Suzanne and Nappy Pong Boy

5 May, 2003 at 2:49 pm (dear diary, performance)

I went to the X-Men sequel and to a comic book store on Free Comic Book Day this weekend, so you might think that I am used to the unpleasant odors that a body can emit. After all, comics fans are notoriously unwashed and uncleansed, and usually when I enter my local comic book store on a Friday night, it’s filled to the brim with pubescent Magic: The Gathering players, most of whom have yet to discover the sexual appeal of daily ablutions. However, when I walked in on Saturday afternoon, most of the Free Comics Crowd had dispersed, and when I went to see X2: Manchester United on Sunday evening, the panting first-weekend crowd had significantly thinned.

Suzanne Vega in concert.  Photo by Mel Longhurst.So, no, I can’t blame the smell I encountered on Saturday night on the usual gang of suspects. I was at a Suzanne Vega concert on Saturday night, second row seats. The seat in front of me was unoccupied for the first three songs of the set, when a nappy, bearded, dreadlocked young man sat down. And his personal odor was so strong, it made my eyes sting. And I wasn’t just imagining it, either, because the woman sitting next to me started rubbing at her eyes less than a minute after this humanoid stench had a seat.

I have had people tell me that scent is the most direct of the five senses, because the particles actually are transmitted all the way up to the brain and physically come in contact with the smell centers. Frankly, I think that’s hogwash. If the skin and tongue have receptors that translate sensation and contact with chemicals into impulses that the brain reads and interprets, why would the sense of smell be so much more connected to the outside environment? It also seems dangerous, since when we are smelling something, we are scenting minuscule particles of the object itself. New Car Smell? Because the plastics and rubber are so unstable, they are chemically deteriorating at a vast rate within the first few weeks of creation before stabilizing. New Car Smell is actually tiny pieces of New Car.

All of which leads me to the appalling, inescapable conclusion that my eyes were stinging and my nose was recoiling because I was coming into contact with actual spore-like particles of nappy pong boy.


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