Opinion: The nose knows


Commentary by Danielle Wilson

The other night I woke up to a horrible smell. I thought at first it was my own breath, but after a cautious sniff and the recollection that I had indeed brushed, flossed and Listerined, I sat up and began looking around the darkened room. The odor seemed to be everywhere. When my eyes finally rested upon my peacefully sleeping husband, I solved the mystery. Doo was emitting noxious garlic fumes from every pore of his body, probably the remnants of his Thai food lunch. Again.

But here’s the weird thing, I can’t tell if it’s him or if it’s me. What I mean is, does Doo have a strange affliction that causes him to radiate meal-stink eight hours post-consumption? Or have I developed such a superhuman sense of smell that even the tiniest waft of onion sweat makes me crazy?

In all fairness to Doo, I also cringe and wave my hand frantically to increase air flow whenever I become trapped in a car with an odiferous teenager who’s straight from a 10-hour color guard practice. That’s not unusual, I suppose, but I’ve noticed I do the same thing even when confronted with what most would consider pleasant scents. For example, I frequently pinch my nose when the aforementioned teen enters a room wearing her new cucumber-aloe spray deodorant, or when her brother dons his cologne. Too much hairspray and/or perfume will also send me running, if I’m lucky enough to have the space to flee.

Doo thinks I have a disorder called hyperosmia, which is really just a hypersensitivity to smell. But according to, it’s common among “neurotic and histrionic personality types,” which clearly is not me. So maybe my issue is middle-age hormones, like when a pregnant woman becomes nauseous at the first hint of fried chicken in the air. Perhaps the good Lord has taken pity on my failing 40-something body, and is compensating me with supersized, estrogen-fueled schnoz abilities.

Whatever the reason, I can see only two choices. Either Doo stops eating flavorful food or I start wearing a nose clip. Peace out.

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