Thursday, August 4, 2011

smells like teen mom

 Leah & Amber and Farrah & Sophia and Tyler & Catelynn and Bentley & Maci

Sickly sweet perfumes, fruity-floral body sprays, and Victoria's Secret lotion--too much of all three. Antibacterial gel from a pump. Packaged foods. Tomato sauce. Sweet baby powder. Wood cleaner and the dry hay smell of the underside of an oriental rug. Hair product and lycra. Laundry detergent. Paper towel. Sometimes plum. 

Ointment. More fruity floral perfumes, maybe some citrusy ones, too (ck one would suit her). Cut grass and other lawn smells, dirt and gravel. Denim and sweet lotion. That awful ex-boyfriend of hers probably smells amazing to Maci, and it's probably a challenge for her not to lean in and smell him when she puts their son in his arms, forgetting for a second what a jackass he is, until he opens his mouth. Then whatever he smells like, looks like, doesn't matter, he's brick for brains, and mean. Old gum and chewing tobacco. The new car smell of his truck preserved with the help of a rearview mirror ornament in the shape of his own fine face. 

When Catelynn's fiancé Tyler interviews for a job at a local pizzeria, he's asked why, if his five-year plan has him graduating from college, does he want to work at this dinky pizza place, and he answers that he loves pizza so much. The owner protests, But you're too skinny! Tyler laughs, No, I love it! I eat it all the time. He smells like teenager deodorant and mint and clean sneakers. He also tells the owner, You gotta start somewhere, right? And when Tyler later gets the call saying he got the job, he beams and claps his hands together and says: I'm excited because I just love pizza so much! (Adorable.) So Catelynn and Tyler's apartment smells like day-old pizza. Oily cardboard, parmesan sprinkles, bits of garlicky crust. Warm.

Flypaper and vinyl, crumb-y carpet, self-tanner and all the associated products meant to elongate its cling. Mascara and huge plastic cups of soda, gone flat. Damp winter coat and aloe vera baby wipes. That one sad candle that Gary bought Amber when he tried to win her back in an earlier season, when he brought takeaway Cracker Barrel meatloaf and the scented gift-shop candle and set them up on a table in that terrible hotel room. And Amber said, Mmm, that smells good, Gary, and it was, as it always is, very difficult to watch.


Anonymous said...


I wish I watched Teen Mom just so I'd know which smell is whose, but this is incredibly accurate as to what I imagine their smells would be. Maci's and Catelynn's are tied for my favorite.

-- Nancy Lili

Britta said...

I don't watch this show, but this makes me see its appeal. YET: I am still not compelled to watch it because your retelling is so great. Please write these stories!

Preets said...

Yes, this is way, way better than the show could ever be, surely. Also, I bet the sane teen moms -- and there are many out there -- HATE this show. But if you could write a funny spoof of it, they'd love it.

nosy girl said...

thank you for encouraging these imagined smellscapes, ladies! i can't really urge you to watch 'teen mom,' but clearly it has gotten under my skin.

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