Monday, March 05, 2007

Skunkwater Memories

Two ladies—we call them Skunkwater Lady I and Skunkwater Lady II (sometimes Jr)—habitually bathe in knock-off perfume in the ladies’ toilet where I work. You might think that I use the word “bathe” hyperbolically. I assure you, I’m not. The thick, wafting clouds of Eau de Icky-Sicky-Sweet I and II are deadly. Every day, the Skunkwater Ladies freshen up their scent right around lunchtime, rendering the bathroom a Superfund site for most of the afternoon.

My coworkers and I have thought about posting signs, something, anything to stop it, but we aren’t entirely sure about how to go about putting the kibosh on skunkwater application without creating an international incident. It was during a strategizing session/bitch fest about the Skunkwater ladies last week that I was reminded of this tale from my youth.

Boys of fashion and taste sported Polo for Men by Ralph Lauren when I was in high school. They would strut past me, and my stomach would flip, my heart would beat faster, and my palms would get just a little bit sweaty. I would feel faint and look after the studly juniors and seniors with love and repressed lust (I went to a Christian school). Oh, how I wanted them. When I finally got a boyfriend of my very own, he wore Gucci. It wasn’t the only thing about him that disappointed me, but it was high up on the list. I never realized my dream of falling into the arms of a Polo-wearing senior.

Years passed. Polo had been eclipsed by other scents (beer appealed to me quite a bit at the time), and I had largely forgotten about my obsession with it. I was working in a deli before I went off to graduate school, and one day I was adjusting some containers of potato salad when I caught a whiff of something. My palms got sweaty, my heart fluttered, my head swam; I nearly threw up all over the containers of potato salad. Bleurgh! What is that stench? I couldn’t place it right away, but there was something familiar about the scent. Then, in a flash it came to me. It’s Polo! This realization was quickly followed by the thought, Wait a minute . . . Polo reeks?

As I was puzzling this over, I had an epiphany: Polo makes me sick! It wasn’t love! It was nausea!

Liberated from years of unrequited passion, I shrieked with laughter. That poor customer. He had no idea why I was running away from him at top speed.


Carissa said...

LOL. I had a big thing for Polo Sport at the beginning of college. When I started dating Husband, he wore Gucci. On my quest to find him different cologne, one of the first places I checked was Polo Sport. I sniffed *sniff* ???huh??? Where is the "make me want to swoon" feeling? Maybe they changed the formula? Or maybe not? *shrug* guess I'll have to keep looking... it took a while to find something else I liked but Husband wears Tommy now.

Before Girl said...

Dakar (did I spell that right?) was big in my school, all the way through college. I've always found Old Spice to be a good smell of choice.

As for Skunkwater Ladies...might I suggest you go to HR about this one? They have the skills to do this right. Also, if you can, lie and say the smell makes you sick.

With allergies to stupid things on the rise (I'm looking at you peanut freaks), it's a wonder any cologne or perfume gets worn anymore.

dive said...

Love/Nausea confusion?
You mean that for the past forty-eight years of thinking women are nauseated by me, they've really been in love?
Oh bum …

Sassy Sundry said...

Carissa, I'm of the opinion that it absolutely reeks and that high-school girls can't tell the difference between swooning and being nauseated.

I think it's Drakar, Before Girl. I remember that, too, but I knew it reeked. We've thought about going to HR. I think we keep hoping that they'll just leave.

Dive, I bet you have more ladies swooning for real than you realize.

Carissa said...

I complained to HR abut people always stealing my very well labeled lunch out of the freezer after it happened for the 4th time in a month and they didn't care....I feel like stealing should rank above smelling I think the real solution is to hire someone who's allergic so that we aren't just whiners.

Maybe we'll get lucky and our next intern will be allergic to skunk?

Robyn said...

oh, skunkwater at work--that's as bad as cheap overly scented hand lotion--the very worst Bath & Body Works can stir up. Some of that stuff is pure swill, and to douse it on in a tiny cubicle is just plain cruel. Hang the sign.

Oh, and even worse is the skunkwater meant to disguise stale cigarette smoke. ick.

tkkerouac said...

its amazing how our sense of smell can evoke memories both good and bad. My father wears Old Spice so I can't stand smelling it on other men, its too Oedipus for me.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sassy Sundry said...

The deleted comment was spam.

Robyn, I hate Bath & Body Works for precisely that reason. What do they put in that stuff?

Hey, TK. Groovy icon. I know what you mean about Old Spice. My dad wears it. To be perfectly honest, my favorite guy scent is clean shirt.

ali said...

For a change, I have some actual useful information! I know who your skunk is and I know that it is "officially" against the rules at this company to spray that crap in the bathrooms because there are people up in CS that are allergic. So you could complain and it would be legitimate.

As for Bath and Body Works, I happen to enjoy their products and have never had a complaint about my scent.

Before Girl said...

Haha, my father wore Old Spice, but it smells distinctly different from husband's Old Spice. I think it's how the smell mixes with your own personal scent.

I just figured boys in high school just don't know how to apply cologne correctly. Oh and women don't either-hence Skunkwater ladies.

Before Girl said...

Oh and Carissa? I told HR about a mouse I saw near the fridge in our cafe. They laughed and said, "Yeah well at least it's not pooping on our desks like we had a few weeks ago."

As for your lunches-here's an idea. Write your name on it and put the date-but use a date from say, a month or so ago. No one wants an old lunch and only you know it isn't old.

Or, buy some sort of delicious dessert, say cupcakes. Only douse it liberally with cayenne pepper. One bite and they will never steal your lunch again.

ali said...

Regarding the lunch problem....I had the same problem. So I threw a fit at HR and told them that I was going to start putting lunches in there spiked with very high doses of my legitimately presribed medications. They told me that I'd be arrested.

They also don't care if people smash into your car in the parking lot and then proceed to call you every name in the book for asking for their insurance information. They certainly would have cared if I'd run the son-of-a-bitch over like I wanted to!