Cigars Are Nasty Gross

We went to a lovely outdoor mall the other night on our way to a family dinner. The Christmas decorations and lights were up and we were strolling along enjoying the view. Then the first cigar arrived. Then the second. Then the third…as we approached the Cigar Bar.

I’m sorry if you like cigars. But I think they are nasty gross. They make me ill. Not just ‘ew, that stinks’ ill. Serious full on headache, nauseous ill that lasts long after I’ve escaped the cigar smoke. I know there are some people who LOVE the smell of a cigar, and clearly enough to smoke the nasty things. While it’s unfathomable to me that everyone doesn’t hate the smell, I understand that sensitivity to smell is a fickle thing.

Sometimes my sensitivity to smell is a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse. Some smells trigger a headache immediately, while others soothe or bring up fond memories. I know this isn’t uncommon, but I find it interesting that my triggers are often very different from other people’s. I know that some smells are linked with an experience – positive or negative – you’ve had. The same is true for flavors, which is why I can’t drink rum. But I digress…

Our dog managed to eat the cat food recently – never having showed interest before, we didn’t think there was much danger. He has a gluten sensitivity and with anything you stop eating for a while (milk, meat, etc..), once you eat it again, it’s going to upset your tummy. Let’s just say that crate training and the after effects of a gluten sensitive dog chowing down on non-gluten free cat food = poop, and lots of it. The associated cleaning experience was unpleasant at best and the smell stuck to me like super glue – even after a long, hot shower. Everyone would hate this smell (and if you wouldn’t, keep it to yourself), but if I made a list of smells I hate and smells I love, I bet it would be different from your lists. So, here are mine…

Smells that trigger headaches or nausea:

  • Garret Station pizza – warmed up leftovers smell almost exactly like the poop. Will never, ever eat there. (sorry if you’re a fan)
  • 99.9% of perfumes & cologne or scented anything – candles, air fresheners, laundry soap, lotions…
  • Cinnamon scented anything – I can eat cinnamon rolls or bread, but just like banana flavored candy tastes nothing like bananas, cinnamon scented things smell nothing like cinnamon and are evil, wicked things.
  • Spearmint – gum, tea, shampoo – doesn’t matter what it is, if it smells of spearmint it’s on my list.
  • Whatever toxin they use to dry flowers – between the cinnamon scented evil and toxic dried flowers, craft stores (like Michael’s) are a horrible experience for me this time of year.
  • Oh, and did I mention cigars?

Smells that make me happy:

  • Lavender in any shape, variety or form
  • Orange blossoms, cherry blossoms, almond blossoms…and night blooming jasmine – from a distance
  • Coppertone suntan lotion (note the ‘suntan’ vs. ‘sunscreen’ – shows how long ago this smell settled itself in my memory) – distinct and unmistakable, it reminds me of trips to the beach in my youth.
  • Freshly mowed grass – I’m not allergic, so I’m lucky.
  • Saw dust – reminds me of my dad building things.
  • Rain – specifically wet concrete right after the rain begins.
  • A certain weed/plant that smells like my grandparent’s farm. Not sure what it is, but every once in a while, I smell it and I’m right back there with my cousins, playing in the barn, throwing a ball over a shed or walking with my grandma to pick wild blueberries or raspberries.

What smells would be on your naughty or nice lists? Or are you completely smell indifferent?

5 thoughts on “Cigars Are Nasty Gross

  1. I love the smell of cigars, but only from a distance and briefly – guess it’s that first whiff. There are many smells I dislike but they don’t sicken me. I absolutely hate the smell of eucalyptus trees and that one does border on sickness. To me, they smell exactly like cat pee! The only other one that immediately comes to mind is silk. I can smell silk blouses and sweaters from many feet away and it is not good.

  2. Love = wood burning camp fires, sautéing garlic & onions, babies
    Dislike = cigarette smoke to the point of headache & nausea, teenage boy’s bedroom (ugh!) and I agree with Cheri on eucalyptus tree smell

  3. Oddly, I like eucalyptus – but HATE junipers because they smell exactly like cat pee. Like most cigars (especially cherry); hate all perfumes except something very delicate and natural like white flower scents. Hate fruit or spice soaps or shampoos; cannot tolerate spas that offer sugar scrubs, etc. Love herbals (especially that old fave the real, original Clairol Herbal Essence); lavender; sage; lemongrass. Again oddly, okay with grapefruit dish soap, or pine, or Meyer lemon.

    Love the smell of the earth in the forest when the hot sun beats on it; especially redwoods. Love the ocean smells; even seaweed; except for seagulls and their excrement.

    Love a good complex red wine sniff, even though I can’t drink; love port and Drambuie and very good Scotch too. Will sniff my husband’s drink just for the aroma “fix”.

    Love the smell of wood burning in a fireplace or pit; enjoy the smell reincarnated the next morning as I shampoo it out in the shower. Hate the smell of chicken cooking on the BBQ. Cannot abide cigarette smoke.

    When I went to New York (after a 40-year absence) and opened the door to my cousin’s house (which was Grandma’s) I was hit with a wave of nostalgia at the slightly musty smell of the basement. Smells definitely transport you like no other sense, to a different place and time and a very specific moment in memory.

    Thanks Karen; great post.

  4. So cigars, nasty as they are, remind me of my grandfather who always had one – lit or unlit – between his teeth. He died in February of my senior year of college. It was a horrendous shock as he was not old or ill. Eight years later Ben and I bought a 100 year old house. The owner, who died 20 years before we bought it, was a cigar smoker. When his wife died the kids put it up for sale “as is”. We gutted the place before moving in. But for the 8 years we lived there whenever I sat in the ground floor bathroom with the door closed I could smell the stale cigar through the grout that we’d covered over with new grout. I hated it and loved it at the same time.

    The smells that make me nauseous sick to my stomach – vanilla, wintergreen and anything from Yankee Candle and anything the “day after” – I hate next morning garlic/onion/tomato sauce in the kitchen smell. I hate cold, day after wood burning fire smell. And unfortunately because of severe allergies the smell of fresh cut grass sends me into migraine land so I run screaming when all the landscapers are here in my neighborhood every Wednesday.

    The smells I love, love, love – coffee, chocolate, mint (pepper or spear), tea tree, real cinnamon baking or sticks boiled in water, and the tops of my kids heads (washed or unwashed). I love real Christmas tree smell but I can’t have one because of allergies. So I go to the lots and bury my nose in a tree for a few minutes… It’s not the evergreens I’m allergic to it’s the molds they carry.

    I loved this post. Thanks. Thinking of you often!

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