The jury is out on whether Kate and I have met in real life, though chances are good that we at least attended some of the same literary events when I lived in Seattle. (Though I regret to report that I have not yet had the chance to taste her award-winning pie.) Kate is a poet and a pie queen, and you can learn more about both roles by visiting her blog, Good Egg, and purchasing her zine, A Commonplace Book of Pie. Read more of Kate's poetry on Ink Node.
What do you smell like?
I love this question. Usually it goes the other way--I ask you what I smell like, probably because I’m worried about BO. Asked from this direction, it reminds me of driving through the Peach Arch Gate from Blaine, WA, on the way to some dingy Gastown bar or all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in Vancouver. The border guards would lean out their little tinted booths and ask me where I was born as if they were curious to know something about me that wouldn’t be apparent unless they asked, the way you do when you’re getting past small talk with a new friend. I knew they were just doing their jobs, and that they didn’t care what I answered as long as I had ID and wasn’t bringing fruit or explosives into the country, but, like your questions, they made me feel like the miscellaneous personal data I’ve collected about myself over the years might have some empirical use after all.
After exercising, I smell like honey. The scent sours as soon as my sweat cools, and since it’s rude to ask someone to smell your armpit after a half hour on the elliptical, no one has ever confirmed that I really do smell like honey. I also like the way my underwear smells during my period, all coppery and briny and organic, which makes me think that as long as the smell comes from me, I’ll like it. Perfumes and lotions all start to make my skin smell like mosquito repellent or dusty potpourri after a half hour, especially on a hot day, so I stay away from them. I’d rather smell me, even if I smell bad. It’s a way to love how my body does its job.
What do you like to smell?
Jason, my partner of five years, wears Old Spice. When I think about what he smells like, I think of the warmth and texture of his t-shirt. Trying to describe that scent is like trying to describe what an orange smells like--the best description is orange, and Jason just smells like Jason. Most of my boyfriends have worn Old Spice, so it’s a scent that feels both safe and dangerous, like nostalgia. A whiff from under their arms as they raised them to hug me made me want to burrow into their chests.