We’re blessed with five senses as human beings. Sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Sometimes we take them for granted. COVID-19 reminded some of us how much it can suck not being able to taste or smell anything. After a brush with Ms. Rona we may appreciate our senses a little more and we may perhaps take a little keener notice of the things they perceive. They are usually the first points of contact we have with anything physical and they shape our interactions with the world. One sense in particular that does this powerfully is the sense of smell. The human nose is quite the powerhouse. It’s not as impressive as those of some members of the animal kingdom, but it does its job quite well. There are many smells we take notice of in passing, especially when we’re used to them, but we nearly always notice a particularly pleasant scent or foul odour. We notice the things, or the people, carrying them around as well. The sense of smell is powerful and because we carry a scent around with us, it is important that we take how we smell seriously.

Smells can be teleportation devices for us. They can take us to places we’ve been before, to places we’ve visited and know. The smell of the ocean would take you to the coast and a coastal city like Mombasa. It would take you to the city’s rich culture and history. It would transport you to its streets, where you’d encounter more smells. The smell of tuktuks and their dirty diesel exhaust fumes, the smell of delicious street food being cooked on the side of the road, and the smell of your own sweat and body odour as the coastal heat and humidity gets the better of you. Smells can also be time machines for us. They can take us back to times in the past that we associate with particular smells. The intoxicating, sweet, minty smell of the confectionery of our childhood (Patcos and Mint-chocs come to mind) bring all those memories of times more carefree to mind. The smell of chalk may take us back to a time when blackboards were common and chalk was used to write on them (or to play with, if you were a student at the time).

Smells transport us back to experiences we’ve had, both good and bad. Petrichor (the smell of rain hitting dry soil after a long period of warm, dry weather) may take us to the time we had to run home from the bus stop because a deluge came down upon us unexpectedly after months of no rain and we got home drenched. The smell of gunpowder may take us to New Years 2016, when we stood right next to the fireworks as they were lit. Smells take us to people. They take us to people we’ve met, people we like, people we dislike, people we love, and people we hate. They can take a young woman back to her childhood, when her father would carry her to her room and put her to bed.

She would catch the fragrance of Hugo Boss Bottled as she buried her face in her father’s neck.

They take a young man back to the girl that got away, the one who smelled like fruit and cinnamon and spice all rolled into one. They take us back to people who’ve had an impact on our lives. They elicit and reinforce memories.

Smells give people personality, character, and presence. They form part of who they are and the perception people have of them. So it’s important to smell good. It does a lot of good for people. It makes them more attractive. Think of the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen. Now imagine what they smell like. For sure it’s not like a garbage dump site. You don’t even have to be outrageously beautiful for a fantastic aroma to work for you. It works wonders for everyone, and anyone will be more attractive the moment Sauvage by Dior or No. 5 by Chanel hits the noses of those around them.

People take them more seriously. No one is going to take the guy at the business pitch who smells like he hasn’t showered in days seriously, even if his idea is sensational. It gives them confidence in themselves. There’s that thing about looking good and feeling good, and therefore doing good. It’s a thing of confidence and smelling good helps with that. When you smell good and you know it, when you pass and every nose perks up and every eye takes notice, it does wonders for your confidence. You really feel like you can take on the world, and you just might. Smelling bad, on the other hand, does nothing for a person.

Work on smelling good. Be clean and wear a fragrance. Get into fragrances, especially the good ones if you can afford them. Experiment with them and find what you like and what works for you. 1 Million by Paco Rabanne is thought to be a universal fragrance that everyone likes.

But not everyone might.

Nor will J’adore by Dior work for everyone. The choices are endless and go with what you want. But beware that there are some scents that are a turnoff to everyone. Do you, but sometimes we can all agree that a skunk stinks. Like we said in the beginning, we carry a scent around with us, so it is important that we take how we smell seriously.