A few years ago a friend and a friend of hers came over for dinner with my boyfriend and I. The four of us hung out for a couple of hours and then said goodnight. As soon as the door closed behind her my boyfriend and I both let out a huge breath.
"Wow," my boyfriend said. "She smelled horrible."
It's true. The girl I didn't know smelled awful. So awful that we had to wash the cover on our couch because it had begun to smell like body odor too. So awful both of us couldn't understand how it was humanly possible she wasn't aware of the rank smell emanating from her.
As Patrick Allan recently explained on Lifehacker, it is actually very easy not to know you smell.
“The receptors in your nose that would normally respond to your own particular brand of smells practically shut down after being bombarded with the same scents for so long,” he wrote. “Basically, your nose goes numb to your own stank so you don’t go mad.”
I didn't say anything to her because I felt I didn't know her well enough to be the person that says, "Hey girl, you stink". But now, no one telling me I stink is one of my biggest fears.
I'm terrified that I'll give myself a sniff and think I smell like roses when actually I smell as OutKast would say, like "Boo-ooh-ooh".
Thankfully, Allen shares a way to get yourself out of nose blindness and figure out if you smell before you make someone have to wash their couch.
He explains that taking a big whiff of coffee can reset your nose and let you smell what you weren't smelling before.
[Coffee] is a strong, single-scent component that gives the receptors in your nose a quick break from what it’s been smelling all day (you). That’s why department stores keep coffee beans handy in the perfume section. You can smell a perfume, reset with some coffee, then smell a different perfume. Coffee is also easy to access for most people. It’s in the break room of almost every type of workplace, and it’s easy to snag a little before stealing away to smell yourself.
Though, Allen does note that just like drinking a cup of coffee won't give you a jolt big enough to get you through your entire day, smelling it doesn't give your nose a total reset either.
Coffee can help you to smell some odor you might have been missing, it doesn't give you a full sense of smell reset.
"To fully refresh your scent palate it could take several weeks," he explains.
"That’s why you can sometimes notice the smell of your house after you've been on vacation. And since you can't really get away from your own body, there's no way to completely regain your nose's sensitivity to your own odors."
That being said, a coffee sniff is better than nothing.
But just in case, I want to put this out into the world:
If we ever meet and I smell, please tell me.
instant happy in your
mailbox every day.