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The Scent of Another

Impatiently waiting for the elevator…it happened. A smell crept up from behind me that was too overpowering. The kind of smell where you say daaaaaamn, and turn your head around to witness with your own eyes what your ears are witnessing. And there it was, there she was. Easily six foot tall, the hips, the breasts, the legs, the lips, long hair, and those eyes. Visually, any human would stand in awe of this woman…but it was the smell first. The doors opened and she followed me inside. Just us in the elevator. We both reached to press floor 31. Alright James, come on! Please think of something clever or sweat or anything to get her to speak to you. Yes, talking to myself in an elevator when I should be talking to her. And then it happened… (Please use your best or worst Russian accent here for her dialogue.)


“Excuse, what did you say?”


“I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means, or what language that is.” Immediately I wish I would’ve taken Russian in high school instead of German. The most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life is saying something to me…and I can’t understand a word of it.

“You are wearing ISSEY MIYAKE, no?”

“Oh, you mean the cologne I’m wearing? I don’t even know the name of it. I just wanted to try a new one, and that’s what I sprayed on. I’m not even sure if I like it.”

“You should like it, and you will like it.” Now the thought of a Russian dominatrix has always enticed me…but I didn’t think it would happen in an elevator, with me not saying anything smart or cool whatsoever!

“If you come to Russia, and you wear ISSEY MIYAKE, you can have any woman. It is the most popular smell for a man there. If you don’t smell like that, you are sad, lonely man.”

“So, then I should go back to the store and buy it?”

“You didn’t buy it? Are you sad, lonely man?”

“No, I don’t think so. I have a girlfriend, we’re in love.”

“This girlfriend you speak of, she likes the way you smell before ISSEY MIYAKE?”

“Uhm, well…she never really said if I smelled good or bad before this…so, should I ask her?”

“So your woman says nothing about your smell? Then she doesn’t care, and she should. What does she smell like?”

“Uhm, well...(yeah I know I’m just saying uhm and well a lot now…I’m completely out of my league here) she wears a Vanilla perfume, and I can always know when she’s around because it’s distinctively her.”

“So, you are not distinctive. And you are man. After I get off elevator, you go back down. Go to store, buy it. She will love it and you will be distinctive from now on.”

We’re almost to the 31st floor now. They say the best talk you will ever have is with a stranger. I did not imagine that MY stranger would call me indistinctive and tell me what to do to change.

“We are here. Come meet my man. He knows what I’m talking about and he will tell you same thing.” I did go and meet him, and he was gorgeous too. I still have NEVER to this day seen with my own two eyes a more attractive couple. As he showed me the ISSEY MIYAKE, his lady was staring at me with eyes like, “You do this, you get this.”

That was 2003 in that elevator. Jump ahead to 2015, I’ve worn ISSEY MIYAKE every day, and have never tried another cologne. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen talked to me because of my smell. I will never forget that, and will ALWAYS wear that cologne. I never did ask her what her perfume was, but I’ll also never forget the way she smelled standing behind me waiting for the worlds longest elevator ride. So readers, what moments in your life have been changed from one simple smell? Off the top of my head, I’ll always remember what my grandma Kay smelled like. I’ll always remember the smell of Korean shabu shabu 등촌샤프샤프. And I’ll always remember the way my Russian elevator dominatrix smelled.

Looking forward to hearing comments and stories about any and all of this.

Next Thursday's topic will be: What do you usually do after a breakup?

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