Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nosy Interview: Matthew Hittinger

Matthew (photographed by Michael Ernest Sweet) sniffs in The Dark River to Antares, © Máximo Ruiz

Matthew and I met as students at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MFA in poetry, and ran with a group of good-looking poets who really knew how to dance. Pre-order Matthew's newest book, Skin Shift, here, and visit Matthew's web site to learn more about him and his work. 

What do you smell like?
My scent is subtle. People often comment on it when they are in close proximity—in for a hug or to
whisper something—with a “ooh, you smell good.” I like to think my scent mirrors my personality—
best experienced in intimate one-on-ones, not overpowering in large groups or public spaces.

Aimee (my wifey, aka best friend and roommate), says I used to smell “surprisingly like a straight boy” after I showered, but this was during my unfortunate affair with the Phoenix scent of Axe body spray, the least offensive of all the Axes. The things I do for my Phoenix obsession.

Other fleeting scents I've had obsessions with and occasionally return to in various permutations
depending on mood and/or time of year: olive scrub soaps (love olives, olive spreads, olive cream
cheese, so why not in the shower?); recently a German liquid soap my boyfriend Michael introduced me to called Algemarin that I save for “special” days (it's made from “the riches of the sea” with algae as a main ingredient); and a revolving door of shampoos (an awful “citrus mint” phase; in summer months shampoos that promise to lighten or add highlights with natural ingredients like honey and chamomile).

But less-fleeting scents I bear and have been committed to for most of my adult life: a baseline of Dial Mountain Fresh soap; a series of tea-tree based shampoos and conditioners; Arm & Hammer Fresh scent deodorant; and clothes washed in Tide coldwater (fresh scent) and Bounce drier sheets. But most importantly my cologne: Rochas Man, which contains top notes of lavender, green leaves, and bergamot, and bottom notes of amber, mocha, and vanilla. It might be the way it mixes with my soap and other scents, but I love during the day when I can catch a tendril of it rising from my warm chest.

What do you like to smell? 
My favorite smells: that earthy, ozone-y scent of a cool spring morning when everything is newly green and dewy; its counterpart in the fall, when the air turns crisp and the air is full of dried chlorophyl and harvest. Balsam and cedar. Ginger. Tea tree. Eucalyptus. A freshly-poured glass of champagne. The floor of a forest and then the ionized air around a discovered waterfall when hiking through said forest. That kelp-y, seaweed-y, sandy, salty sea smell at the shore. The galleries at the Museum of Modern Art after all the people have gone and it's just you and the sterile, humidity-controlled air, and the paintings on the walls and you can smell the oils and encaustics and pastels and canvas and wood frames.


Elisa said...

My, what an attractive profile he has!

Jessica Langlois said...

i love this idea of a scent mirroring a personality -- i'll have to think about more.. with each new person i smell.

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