The odor is distinctive, pungent, unpleasant. The smell of adolescent boys. If you have raised boys, you know what I mean. They don’t have to move or sweat to emit the odor of maturing tissues and testosterone.
Why did I never notice my brothers’s body odor? When at that age, Older Bro and I were ignoring each other, denying the other’s existence. I was out of the house when Baby Bro’s ripeness peaked.
Older Bro recalls a time when he and friends spent a night in the family room, door closed. Mom greeted them in the morning with, “What died in here?”
After a boys’ sleepover hosted by C-boy, I discovered a can of air freshener in our kitchen. Not recalling that I had left it there, I wondered aloud how it found its way to the counter. Mike said that C-boy had gotten it out to quell the stench. You know you stink when you can detect it on yourself.
The essence of boy remained long after a group of boys exited the den having hovered over the computer together. The aroma infiltrated the air and fabric of cars and stuffy bedrooms, evidence of a earlier male presence.
ED’s car air freshener did not clear the smell but mingled floral and boyness into a distinct and unforgettable olfactory memory
Recently C-boy and his wife came to Arizona to attend a friend’s wedding. The family retreated to a house near Flagstaff to escape the heat and capture some family time. I enjoyed a quiet laugh when C-boy commented on the aroma coming from the boys’ bedroom.
Earlier I described the smell as unpleasant. If you have raised a boy, you know that isn’t true.
What died in here? Now I know: childhood.