Flavin’s Corner

The Smell of Fear

You know, I detect a fragrance in the air. Don't tell me what it is...

Lines spoken by Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman, 1992, City Light Films.

Russia is in the early stages of planning a manned mission to Mars sometime in the next decade and has announced that no women will be onboard.  It seems Russia is afraid fights might break out.  And, a kowtow to the obvious, a woman could conceivably conceive after sex in space.  I suspect the smell of fear has descended on the Russian space program and the boys correctly perceive the coming day when such missions will routinely feature women.  It’s a shame the future is always tomorrow, as the recent $20 million space-tourist trip should have included a couple of quality call-girls at the bare minimum!

Matristic or gylanic models aside, men have always ruled women and women have always let them.  Size and strength have everything to do with the abuse.  And there’s the rub: men rule as bullies because they can, not because they necessarily should.  I suspect the resulting guilt from unfair male dominance, were such a thing capable of being measured, is responsible for much of the ongoing and widespread dysfunction of the male psyche.  Men seldom, if ever, earn their leadership roles over women and it drives them crazy.  The Russians should be afraid of women in space.  Very afraid.

I fondly recall the scene in The Firebrand (by Marion Zimmer Bradley, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987) when Helen displayed her breasts to quiet the warriors at Troy.  Such power and magic!  This is why we have such a word as glamor!  However, this is not about historical fiction or some socio-sexual reconstruction, but rather an appropriate description of current behavior, as a recent story concerning evil, gun-toting soldiers in Africa being driven away at the sight of several women showing their privates.  It embarrassed them.  It reminded them of the mystery.  They smelled their own fear.

Our accepted qualification of what is or isn’t a pornographic image often hinges on the explicit depiction of an erect penis and ejaculate.  Naked chicks?  Hey, that’s in over-the-counter magazines, televison, and most movies!  Our definition of dirty usually involves a hard-on and semen.  Men, as rulers of all things, have decided their genitals, when excited, are too much for the sensitive in society.  Men secretly worship themselves, while holding women as a moral heresy and objects of manipulation.  If only Freud lived in these post-Hustler times!

I feel my heart spasm in pain when I think of some close to me who, after a divorce or separation, qualified their past behavior with: “Oh, she smelled bad!  She didn’t wash herself!”  Have I ever leveled such a cheap accusation?  Though I can’t say for sure, the odds are against me, as I’m as messed up as the next guy.  Sure, skanks do exist, but usually charges of poor hygiene are desperate attempts to shift a discussion from areas of more important concern.  So, while there exists the potential for a woman to smell bad, I must focus on the wonderful condition of a woman smelling good.  Personally, I think that’s what the Russians are really afraid of! 

Body odor is as natural as stick, stock, and stone.  I acknowledge a mild revulsion at the imaging of aromas generated by early homesteaders, villagers, and those past city-dwellers.  Romans washed with Portugese urine and splayed a pre-ketchup condiment, a paste made of rotted anchovies, over several dinner courses, as all were likely offensive in some way.  It’s no surprise the Romans were mindful enough to erect vomitoriums.

Male genital hygiene is, of course, inseparable from Western consideration, as the Old World practice of circumcision was implemented because rancid smegma caused penises to periodically fall off.  I would hope women have always taken a washcloth to a man before sex, but often it’s not a matter of choice.  That human semen is composed of aboutonia, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), blood-group antigens, calcium, chlorine, cholesterol, choline, citric acid, creatine, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), fructose, glutathione, hyaluronidase, inositol, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, purine, pyrimidine, pyruvic acid, sodium, sorbitol, spermidine, spermine, urea, and uric acid, probably had nothing to do with making perfume from whale semen.  The slander that women smell of fish, or the sea, is hoary with age.  While I personally have never encountered such a stench, I must assume they exist somewhere out there.  Still, I’ve no problem with the scent of a woman.  Many do, however, and I’d laugh at them if it wasn’t so serious.  Though a lush garden nurtured by exquisite excretions and seductive secretions, a woman’s genitals are no more or less susceptible to errors in hygiene.  Washing with urine and sand be damned!  Long live soap and water!

A cosmonaut’s nose twitching at the scent of a woman is an inevitable occurrence.  NASA could probably win that particular space-race, but would likely turn it into a military experiment with a limited audience.  I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit to a certain envy towards those who will eventually partake in zero-G romps. $20 million and not even a couple of call-girls?  I wonder how much a really fun vacation in space will go for.

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