During my college years, I was a lonely guy. I had no social skills to speak of. At parties my anxiety would spike and I would do anything to avoid social contact with others. I would read any nearby magazines or books. I would even stare intently at plants, anything to fake that I belonged there. Or I would drink, heavily. That never worked out well.
Imagine my surprise when, at a friend’s house party, I met a girl. She was smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. We talked and laughed long into the night.
She called me a week later. We chatted for what seemed like forever. She really seemed to like me. My self-image could barely handle it. I’ve never considered myself an attractive man, but I do have a charm that turns on by itself at random moments. She seemed out of my league, but I went with it.
We arranged for a date downtown. My excitement was through the roof. I threw on my least shabby clothes and made my way to the restaurant.
There she was, waiting on the corner by the restaurant, smiling and radiant. We made our way inside. I was all smiles and charm.
We seated ourselves and looked at the menu. Then it hit me: the Stench. Her perfume was overwhelming, this thick miasma hanging over the table. There was no escaping it.
My reaction was uncontrollable. Coughing, choking and gasping for air, I covered my nose and mouth with a napkin. Her reaction was understandable: anger. I tried to pass it off as a cold I was fighting. She did not buy it and the meal passed quickly and coldly.
We talked a few more times on the phone. Much better for me, scentwise. My charm miraculously returned and she gave me another chance. Coffee this time.
We met outside the coffee shop, so radiant she was. Her perfume punched me squarely in the face. I desperately tried to maintain my composure but I could tell it was already doomed. Perhaps it was because I was dancing around her, trying to stay up wind of her. She looked at me like I was mad.
She politely drank a cup of coffee with me and made idle chit-chat. I was still struggling to breathe in her presence. Then she left and never talked to me again. I remained and drank another coffee and pondered the situation.
Through the sadness of the moment, a smile cut through it all. It was the most Seinfeldian moment of my life. Cue the bass line.
Many years later, I met another woman. Smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. And she doesn’t wear perfume. Plus, she introduced me to the other Love of my life: a cat named Wesley.