website are:

  1. Bacon
  2. Chlorine
  3. Gasoline
  4. Fart
  5. Pizza
  6. Mary Jane
  7. Money
  8. Hemp
  9. Timber
  10. Burrito
  11. Fries
  12. Body Odor

Maybe I’m less strange than I’d like to think?

The least popular scents are causing some befuddlement on my part. Sausage is the absolute least popular scent on the website.

  1. Bubble Gum
  2. Rotting Flesh
  3. Coconut
  4. Whiskey
  5. Corn Chips
  6. Creme Brule
  7. Chocolate Cake Batter
  8. Lilac
  9. Grandpa’s Aftershave
  10. Pear
  11. Peanut Butter
  12. Sausage

What Stinky Scents Do You Love?

There are some scents I don’t enjoy at all — hot trash, smelly feet, stagnant swamp water, and dog vomit top that list. So, yes, even I have scents my nose finds downright offensive.

Mostly though, I’m a benign scent masochist. Are you?

Feel free to drop your strangest scent infatuations in the comments below.

Originally published in MuddyUm on July 22, 2001.

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