Memories and scent, or, I’m totally out of my snarky groove

When I was home for Christmas, my cousin gave our grandmother another bottle of Stella perfume. Both of them wear it and love it. I was sitting next to my cousin’s husband and he mentioned that my cousin not only turned my grandmother on to the perfume, but also his mother, and that it’s a little strange for one’s mother and wife to smell the same.

I agreed, it must be strange and slightly creepy. My father doesn’t wear any scent, but my grandfather uses Old Spice like it’s going out of style, and if my fiancé started using it would really throw me. And I remember when my mom switched perfumes when I was a child – she wore L’Air du Temps when I was very young and then switched to Yves St. Laurent Paris – suddenly mommy smelled completely different and it was a bit of a surprise.

However, many people before me have written about scent and memory and what perfume their mother wore, so I’m going to go back to the parent/partner scent conundrum. There were several guys I really liked in college who wore the same cologne as my younger brother, and as cute as they were and as nice as they could be, it was just too difficult to get past that scent issue. I’ve also had conversations with people who complained that their new girlfriend or boyfriend wore the same perfume as an ex – this was a bigger issue in high school or college when most people are more interested in being part of a trend than being unique and scads of young people wear one or two trendy scents. And I’ve known girls who bought several successive boyfriends the same cologne because they loved the smell so much. I wonder if, as most colognes do, the scent worn by the new boyfriend with his unique body chemistry was different enough from the others before him?

Scent is so personal, so linked to our subconscious, memory, and it has a powerful role in attraction. The more I think about the more intriguing the link between our sense of smell and relationships becomes to me.

Photo credit: Jaako on Flickr.


2 thoughts on “Memories and scent, or, I’m totally out of my snarky groove

  1. Scent is so incredible. Even though I rarely go there I can imagine just how my Oma’s house smells and I can’t even begin to describe it but every now and then I’ll smell something similar that triggers my mind to think about my Oma’s house. It’s pretty incredible how it is linked to our memory.

    • So much more than any other sense, too – as much as hearing a song or tasting a cookie might remind me of a loved one, scent always elicits the strongest response.

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