The scent of a human

I’m thinking of sending a condolence note to a shop worker in America who got punched in the face for telling a customer he smelt awful. I know from experience how sensitive humans can be about the odours they exude. Back in my circus days, I happened to catch a whiff of the female acrobats after a particularly strenuous practice session.

“Good heavens, ladies!” I exclaimed. “I could track you at 50 yards like a hyena! It’s a good thing no male baboons are in the vicinity!”

I meant no offence by these remarks, but the girls took umbrage, assailing me with bitter rebukes and rude gestures. I later made up with them by professing admiration for their wholesome emanations.

“Any red-blooded man who sniffed your womanly scents would go crazy with lust,” I said tactfully.

They pooh-poohed my flattery, but were pleased to hear it nonetheless.

I am fortunate that my own smell is extremely congenial to the human nose. We of the House of Bananas are blessed with a rich, woody bouquet, redolent of forests of teak and mahogany after a tropical downpour. This was the first thing Lady Chuffington noticed on meeting me after a circus performance.

“I say, Bananas, that’s a damned intoxicating aftershave you’re wearing,” she remarked. “What is it?”

“Milady, you are mistaken,” I replied. “I do not apply perfumes to any part of my body, which as you can see is unshaven from head to toe. The fragrance you are inhaling is pure essence of gorilla.”

“How extraordinary!” she exclaimed. “I’m tempted to ask you to lie on the couches in my home to freshen them up. Your belly would make an excellent cushion if we could get it in the right position.”

“You are too generous, milady,” I replied. “Much as I would enjoy assuming any position you suggested, my busy schedule would not permit such luxurious indolence.”

Now the crux of the human body odour problem is perspiration. Homo sapiens is by far the sweatiest of the primates, its abundant pores being used to discharge a variety of malodorous toxins. It follows that women who habitually anoint themselves with antiperspirants and deodorants are bottling up noxious substances that their body needs to expel. This might cause them to behave like the venomous tarantula, biting and stinging at the slightest provocation.

My advice to women who use such toiletries is to have a weekly sauna to sweat out the poisons that would otherwise aggravate their distemper. That’s what the women of Sweden do, and they are famously easy-going and laconic. A side-effect of their sauna habit is that an unusually high proportion of them have
bisexual fantasies, presumably about the women they see naked in the steam cabin. Is that a bad thing, though? I’d wager any husband striving to pleasure his wife would rather she were thinking of a woman than another man.

Actually I’m not so sure about this, I throw it open for debate.

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