Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cigarettes and Beer

It’s funny how smells have a way of bringing up memories or certain feelings. I tend to have a strong emotional connection to particular smells. For instance, I feel warm and comforted by the smell of the perfume my mom used to wear when I was younger. And oddly enough, men that smell of beer and cigarettes leave me with the same feelings. I hadn't realized I had that connection until a couple years ago when I fell asleep next to a friend who had been drinking and smoking. I was laying there next to him, listening to him sleep and smelling the beer and cigarettes from his breath, when I found myself feeling…comforted, safe, and happy. At first I didn't understand why I felt that way, but when I thought about it I realized that it was because that is what my grandpa had smelled like; cigarettes and beer. He was an alcoholic and an avid smoker, but since he died when I was only eight, my memories of him are childhood ones of fondness and fun. I remember once when he was leaving our house he gave me his empty carton of cigarettes and I kept it just because it smelled like him. 

Smells seem to always invoke a stronger reaction in people whether they realize it or not. I recently met up with one of my exes and everything was normal, but the next time I saw him he happened to be wearing his old cologne. Despite having already seen and been around him for a while, it was the smell that brought back a rush of memories and old feelings. There is a big truth to the benefits of wearing perfume or cologne. I've always said that a cute guy can become so much more attractive if he smells nice. But as always there is a catch, because some guys can wear cologne that is way too strong (or it just doesn't smell pleasant) and it instantly decreases their attractiveness. 

It’s so crazy to me how powerful scent can be! We truly are sensual beings. My ex-fiancé worked as a welder so whenever he would come from work he would smell like metal. His skin would be saturated in the scent and his kisses would taste metallic. Now whenever I catch the scent of metal (which thankfully isn't very often) I’m reminded of him. Other smell associations would be how suntan lotion reminds me of the beach and summertime, pine trees of Christmas, and burning wood of camping in the fall. The smell of chlorine makes me think of throwing-up due to a time when I was little I swallowed too much pool water and spent that night puking it up. Certain cleaning smells remind me of hospitals and nursing homes and old musty paper makes me think of a library. All of this though, mostly screams to me that we have a wonderful Creator God who designed us so unique and complex. 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

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