Thursday, February 28, 2013

the possibility of knowing

image via  

Last week I finally got around to reading July's People by world-treasure Nadine Gordimer. I loved this bit, where Maureen discovers aspects of her husband Bamford's smell that she's never before had to consider:  
Bam tore off a length from one of the toilet rolls she had not forgotten to provide, and went out into the bush. He left the smell of his sweaty sleep behind him; she had not known, back there, what his smell was (the sweat of love-making is different, and mutual). Showers and baths kept away, for both of them, the possibility of knowing in this kind of way. She had not known herself; the odours that could be secreted by her own body. There were no windows in the mud walls to open wide and let out the sour smell of this man. The flesh she had caressed with her tongue so many times in bed —all the time it had been a substance that produced this. She made a cooking-fire outside and the smoke was sweet, a thorny, perfumed wood cracking to release it. The others—Martha—were wise to keep the little hearth-fire alive always in the middle of the huts. Only those still thinking as if they were living with bathrooms en suite would have decided, civilizedly, the custom was unhygienic and too hot.
The passage calls to mind Ayla Peggy Adler's wish to wind up in the right cave, and her beautiful evocation of how scent informs compatibility and desire. Do you know the smell of your cave-mate (to borrow Ayla's term)? Do you need to find yourself in an actual cave (or hut, as Maureen does in July's People) to know their smell, stripped of deodorants and birth control pills and climate control systems? I ask people again and again, What do you smell like? Do any of us know? 

3 comments:

Natalie said...

I find myself thinking about this constantly. I do think I know (really know) the smell of my cave-mate (great phrase), but I don't know my own smell, which I find oddly disturbing.

方松腾 said...

TEN
0322
ferragamo outlet
fitflops sale
longchamp pliage
rolex outlet
mulberry bags
burberry outlet sale
ferragamo outlet
fitflops outlet sale
ferragamo shoes
oakley sunglasses
michael kors factory outlet
fitflops sale
nike air max 90
louis vuitton handbags
celine outlet online
cheap replica watches
oakley sunglasses
oakley canada
lululemon outlet
true religion sale
oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren pas cher
iphone cases
true religion jeans
ferragamo shoes
louboutin pas cher
kate spade uk
coach outlet store
ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses

xumeiqing said...

20160907meiqing
polo outlet
kate spade outlet
michael kors handbags
canada goose jackets
michael kors outlet online
birkenstocks
timberland outlet
timberland boots
rolex replica watches
ugg australia outlet
timberlands
lacoste outlet
hollister clothing
kate spade handbags
birkenstocks
coach outlet
discount ray ban sunglasses
nike free run
oakley sunglasses
kd 9 shoes
nike cortez red
skechers shoes
designer bags
nike huarache trainers
louis vuitton factory outlet
rolex watches
ghd hair straighteners
louis vuitton bags
basketball shoes
michael kors handbags
longchamp outlet
bottega veneta handbags
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
nike air max 90
pandora charms
ecco shoes
oakley sunglasses

Post a Comment